Title: Force of Nature
Author : Jane Harper
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 02/06/18
Dates Read: 02/01/18 – 02/04/18
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The employees of BaileyTennants have their backpacks, compasses, and hiking boots ready–they are setting out on an adventure for the purposes of team building. With very few of the participants having experience in the bushland, most are reluctant, but (for the most part) keeping an open-mind. The men’s group sets off down one trail and the women’s group sets off down another, voyaging into a four-day journey of teamwork and bonding…
However, when only four of the five BaileyTennants women emerge from the trail, distraught, exhausted, and covered in injuries, a search team is called in. Alice Russel is missing and the team has very little information to lead them. They know where she was last seen and they have a recording from her last received phone call–a phone call that was made to Aaron Falk in the early hours of the morning. A phone call that concluded with the muffled words “-hurt her“.
With a morbid history lurking in the wilderness, speculative theories, vicious grudges, and dirty secrets–The Force of Nature leads readers down a path of suspense that intertwines both the present and the past, while weaving the lives and secrets of each of the women into a web of mystery.
This novel was so intense and so enjoyable!!! I read this as a ‘buddy read’ of sorts with my husband and we really enjoyed talking through our theories and speculations. While we did manage to dance around the outskirts of some of the outcome with our theories, neither of us completely guessed the surprising conclusion. Honestly–I was really sad for this novel to end and I’m sure it will be one I reach for the reread at some point in time.
The characters in the novel were so very realistic and I felt that Harper did a great job of exposing us to just enough of each of the characters to make them both likable and unlikable at the same time (trust me.. it makes sense!). The only woman that you do not get alternating POV chapters from is Alice (you’ll get a taste from her perspective in due time, but not until the latter half of the novel). Harper shapes Alice into such a bitter and manipulative character that, as a reader, it’s hard not to be speculative of every single other person as being involved in her disappearance.
One of the things that I loved about this novel was Jane Harper’s brilliance with the structure of her writing. As the plot edges toward the climax of the action, the chapters become progressively shorter in length and higher in action. If you thought that you were ferociously page-turning in the first half of the novel… just wait.. You will turn into a turbo-drive page flipper as you unravel the conclusion of this investigation.
I 100% recommend this novel. I am a huge fan of crime thrillers.. It is my ‘go-to’ genre.. and Force of Nature reminded me why I love this type of novel. It encompasses everything that makes a solid, page-turning, thriller about an enticing investigation.
**I would really like to note that if you have not read The Dry, Jane Harper’s first novel that also stars Aaron Falk, you can totally go ahead and read Force of Nature if you wish. I sought out this information, since I have not read the first installment, from a couple trusted reviewer friends and they assured me that, although there are very minor mentioning of the first novel, there isn’t a lot of cross over that would serve as spoiler material. Needless to say.. you can best bet that I will be reading The Dry very, very soon! I am definitely a Jane Harper fan now.
Thank you to Jane Harper, Flatiron Books, and NetGalley for providing me with a advanced DRC of this title in exchange for an honest review!