Thursday, 30 November 2017

Book Review & Giveaway: FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper

Author: Jane Harper
Macmillan Australia
November 2017
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No-one saw the bush land swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you.

Book Description:

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

My musings:

Seeing how much I loved Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry, Force of Nature was one of my most anticipated new releases this year, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. With due reason, I found, as it is just as great as The Dry, and as chilling!

Picture this: five colleagues take part in a corporate bushwalking retreat in the remote Giralang Ranges, but only four return. What has happened to Alice Russell? And why don’t her colleagues know, if she was part of their team? Federal Agent Aaron Falk, who features here with his new partner Carmen, has been drawn into the search for the missing hiker, who is an important informant in a case he is currently working on. On the night of her disappearance, she managed to leave a garbled message on his phone and he is worried that she might be in danger.

I listened to Force of Nature on Audible, and never has my house looked so clean and my petrol bill so high, as I found excuses to drive around the block to listen just a little bit longer, or go to such lengths  as cleaning windows in order to have an excuse to plug in my earphones. This book was so good! The whole time I was listening I could not stop thinking how utterly clever Harper is to have created such tension with character interactions and “force of nature” alone.

Unlike The Dry, there is no gruesome murder to start off the story, and it begins as a slow character driven drama focusing on the group of five women as they embark on their fateful bushwalking adventure. It is pretty clear from the start that none of them really want to be there, and that most of them don’t particularly like one another either. Isn’t that already a perfect recipe for a delicious story of conflict and personality clashes, especially in the wild and remote setting of the Australian bush? In my opinion, there are not enough good survival stories out there that pack such punch, but Harper has done her bit to remedy that. The ensuing drama reads like Survivor meets Lord of the Flies, as the women battle out their personality clashes that ultimately lead to a fight for their survival.  From here, the story unfolds in a dual timeframe – one dealing with the search for the missing woman, and one telling about the hike and reflecting on what went wrong from each of the individual women’s perspectives. Whilst there is not much action, the tension is often unbearable, and the atmospheric setting providing a terrifying backdrop. There was one scene involving a dilapidated cabin in the bush that literally had me holding my breath! It brought back memories of camping in a lonely bush cabin whilst hiking with a friend, and hearing a creepy figure stalking us in the middle of the dark night, which saw us running into the bush to hide until daylight. Brrr, I am getting goosebumps even whilst writing this.

Harper’s writing is descriptive and claustrophobic, drawing you deeply into her story and keeping you captured there – whether you like it or not. Her imagery will haunt you in your nightmares, as the impenetrable bushland closes in around you in a terrifying embrace. As each of the women reflect on their three days together, I was never sure whose story I could trust – and there were a few surprises in store. Undoubtedly basing her tale on some true historic Australian crime stories, Harper again proves that she can weave a chilling tale the embodies the Australian spirit at its most chilling – the setting forming its own character that is as much part of the story as its human counterparts.

I also loved that we got to know Aaron Falk a bit better as he shares some of his past with the reader that has shaped his adult self. I am an absolute sucker for stories that combine adventure and survival with a good mystery, and in my opinion Harper has absolutely nailed it! I loved every minute of the book and can’t wait for the next book in the series. 



To celebrate the beginning of summer here in Australia TOMORROW I would love to share this prime example of Australian crime fiction at its best with other readers and wonder if any book bloggers would be interested in starting a “book train”. The idea is to read the book, post a bookstagram photo +/- a short review on Instagram or your book blog and then pass it on to the next reader.

I have one brand new copy of Force of Nature to send to one lucky recipient who would like to participate. All you have to do is to head to my giveaway post on Instagram and tag the person you would like to pass the book on to next. Or leave me a smiley face in the comments on this blog post and tell me which book you would most like to find under your Christmas tree this year.

A winner will be drawn at random in one week’s time – entries close Thursday 7th December at 12 noon AWST. This is an international giveaway – I will post anywhere in the world. The winner will be announced on this blog plus my Instagram post. Hope to see you there!

Image result for 5 stars

You may also like:

The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)


  1. �� One of the illustrated Harry Potter books!

    1. Yes they are beautiful - wouldn't mind one of them myself!

  2. �� I would love to get some Jo Nesbø's books for Christmas.

    1. I love his books too - always sure to thrill and chill, perfect for the holidays :)

  3. πŸ™‚ I would love to find the Uk edition of The Bear and the Nightingale under my tree! (Instagram name is @Lucylovesreading).

    1. I hadn't heard about that one before, but it sounds very intriguing!

  4. I would love to find The Child Finder under the tree this year! ��

    1. I absolutely loved The Child Finder - one of my favourite books this year! Fingers crossed Santa drops one off for you :)