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The Lost Man Paperback – December 31, 2019
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Two brothers meet in the remote Australian outback when the third brother is found dead, in this stunning new standalone novel from Jane Harper
Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet for the first time in months at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback.
Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet.
In an isolated belt of Australia, their homes a three-hour drive apart, the brothers were one another’s nearest neighbors. Cameron was the middle child, the one who ran the family homestead. But something made him head out alone under the unrelenting sun.
Nathan, Bub and Nathan’s son return to Cameron’s ranch and to those left behind by his passing: his wife, his daughters, and his mother, as well as their long-time employee and two recently hired seasonal workers.
While they grieve Cameron’s loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past. Because if someone forced Cameron to his death, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.
A powerful and brutal story of suspense set against a formidable landscape, The Lost Man confirms Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature, is one of the best new voices in writing today.
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“[A] crime masterpiece. The landscape and culture of this remote Australian territory are magnificently evoked as a story of family secrets unfolds. Rarely does a puzzle so complicated fit together perfectly―you’ll be shaking your head in amazement.”
“All at once enthralling...Book by book, [Harper is] creating her own vivid and complex account of the outback.”
―New York Times Book Review
“A nuanced but pulse-pounding thriller set in the heart of the Australian Outback, where two brothers find their sibling dead.”
"Engrossing…Storytelling at its finest."
“A timely and riveting family drama set in a desolate area of Queensland that will keep you guessing until the final pages.”
―BookPage, starred review, “Top Pick of the Month”
"Harper's masterful narrative places readers right in the middle of a desolate landscape that's almost as alien as the moon's surface, where the effects of long-term isolation are always a concern. The mystery of Cam's death is at the dark heart of an unfolding family drama that will leave readers reeling, and the final reveal is a heartbreaker. A twisty slow burner by an author at the top of her game."
―Kirkus, starred review
“I absolutely loved The Lost Man. I devoured it in a day. Her best yet!”
"The atmosphere is so thick you can taste the red-clay dust, and the folklore surrounding the mysterious stockman adds an additional edge to an already dark and intense narrative. The truth is revealed in a surprising ending that reveals how far someone will go to preserve a life worth living in a place at once loathed and loved."
“The Lost Man is a compulsive, gripping read from start to finish with an atmosphere you can cut with a knife. I was absolutely blown away by it.”
―Kate Hamer, bestselling author of The Girl in the Red Coat
“Jane Harper is at the top of the crime writing genre along with Attica Locke, Megan Abbott, and Tana French…[The Lost Man] slowly builds into one hell of a mystery! I will drop whatever I am doing to read a Jane Harper crime novel.”
“Harper unfolds the story expertly so that the ending is both unexpected and entirely logical.”
―Raleigh News & Observer
“Quietly unsettling, in a hypnotic and heartbreaking way.”
“I read it in 24 hours. It’s gripping, atmospheric and ultimately deeply satisfying.”
―Val McDermid, internationally bestselling author of The Grave Tattoo
“I don't have words for how much I loved it. Her other two books were amazing, but this is in a different league. It totally transcends genre, and it should win all the prizes.”
―Marian Keyes, internationally bestselling author of The Break
“I ask in earnest: How the hell does she do it? The Lost Man is Jane Harper’s third consecutive marvel… and, against long odds, her most marvelous yet, pitting brother against brother, man against nature, reader against the clock. What an extraordinary novel: part family drama, part indelible ode to the Outback ― a thriller as forceful and atmospheric as a brewing storm. Harper works miracles. We’re lucky to witness them.”
―A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“Fabulously atmospheric, the book starts slowly and gradually picks up pace towards a jaw-dropping denouement.”
“Her best yet; it's certainly one of the finest novels of any sort, not only within the genre, that I've read in many moons . . . Harper adroitly blends the tension and brisk pace of a thriller with the psychological acuity and stylish prose of literary fiction.”
“Nothing about this novel is predictable. The characters are compelling, the plot is thrilling and the ending is so very satisfying. There’s something special about getting to the end of a book and figuring out the mystery. You’ll be left feeling content, a little shocked and desperate for more.”
―Marie Claire (Australia)
“If you liked The Dry, you'll love it. The Lost Man is an even better book, gripping right to the end. This terrific piece of outback noir opens with the discovery of a body…Harper...paints the menacing landscape brilliantly. The book's title could easily relate to several of the male characters. This engrossing novel will have you thinking long after you've turned the last page.”
―Herald Sun (Aus)
“Harper’s sinewy prose and flinty characters compel…Jaw-dropping denouement.”
"The novel shimmers with the heat of the Australian outback. I was mesmerized by this extraordinary vast brutal place and Harper's minutely observed, subtle and nuanced story within it."
―Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister
- Publisher : Flatiron Books; Reprint edition (December 31, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250105706
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250105707
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.01 x 8.27 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #56,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I read the book in one weekend, and I want to read it again.
This is not an Aaron Falk mystery, although attentive readers will spot an oblique reference to The Dry within the pages of this book.
Harper manages a slow reveal of family secrets and dynamics through the stress and distress of the death of Cam, one of three brothers. There is a beautifully nuanced look at the relationship between Nathan, the oldest of the brothers, and his son, visiting him for Christmas.
The body of Cam, the middle son, is found at the Stockman's grave, a horrible death in the searing heat of the outback. As we find out more about the family: their history, dynamics, and a gradually changing view of their relationships, we hear different character's varying takes on the story of the stockman which is a fascinating look into their own character.
Trust this,though, third time's the charm. Her latest, The Lost Man, has it all. A man, dead of apparent heat stroke, is found in the shadow of a primitive gravestone miles from anywhere in the Australian outback with no real evidence as to how he came to be. The terrain is red desert with hundreds of miles between towns and almost as many miles between roads.
Cameron, the dead man, a second generation cattle rancher, always packed water and food sufficient for days in case of car trouble or dust storms. Cameron's car is found with the door open, in perfect condition, many miles from his body.
Nathan, Cam's divorced older brother, lives alone 3 hours away and his son, Xander, is home for the Christmas holiday. Along with Cam's younger brother, Bub, the family is thrown together in a situation reminiscent of Edna Ferber's classic novel of Texas, Giant. A large, dysfunctional and secretive family living in desolate isolation.
As much as a mystery, this novel is about hidden violence and the lengths families go to justify, excuse or deny until something snaps.
Top reviews from other countries
Recently, I have enjoyed a number of splendid Australian novels, including Jane Harper's The Dry, her first novel, and a rare achievement in itself, Scrublands, by Chris Hammer and Paul Howarth's Only Killers and Thieves, all of which strike me as notably good books. For me, anyway, The Lost Man puts even these in the shade.
The story concerns three brothers, Nathan, Bub and Cameron (Cam), their extensive cattle ranches and their families. Each of the brothers is a strongly realised individual, none less than Nathan, through whose eyes we witness most of the events that make up the novel. He, like the others, has been seriously damaged in the past, and partly by circumstance and partly by choice he is an outsider even within the extended families, whose lives and interrelationships are progressively revealed. Jane Harper shows an exceptional skill in handling dialogue; it is natural, convincing and subtly revealing of character. It is never over-explicit. We, the readers, are left to draw inferences and thereby are drawn ever deeper into the lives of the characters and the events which shape their destinies.
As with Scrublands - and there are a number of interesting parallels - key events and circumstances lie behind the narrative. There is not one of the characters who is not under the shadow of what has happened in the past. In many ways the story is a journey into the past as well as advancing towards a climax that is both unexpected yet wholly satisfying. The lives of not only the brothers but their families and associates, exert an increasingly firm hold on us, so that we feel at some depth the consequences of their actions and the ever shifting relationships between them. That they all inhabit a world so convincingly created, and so often demanding and more, only serves to root them even firmer into our minds. In short, a wonderful novel and a major contribution to the recent wave of Australian fiction.
I have yet to read Force of Nature, a pleasure that awaits. There is enough in The Dry and especially this novel to more than whet the appetite.
Told through the eyes of Nathan, Jane Harper brilliantly portrays to toughness, resilience and adaptability required to live and work in such a harsh, yet beautiful environment. Nature's ability to kill if you are unprepared is present at all times. Nathan has doubts this was Cam's way of commiting suicide, but cannot quite put his finger on why. Slowly pieces fall into place as to what may have happened as Nathan is effectively stranded at his family home until the funeral with his visiting teenage son, Xander.
Family secrets and unspoken events are gradually exposed.
This is an utterly gripping story, where each scene has a purpose. Jane Harper is a master story teller and I look forward to her next offering.