Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2020
In her new novel Jane Harper has taken us away from the hot dry interior or wild rugged ranges of her previous books to a small coastal town on the southern coast of Tasmania. Evelyn Bay is the type of seaside town fondly remembered by many Australians for family summer holidays of endless hot, sunny days playing on a sandy beach beneath a perfectly blue sky. A town swamped by holidaymakers in summer that breathes a sigh of relief as autumn rolls in and the locals hunker down to wait out the off season.

Kieran and Mia have returned to Evelyn Bay, where they both grew up, to help Kieran's mother pack up the family house and move his father into a nursing home as his dementia worsens. To Kieran, nothing much seems to have changed in the town, but he can't help thinking back to the powerful storm twelves years ago that changed his life for ever as well as that of his family and friends. The death of a young woman the day after they arrive rakes up memories for the town of another young girl who disappeared without trace during that wild storm twelve years before.

As well as immersing us in atmospheric landscapes like that of Evelyn Bay with it's caves and statue called the Survivors on the cliffs overlooking a famous shipwreck, Jane Harper is so good at painting the relationships and frictions in small towns. The town has never allowed Kieran to forget the events that occurred during the storm and he still carries guilt over his role. But others in the town have hidden secrets about that day and as Detectives from Hobart start to investigate the young woman's death, the tension of the town rises and those secrets start to surface. There are many layers to the story with the local online community hub quickly becomes full of rumors and theories about who the killer might me. It's a slow burn of a story rather than a suspense driven thriller with quite a few red herrings present as the tale unfolds. My theory on what happened was completely wrong as I discovered in the dramatic ending.
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