Whew! I am FINALLY caught up (mostly), so it’s back to one book review at a time!
In July, we read The Lost Man by Jane Harper. Now, I like a good mystery, but thrillers aren’t exactly my normal “go-to”, you know?
I may have to re-evaluate that based on this one.
The Lost Man is just SO GOOD. I’ve already lent my copy out to multiple people, and they all agree, which is such a rare occurrence, it’s like finding a four leaf clover in the desert.
Which is a particularly fitting analogy, because this novel takes place on a cattle ranch in the unforgiving landscape of the Australian Outback. (Sidenote: If you’ve never seen the movie ‘Australia’ (2008) directed by Baz Luhrmann, go watch that real quick. I firmly believe that my reading experience was GREATLY improved by being able to picture the gorgeous, richly-hued panoramas of the countryside from that film. Also, the protagonist reminded me just a little bit of Hugh Jackman’s character.)
The thing that really cements this book in my mind as such a masterpiece is the pacing. The narrative unfolds in such a natural way that you feel like you’re having a telepathic conversation directly with the main character, Nathan. You discover things as he discovers them, and you’re subject to the same doubts and biases. You also come to realize at the same time that Nathan’s brother Cameron isn’t the only “lost man” in the novel. Harper treats Nathan’s struggles with depression and loneliness with a sensitivity that doesn’t diminish his masculinity and makes him feel relatable in a way that I find many thrillers miss.
In addition to perfect pacing and a likeable, well-rounded protagonist, Harper has crafted a darn good who-dun-it. Every new character introduction had me CONVINCED that I had everything figured out, and I was wrong, EVERY TIME. And yet somehow, the final chapter manages to wrap up the mystery perfectly, even if I’m still a little torn on the morally-gray conclusions.
The Lost Man is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of murder mysteries and thrillers in the vein of The Girl on the Train and The Couple Next Door.
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Stay well, and Happy Reading!