The Dry: Jane Harper, 5 stars

The Dry
Written by: Jane Harper
Narrated by: Steve Shanahan
Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
U.S. Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN: 9781250117632
Australian Publisher: Wavesound Audio
Publishers Summary:
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

A bit more about the book .....
Some twenty years after being hounded out of Kiewarra, Aaron Falk is back, summoned by a note from Gerry Hadler, the father of his old friend Luke.
The note read:
“Luke lied, you lied. Be at the funeral”
Apart from being uniquely Australian, there is definitely something a bit special about this book.
The writing, whilst not flowery, is beautifully descriptive, easy to read with not a wasted word.
There are no blazing blue lights, wailing sirens or high octane action to drive this story, it is all about the characters, the narrative and the search for secrets.
Some of the characters are not quite as they first seem, but the truth of their lives is divulged in an enticingly measured manner. This leads the reader to doubt their true natures, one minute you are trusting someone and the next you find yourself feeling a bit mistrustful, even of Falk himself.
This is an outstanding, satisfying read.

The audiobook is narrated by Steven Shanahan, an Australian voice-over artist with a really easy on the ear voice and accent.
His style is so very different to that of other narrators in that he seems mainly to use one voice, however, subtle nuances of tone, rhythm plus little vocal sound effects do identify the characters. Very clever!
Whatever his technique is, it certainly works, as it feels just like someone sitting down with you and telling you a story, a more intimate style which works perfectly  for The Dry. 
I don’t know who picks narrators but I think author Jane Harper must be absolutely thrilled with whoever chose Steve Shanahan. I'm hoping he will be narrating more audiobooks.
An outstanding story, an excellent narrator and a high quality recording, what more could you want?
Review copy provided by Macmillan Audio
Last word
Yes, this prize winning debut novel by Jane Harper certainly lives up to the hype. In fact the story of how the book came about is a pretty incredible story in itself, well worth visiting her website to find out. Take a look at The Road to Publication (bottom of page) Here
Huntsman = a spider, a very, very large spider as big as handspan, luckily it is harmless!
Ute = Utility vehicle known elsewhere as a pick-up truck

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