About The Book
Three brothers. One Death. No Answers.
He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of Outback Queensland.
They are at the Stockman’s Grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron.
The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish.
Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
Man oh man, Jane Harper just keeps getting better and better. She is fast becoming one of my favourite writers and it is at the point now where I don’t even look at the synopsis, I just read the book and know it will be brilliant. Because of this I didn’t really know what The Lost Man was about and expected it to feature Aaron Falk, protagonist of both of her previous novels; The Dry and Force of Nature and was surprised to find that this was a standalone.
In this book the titular Lost Man is Cameron, middle child of the Bright brothers. He is found next to a grave in the middle of Australia’s unforgiving outback after his body was spotted from the air by a pilot in a helicopter. The alert is sounded over the radio system and is heard by Bub, youngest of the Bright siblings and so it is he that drives out to the Stockman’s grave, a place of myth and legend, and finds the body of his brother. When eldest son, Nathan, arrives the next morning Bub has kept guard over their brother, protecting him from wild animals whilst the ambulance and police make their way to Cameron’s resting place. He has died hundreds of miles from anywhere, his car, filled with food and water, is 9 kilometres away, and with the nearest town being a half a day’s drive at least, Nathan cannot understand how Cameron came to be there.
Our protagonist is Nathan, a divorcee whose son, Xander is staying with him for Christmas. He is a brilliant character, flawed, strong, taciturn and with a past that has deeply impacted his present. The Lost Man is most definitely a character driven novel and it is through Nathan that we discover what led to Cameron’s death. Some things just don’t add up and when Nathan finds that Cameron was troubled in the months leading up to his death he realises that he didn’t know his brother after all.
A book about relationships and family The Lost Man is an examination of regret, familial duty, love and the damage which secrets and resentment can inflict. The immediate mystery of Cameron’s death makes way for more mysteries to emerge; why won’t Nathan go to the town and why has it been such a long time since he saw his family? These mysteries are slowly unpicked revealing long held secrets and difficult truths to reveal a conclusion which was as satisfying as it was surprising.
Set against the backdrop of a searing summer heat which seeps from every page The Lost Man is another masterclass in creating a sense of place by Jane Harper. Nobody writes this stuff as well as she does. I read this book as the snow swirled outside and yet, I felt I was sweltering in the Australian outback covered in the red dust from the scorched land. The outback is an expansive, huge land which is written about with such beauty and scale that I could imagine myself standing outside a farmhouse, under the heat of the summer sun and being the only human for hundreds of miles.
I love and adored the Aaron Falk novels (and think I may have spotted a reference to him in The Lost Man) but The Lost Man is another level entirely. Jane Harper is really hitting her stride and this book was my favourite of the three. From the opening, spine tingling pages to the quietly devastating denouement I was utterly transfixed with the Bright family and this small, closed community.
About The Author
Jane Harper is the author of the international bestsellers The Dry and Force of Nature. Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with film rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and now lives in Melbourne.
Where You Can Buy It
My thanks to Grace Vincent and Caolinn Douglas at Little, Brown for an invitation on to the Blog Tour and an advanced copy of The Lost Man by Jane Harper in return for an honest review. The Lost Man is available now in both ebook and hardcopy.