Rating: 4.5 / 5
FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper has been waiting on my shelves for quite a while. I loved her other books THE LOST MAN and THE DRY in 2019, so was both excited about this one and also a little hesitant to pick it up because it was the last book left by the author! This one won the poll I put up for books published in 2017 for one of my book prompts, so it was finally time!
FORCE OF NATURE is Jane Harper’s second installment in her series featuring Aaron Falk, a Federal Police investigator in Australia. When a whistle-blower named Alice that he has been working with on a case goes missing, he gets called in to assist. Alice was on a corporate retreat meant to promote team building by sending out a group into the wilderness on their own for a couple days.
At the end of the retreat the mens’ group returns, but the women are late. When the women do return they are in rough shape and Alice is missing. Investigators must determine if Alice got lost or if something more sinister happened. The story is told in the present time following the investigation and the witness accounts interspersed with the narrative of the retreat, following the women as they strike out into the nature.
I really enjoyed how the narrative played out with the two time streams. Jane Harper does an amazing job of peppering in clues and twists over time that leave you wondering about Alice’s fate. The interactions between the women once left to themselves is very well done as the tensions build when things begin to go wrong. Drama from their home lives intrudes as well which is seen in both timelines.
Though this was part two of the Aaron Falk series, this book was really an entirely different story from the first. There are a few brief mentions of things that happened in book one, but really this one would stand alone quite well. I think I probably enjoyed THE DRY a bit more of the two because I felt like that one had a bit more of a sense of place and the unique nature of the Australian setting while this one could really have been told in most any wilderness setting. Still, this was a book I really enjoyed and would absolutely recommend!