کتاب خشکسالی

اثر جین هارپر از انتشارات میلکان - مترجم: پگاه ملکیان-پرفروش های نیویورک تایمز

اين‌طور نبود كه مزرعه قبل از آن شاهد مرگی نبوده باشد، و پشه‌ها هم البته تبعيضی قائل نمی‌شدند. به ديد آن‌ها فرق كمی بيان لاشه و مگس وجود داشت. خشك‌سالی‌ای كه در آن تابستان اتفاق افتاد حق انتخاب مگس‌ها را از بين برده بود. به دنبال چشم‌هايی بودند كه ديگر پلك نمی‌زدند و بی‌وقفه دنبال جراحات و زخم‌های لزج بودند، در حالی كه كشاورزان اهل كيوارا اسلحه‌هايشان را رو به حيوانات اهلی لاغر مردنی گرفته بودند. نباريدن باران به معنای نبود غذا بود و نبود غذا باعث تصميم‌گيری‌های دشوار می‌شد و شهر كوچك، روز به روز، زير آسمان سوزان آبی سو سو می‌زد. ماه‌ها گذشت و، در اين وضعيت كه به سال بعد هم منتقل شد، كشاورزان مثل يك دعا زير لب به خود می‌گفتند: «اين شهر از بين می‌رود.» اما هواشناسان ملبورن مخالف بودند. دلسوزانه با كت و شلوار در استوديوهايی با تهويه‌ی مطبوع تا ساعت شش بعدازظهر كار می‌كردند و گزارش می‌دادند. رسما بدترين وضعيت قرن بود. الگوی آب و هوا اسم مخصوص به خودش را داشت؛ تلفظ آن هرگز به طور كامل مشخص نشد: «ال‌نينو». دست كم مگس‌های لاشه خوشحال بودند. دستاوردهای آن روزشان عادی نبود. كوچك‌تر بودند و دسترسی‌شان به گوشت آسان‌تر بود. البته اهميتی نداشت. همان بودند: چشمان براق، زخم‌های مرطوب؛


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This beautifully written mystery transported me to Kiewarra, Australia, a small farming community that is suffering from a drought, and also from being mired in the past.

Aaron Falk, a federal financial police officer, reluctantly returns to Kiewarra to attend the funeral of his former best friend, Luke Hadler. It appears that Luke committed a murder suicide, killing his wife, Karen, and their six-year-old son, Billy, before taking his own life. The community is in shock and speculation abounds. Why would Luke Hadler kill his wife and son? Furthering the mystery is why he left his baby daughter, Charlotte, alive.

Falk plans to spend 24 hours in Kiewarra, but Luke’s parents ask him to investigate the family’s financials, hoping that he can uncover something that can add some insight into Luke’s actions. Falk teams up with the local Sergeant and the two slowly begin to uncover secrets and lies that dredge up the past, including the death of Ellie Deacon, a girl with whom Falk shared a past.

Falk’s relationship with Ellie comes under scrutiny and tensions arise. Not only is Falk’s life put in danger, but also the entire community Kiewarra is put at risk.

I can’t say enough good things about The Dry. The plot is intricately woven, the characters are developed, the writing is engaging, and the mystery is satisfying! I highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
There in The Dry, it’s raining 5-star reviews, and here I sit, trying to get right with my 3-star drip-drop. Maybe I’m using silly water analogies because I’m remembering how parched this locale is, a small farm town in Australia, and I need some liquid. I’m sure that a big part of the allure of this story (about a guy, Falk, who is trying to solve a heinous crime) is its vivid, scorched setting. Everything is hot and dry and slow. I didn’t feel the heat for some reason, but I definitely felt the slow. I so wish I liked it more. It’s way more fun to be in the gush club.

There is a small Joy Jar, but it’s tucked away in the corner where I more or less ignore it because the meh is so overwhelming. I will tell you what the Joy Jar holds, of course: The book is well-written, the pace is good, there isn’t fluff, and the atmosphere is vivid. All very good things.

But before I lug out the Complaint Board, I will say that part of my reaction is due to two things that have nothing to with the book itself: Over-hype, for one. And second, I’m not crazy about whodunits where it’s a police procedural deal. I don’t dislike them, but it has to be a knock-my-socks-off kind of thing for me to get all busy with a Joy Jar.

Complaint Board

-Pick up the pace. I’m repeating myself so I apologize, but for me it was slow. It seemed to especially sag in the middle, where I thought too much time was spent on one bad guy. It felt like the record got stuck, and I needed the needle to get unstuck faster.

-Plain Jane language and plot. Sigh, I wanted some fire.

-Italic flop. The author put the past story as italic entries right in the middle of the present story. This didn’t work for me. At times I expected and wanted it to be a first-person memory, which would have felt more natural. Instead, all of the sudden a third-person narrative about the past rudely interrupted the story, and it seemed intrusive and clumsy.

-Stereotypes are a drag. The good guys were too good, the bad guys too bad.

-Dull characters are a drag too. It appears that Falk, the main character, will live on in future novels. Sorry, he just seemed dull to me. And the rest of the crew made me snooze too. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters.

-If it’s a small town, I’m a pain in the ass. I get claustrophobic, bored, and rebellious in small towns. Writers who set their stories in small towns have to work harder to please me: There must be exceptional language or characters, or the emotions must be palpable. There must be passion! Not the case here for me.

-The criminal came out of left field. The character who committed the crime wasn’t developed enough; they came out of left field. I needed a hint or two so I could have the fun of guessing. This complaint gets an asterisk because it was a biggie for me.

-Come on, we all knew that! One character’s situation was too predictable. No biggie, but I get annoyed when there’s a glaring truth that is revealed as a big surprise at the end.

-Shaky hands. This is so minor, it’s embarrassing. Twice in one chapter, a character noticed that someone’s hands were shaking. I just never believe that a person’s hands shake when they are upset, unless they are doing something like walking on the ledge of a tall building or stepping on a hissing rattlesnake—some life-or-death situation.

The moral of the story: Lower my expectations. Don’t ever assume that because everyone else loves a book, I will, too. For me, it was pure dullsville.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
4.5 Stars

”The Outback is impossible, forever and it’s free
No way can I find an end to what it means to me”

Sing You the Outback John Williamson


Mere days ago, I was inundated by water. Water, water, everywhere… Rivers overflowing … and suddenly I find myself transported to a land where rain hadn’t fallen in nearly two years.

”The drought had left the flies spoiled for choice that summer.”

The farmers told themselves that the drought wouldn’t last, said those words to each other, and to themselves, silently whispered like a desperate prayer.

”Outside, washing hung still on the rotary line, bone day and stiff from the sun. A child’s scooter lay abandoned on the stepping-stone path. Just one human heart beat within a kilometer radius of the farm.
So nothing reacted when, deep inside the house, the baby started crying.”


It is to this town of his youth that Aaron Falk returns. He recalls his days as a boy there, his early teen years spent at the rushing river he and his friends used to fish in, play in, now is barely recognizable. But he’s no longer a teenager; he’s a Federal agent specializing in forensic accounting, working in Melbourne. He’s spent the years in between trying to forget his childhood years in Kiewarra, the way his family was run out of town. He’s come back, reluctantly, for a funeral for Luke Hadler, the boy who was once his best friend. Luke Handler, his wife, Karen, and his six year-old son, Billy, all gone. Eighteen hours and he’s outta there.

It seems everyone in town believes that Luke killed his wife, and his son, and then turned the gun on himself. Only his infant daughter was left untouched.

”Luke Handler may have had a light on waiting for him when he came home, but something else from this wretched, desperate community had seeped through that front door and into his home. And it had been rotten and thick and black enough to extinguish that light forever.”

Falk has no idea what could have possibly prompted an act like this from Luke, it’s been a long time since the days when they were friends. Luke’s parents are taking care of his infant daughter, but are finding the town seems to be turning against them, turning away their business. They turn to Falk, hoping he can find something to clear Luke’s name. They can’t believe he would have, could have ever done this heinous act. But did they really know their son? Falk thought he did once, but now he’s not as sure.

Small towns have some things in common, the talk that lingers for decades, fingers pointed, the certainty that they know what happened lingers long after the time has passed. And the mystery of Ellie Deacon’s death still lingers, fingers still point at Aaron Falk.

Weaving in and out of time the way the river of his childhood flowed effortlessly, his memories of the past alternate with the search of the present day. Truth is what he’s after, in both times. Working with Raco, who is with the local police, they examine the case from multiple sides, running into dead ends.

For me, the characters that spoke to me the most were Ellie and Karen, both facing futures which seemed to have no right way to turn, both wanting to share their burdens but unable to share them in time to save them. What I really loved most about this novel the most was the atmosphere, the setting, the mood. So much desperation as the drought goes on, robbing them of their livelihood, no water for crops or livestock and watching everything you’ve worked for your whole life just wither away. What are you if you are a farmer and you can no longer farm your land? Even the children’s moods are affected, watching their animals die, the sky fill with dust and flies. Always the flies.

Recommended!




مشاهده لینک اصلی
Whoa, well done, Harper! I did not see that twist coming and just when I thought I had it all figured out, that theory was shot to hell. Brilliant.

This story is set in the bush in Kiewarra, Australia, where a murder suicide has taken place in a community where a drought is on. Falk, a cop who has come back for the funeral, is coaxed into staying to dig into the truth of what really happened to the family. A past is reawakened, secrets are kept close and many dont want him there for the ties he once had.

This was a fast moving who dun it. Loved the style of writing as well as the different font to reflect the past. Dont bother to try to locate this one on the map - I tried and then read its a fictitious town. I would have loved a bit more description of this land of desolation in a country so far from my own but, hey, I can always read a travel log.

And, the bestest thing about this novel - a sequel has already been born! 4.25⭐️



مشاهده لینک اصلی
First on the scene, the flies swarmed contentedly in the heat as the blood pooled black over tiles and carpet. Outside, washing hung still on the rotary line, bone dry and stiff from the sun. A childs scooter lay abandoned on the stepping stone path. Just one human heart beat within a kilometer radius of the farm. So nothing reacted when deep inside the house, the baby started crying...

An entertaining, easy & quick read. Well written psychological crime thriller, full of tension and atmosphere. Not automatically my first choice in the enormous stack of books at home in terms of topic/theme (well... the stack should actually be stacks :-) and stacks... and stacks....dont fit in my house anymore) but I was curious and intrigued. So many good reviews, excellent even. Did it rock my boat (Im in the shipping industry :-))...Was I severely impressed... No. It was a good read for me, but thats it. Not a five star, lets say 3.7/3.8. Entertaining, not a top top top read for me. There are other books honestly.... that I rate higher. I seem to be in the minority here? Despite that, a welcome addition to my books read, and a good diversion from other types of books I tend to read. Would I read the sequel? Mmmm... yes, I probably would. So yeah.... this is my view.
About the story: Aaron Falk, a cop, returns to his home town in the unbearable heat of Australia, for the funeral of his best childhood friend, killed with his wife and kid. A weird and dark situation. Because of things happened in the past, Falk is not welcomed by everyone in the town. Hooking up with a local cop, he starts to look into the case, as things do not look as they seem...
Entertaining read. Recommended for the lovers of excellent crime fiction with a psychological touch.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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