The Lost Man
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane HarperThey 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…Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.

The Lost Man Details

TitleThe Lost Man
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2019
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250105684
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Crime

The Lost Man Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    "He couldn't simply leave, for a lot of reasons. Financial. Practical. And not least because sometimes, quite a lot of the time, he felt connected to the outback in a way that he loved. There was something about the brutal heat, when the sun was high in the sky and he was watching the slow meandering movement of the herds. Looking out over the wide-open plains and seeing the changing colors. It was the only time he felt something close to happiness."I rarely start my reviews with a quote, but I "He couldn't simply leave, for a lot of reasons. Financial. Practical. And not least because sometimes, quite a lot of the time, he felt connected to the outback in a way that he loved. There was something about the brutal heat, when the sun was high in the sky and he was watching the slow meandering movement of the herds. Looking out over the wide-open plains and seeing the changing colors. It was the only time he felt something close to happiness."I rarely start my reviews with a quote, but I wanted to share this description. It is descriptions like that one that pulled me into the story, let me feel as if I were truly there instead of simply reading and observing. This takes true talent, a talent that based on the three novels of hers I have read, this author has in spades. A stand alone, a story of a family who own a large cattle ststion in the outback. Three grown sons and various other family members as well as workers. When the middle brother is found dead by the stockman's grave, a suicide is suspected as he week knew never to go far away from his supplies, the heat a definite killer. The stockman's grave out in the middle of nowhere, a grave that has many urban legends attached. So we enter the life of this family, their secrets, past acts and grievances, things seen but not apparent nor questionable at the time. There is much tension simmering under the surface, and this death will bring all to the surface.The death is only the background, the family and their relationships, past misdeeds and abuses, at the forefront. A story that even those who do not read mysteries will enjoy. A setting that is beautifully described and prose where not a word is wasted. A family that has suffered much but still remain together. Although different from her previous two novels, I think this one is my favorite, it is so realistically portrayed. Now I have to wait impatiently for her next.ARC from Netgalley.
    more
  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    Jane Harper is an author with real talent and a genuine knowledge of Australia and its landscape. In this, her third book, she takes us into outback Queensland with its unimaginably huge cattle stations and its devastating dryness and heat.One major aspect of living in such a place is that the people must be independent as services we take for granted living in a city are not as available. In this story, after Nathan and Bub find their brother dead there are no forensic specialists, no pathologi Jane Harper is an author with real talent and a genuine knowledge of Australia and its landscape. In this, her third book, she takes us into outback Queensland with its unimaginably huge cattle stations and its devastating dryness and heat.One major aspect of living in such a place is that the people must be independent as services we take for granted living in a city are not as available. In this story, after Nathan and Bub find their brother dead there are no forensic specialists, no pathologists, just one lone policeman who covers a huge area. He spends most of the book hundreds of kilometres away dealing with a bus crash and it is up to the family to find their own solutions to the unexpected death.I enjoyed the characters especially Nathan and Xander. The two little girls, Sophie and Lo, are fun too and we see some of the ways children live their outback lives with School of the Air and ponies to ride every day. All very interesting!I enjoyed it all and read it in a day. Now I wait with anticipation to see what the author does next!
    more
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Desolate, dangerous, remote and vast; the Australian outback is a place I’d bet I will never see. Those who make it their home live a hard life coping with the savage heat of a vicious and unforgiving climate. One mistake means death and preparation is essential. The inhabitants know this so it makes no sense when two brothers find their middle brother dead in a godforsaken location and it appears he intentionally wandered off to his death. A death caused by the elements of the outback is grueso Desolate, dangerous, remote and vast; the Australian outback is a place I’d bet I will never see. Those who make it their home live a hard life coping with the savage heat of a vicious and unforgiving climate. One mistake means death and preparation is essential. The inhabitants know this so it makes no sense when two brothers find their middle brother dead in a godforsaken location and it appears he intentionally wandered off to his death. A death caused by the elements of the outback is gruesome. This is an intricately plotted mystery that delves deeply into the inner workings of a family dependent upon each other for survival. This does not disappoint and the writing is superb.
    more
  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.Jane Harper is a gifted writer. She has the ability to evoke that dusty, dry, Australian countryside and use its atmosphere to build tension underneath an intriguing murder mystery that keeps you glued to the story from page one. This book I found to be particularly clever, as there's no detective figuring things out - there's just the Bright family, who are struggling to come to terms with the horrific death of brother/son/husband/father/uncle/nephew, Cameron.It's told most ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.Jane Harper is a gifted writer. She has the ability to evoke that dusty, dry, Australian countryside and use its atmosphere to build tension underneath an intriguing murder mystery that keeps you glued to the story from page one. This book I found to be particularly clever, as there's no detective figuring things out - there's just the Bright family, who are struggling to come to terms with the horrific death of brother/son/husband/father/uncle/nephew, Cameron.It's told mostly from the perspective of Nathan, who is the eldest son and lives on a neighbouring property completely alone. The lonely nature of the location seems so bleak to me, and it's hard to imagine this kind of 'town', where people live kilometres away from others, and spend days travelling out to fix fences around their lands, etc. I have a vague idea about small Australian towns, having passed though plenty, but the vastness of this landscape was still really incredible to me. That level of isolation terrifies me, and it's a fantastic ploy of the novel to draw on that isolation, and weave it into the hostile environment. Harper has created some fascinating characters here. I found my opinions of them all mutating throughout the book, as their natures became more apparent, and by the end of it I was happy to leave this broken family behind. There are secrets upon secrets, and everyone is suspicious because no one seems to be at first. The information leaks slowly into the story, first raising questions, then answering those with new questions, until you're tearing through chapters trying to figure out what exactly happened to Cameron, and who was behind it. I found it highly addictive because there was always a fresh bone to gnaw on, and more puzzles to solve. It's very Australian, so I wonder how international readers will fare with the language and terminology, and whether that will affect the reading experience. I really enjoyed the setting that was crafted here, and Harper has a way of taking vast, flat, mundane Australian landscape and turning it into a character that plays just as vital a role as the others. The Lost Man will have you thinking a lot about the ugly side of human nature, so be ready to be confronted by your own thoughts and the kind of person they make you. There were so many times in this book where I found myself wondering what I'd do in a similar situation. It explores the many facets of family and protecting loved ones (or not), and dynamics outside the ordinary that will draw you in and make you silent witness to the intricacies of the lives behind closed doors.Safe to say, Jane Harper is still in fine form with this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommend.With thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for my ARC.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsWith The Lost Man, Jane Harper returns to the blinding form of The Dry, creating a tense and powerfully atmospheric read that spirals ever inwards, a path that narrows with every revelation until there is only one possible perfectly formed conclusion. It starts with a seemingly unexplainable death, one of three brothers found lifeless by the old stockman's grave, alone and a long, long way from help. As a rancher, he knew better than to be without lifesaving supplies like shade and wate 4.5 starsWith The Lost Man, Jane Harper returns to the blinding form of The Dry, creating a tense and powerfully atmospheric read that spirals ever inwards, a path that narrows with every revelation until there is only one possible perfectly formed conclusion. It starts with a seemingly unexplainable death, one of three brothers found lifeless by the old stockman's grave, alone and a long, long way from help. As a rancher, he knew better than to be without lifesaving supplies like shade and water in the heat of the Australian outback- it's a painfully fatal mistake. So why was he there at all? This is the foremost question troubling the book's narrator, another of the three brothers, Nathan. Initially somewhat unlikeable, for me at least, Nathan's hesitant questioning of the people he thought he could trust forms the basis for the narrative, as does his developing understanding of himself and his own past. Spurred on by his son's scepticism, the teen playing the quintessential outsider who can see things more clearly, his doubts turn into what amounts to an investigation of his own family. Keeping all the tension within the familial sphere, there is limited intervention from the law. While local police make an appearance, without evidence of foul play, there's little more to be done than conclude that the rigours of life became too much, perhaps leading to suicide. In this bleak, lonely, hard landscape, such things are entirely plausible. And after all, everyone knows each other here, good and bad... there couldn't possibly be anything more to it.Except there must be. The tension between these two truths plays out through everything from subtle conversations with dangerous undercurrents to outright clashes as each person is revealed to be a very different character than either the reader or his/her own family understands. Of course, it's a staple of psychological thrillers to manipulate expectations, but this is such an effective process of revelation that I couldn't help be impressed. Page by page, secrets and questions abound, some answered, some pointing in new directions, some undermining all that came before. And slowly, almost unnoticed, your views about characters change as each new piece of information fits or conflicts with what you thought you knew. Even as your certainty about people solidifies, there remains that fundamental question: who was responsible? The darker parts of the Bright family are about to be stripped away, layer by layer. Bound by blood and shared space, the secrets and lies tethering them together are increasingly tested once one of their own is gone. Protecting the family is one thing, but what if these are the kind of buried secrets that kill?A clever, memorable thriller with a fascinating cast. Jane Harper proving once again that she writes the kind of suspenseful fiction that has you desperate to know the truth. Highly recommended.ARC via Netgalley
    more
  • Sally Hepworth
    January 1, 1970
    HER BEST BOOK YET.
  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    Review to be posted later as requested by the publisher.
  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    Her best book yet. Phenomenal! Can't wait to share my thoughts with you guys. 😊
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I love Jane Harper's books, and while I'm sad I won't be seeing Aaron Falk (aka bae) in this one, I'm still excited! And I love that her books release so close to my birthday; they're like extra presents!!
  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    They say third book's a charm (do they? I just made that up), and Jane Harper does not disappoint. To say she's done it again is an understatement. The Lost Man is every bit the page turner you expect and more.The way Jane captures the landscape of the outback is like a character in itself - you can feel the dust permeating your skin and clothing, the searing heat of the dry Queensland sun that seeps through every last corner. The characters are almost the secondary stars, but nonetheless outsta They say third book's a charm (do they? I just made that up), and Jane Harper does not disappoint. To say she's done it again is an understatement. The Lost Man is every bit the page turner you expect and more.The way Jane captures the landscape of the outback is like a character in itself - you can feel the dust permeating your skin and clothing, the searing heat of the dry Queensland sun that seeps through every last corner. The characters are almost the secondary stars, but nonetheless outstanding and you can't help but connect with Nathan, especially. Jane is the master of subtlety as she touches on very relevant themes in today's (Australian) society, and no doubt I'm sure you'll love the twists and turns of The Lost Man as I did.
    more
  • Britta Böhler
    January 1, 1970
    A bit of a slow-burner but worth it.
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Despite my misgivings that this wasn't another Falk book, I'm happy to say this is probably Jane's best book to date.Yet again, she's taken to the harsh Australian landscape, and not only evokes the feeling of our dry, incredibly difficult and harsh summer outback, but also captures how difficult it is for the people that live there.Drawing on so many current issues, such as male and farmer suicide, domestic violence, and rape, The Lost Man swings a spotlight to these dark problems, while weavin Despite my misgivings that this wasn't another Falk book, I'm happy to say this is probably Jane's best book to date.Yet again, she's taken to the harsh Australian landscape, and not only evokes the feeling of our dry, incredibly difficult and harsh summer outback, but also captures how difficult it is for the people that live there.Drawing on so many current issues, such as male and farmer suicide, domestic violence, and rape, The Lost Man swings a spotlight to these dark problems, while weaving a taut psychological thriller at the same time.Yet again I'm reminded why I constantly recommend Harper's books, and why we sell so many!
    more
  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of The Lost Man, a stand alone novel set in the Queensland outback.When Cameron Bright dies of exposure neat the stockman’s grave in the middle of the outback, miles from anywhere his two brothers don’t know what to think - why he was there when he was supposed to be somewhere else and what or who brought him there.Wow, what a read. I must admit that this is the first of Ms Harper’s novels I have read but I can n I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of The Lost Man, a stand alone novel set in the Queensland outback.When Cameron Bright dies of exposure neat the stockman’s grave in the middle of the outback, miles from anywhere his two brothers don’t know what to think - why he was there when he was supposed to be somewhere else and what or who brought him there.Wow, what a read. I must admit that this is the first of Ms Harper’s novels I have read but I can now understand the buzz around her writing. The novel is told from Cam’s older brother Nathan’s perspective and it is so utterly compulsive I couldn’t put it down. It is listed under mystery and thrillers and while there is a mystery as in what happened to Cam and initially why Nathan is ostracised by the”local”community it is much more about the dysfunction in the Bright household and the unravelling of Cam’s life. It is absolutely fascinating and so well paced that my attention didn’t wander for a minute.I love the descriptions of the outback and its cruel splendour. It is a hard life for the inhabitants- hours of driving to reach the closest neighbour and an environment so unforgiving you have to be well prepared every time you set foot over the door. Ms Harper really reinforces this with Cam’s death with initial suspicions pointing to suicide because an experienced man like him would not be so ill prepared. It’s a whole other life to my comfortable town existence.Living in tough conditions breeds tough characters and it may be my imagination but the slightly offhand tone at the beginning of the novel seems to reflect Nathan’s character who holds himself apart from the rest of the world. As the novel progresses and the reader gets to know Nathan the tone seems more intimate. He, as are all the characters, is well drawn and becomes more likeable as more information becomes available. He is a tough, solitary man and seems to fit the environment. The Lost Man is an excellent read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
    more
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Want to visit the setting of this brilliant new read?Out 23rd October on ebook and next year in HB and PB...Jane Harper is the Queen of the remote and raw and visceral landscape though, that's for sure.Visit remote Queensland "Balamara" Review: I have loved both Jane Harper novels so far and this, the third is right up there.She is the Queen of the remote, raw and visceral Australian setting. You’re plunged into the dry, the heat and the lack of human contact here. Driving along a road without s Want to visit the setting of this brilliant new read?Out 23rd October on ebook and next year in HB and PB...Jane Harper is the Queen of the remote and raw and visceral landscape though, that's for sure.Visit remote Queensland "Balamara" Review: I have loved both Jane Harper novels so far and this, the third is right up there.She is the Queen of the remote, raw and visceral Australian setting. You’re plunged into the dry, the heat and the lack of human contact here. Driving along a road without supplies could result in death. Your body might never be found - there’s a severe lack of passing cars.But in the middle of this landscape, amongst the cattle farms and single houses, there’s a grave where the legendary stockman is buried. Used to frighten the children and people of this town. Now, a local man has been found lying in the grave...but why did he venture out here? and leave his car?The story flits back to build up a shocking web of deceit, family breakdown and secrets which go way back. These are people from a unique place, where life is very different to anywhere else. The Queensland outback is not your friend it would seem and conditions are harsh and life dependent on landscape and weather.The cast of characters is strong as are the relationships between them. I’ve never been to the area in the book, but then this is not a place for tourists. You have to have lived and breathed this land to fully understand and respect it. The secrets once revealed were both disturbing and sad.The way the community, the land, the people and the past all wove together despite the gritty sandstorm of the plot is testament to Jane’s skill as a writer. Very cinematic and a thump to the chest ending.
    more
  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    I’d rate this her best book so far.
  • Jackie Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Oh laaawd please don’t hate me for this.I love Jane Harper. I think she’s a brilliant author. I think she writes amazing novels and has great twists. But this one just didn’t do it for me like the other two did. I found it hard to get into, and while I think her description of the outback and the scorching heat is such a trademark to her writing, I found it a little bit too much and it became detrimental to me actually imagining the book and the layout in my head.The twist was good, as it always Oh laaawd please don’t hate me for this.I love Jane Harper. I think she’s a brilliant author. I think she writes amazing novels and has great twists. But this one just didn’t do it for me like the other two did. I found it hard to get into, and while I think her description of the outback and the scorching heat is such a trademark to her writing, I found it a little bit too much and it became detrimental to me actually imagining the book and the layout in my head.The twist was good, as it always is. Woven throughout the story, so much so that I didn’t know what would happen.But overall, a 3.5 star rating from me because it just wasn’t as good as The Dry, and Force of Nature, in my opinion. *let the pitchforks fly*
    more
  • Julie Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    This is an intricate mystery thriller that slowly unravels to real how Cam really died. The book begins with the discovery of his body, left out in the open by an old gravestone. People think he either killed himself or found himself stranded, but his family suspect there was someone else involved. Cam’s two brothers, Nathan and Bub are helping out at the house as Cam used to run everything, and his wife and children are struggling to come to terms with what’s happened. As the story progresses t This is an intricate mystery thriller that slowly unravels to real how Cam really died. The book begins with the discovery of his body, left out in the open by an old gravestone. People think he either killed himself or found himself stranded, but his family suspect there was someone else involved. Cam’s two brothers, Nathan and Bub are helping out at the house as Cam used to run everything, and his wife and children are struggling to come to terms with what’s happened. As the story progresses the family’s secrets are uncovered and we soon learn that all the family are struggling with their own lives. I liked the build up to the end of the book and I really liked the way it ended. Thanks to Little Brown Book Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
    more
  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! When someone goes out alone in the Australian Outback there are survival rules in place - you never have your radio off, you always have more than you need of water and food and you always tell someone where you are going. Even when you follow these rules, bad things can happen and they do for Cam, the middle brother of a second generation ranching family. Just a few days before Christmas, one of the warmest times of the year, Cam goes off to fix something and is found dead sometime later a Wow! When someone goes out alone in the Australian Outback there are survival rules in place - you never have your radio off, you always have more than you need of water and food and you always tell someone where you are going. Even when you follow these rules, bad things can happen and they do for Cam, the middle brother of a second generation ranching family. Just a few days before Christmas, one of the warmest times of the year, Cam goes off to fix something and is found dead sometime later away from his truck with no supplies and in an area with no shelter from the blistering sun. The whole family gathers for a somber funeral and wants answers. Why was he out there alone and was it suicide? There are more questions than answers in much of the story as you are pulled deeper and deeper into this complex family saga with its many tangled relationships. Jane Harper is a master of suspense and creating tension. This book reels you in from page one - unputdownable!
    more
  • Craig Sisterson
    January 1, 1970
    How do you follow up one of the most successful and acclaimed debuts of recent memory? A tricky challenge that's seen several authors stumble, but Melbourne author Jane Harper showed she was no one-hit wonder when she switched from drought-stricken farmland in the CWA Gold Dagger-winning THE DRY to rain-swept, wintry bushland in FORCE OF NATURE, her second Aaron Falk thriller. Third time round, Harper lures readers back to the arid landscapes of the Outback, but federal cop Falk is absent. THE L How do you follow up one of the most successful and acclaimed debuts of recent memory? A tricky challenge that's seen several authors stumble, but Melbourne author Jane Harper showed she was no one-hit wonder when she switched from drought-stricken farmland in the CWA Gold Dagger-winning THE DRY to rain-swept, wintry bushland in FORCE OF NATURE, her second Aaron Falk thriller. Third time round, Harper lures readers back to the arid landscapes of the Outback, but federal cop Falk is absent. THE LOST MAN begins at a remote and barren border of massive cattle ranches that sprawl over heat-struck landscapes of western Queensland. This isn't the touristy meccas of the Gold Coast or Cairns, instead a parched climate that everyone who lives there knows can quickly kill. So why would Cam Bright, the golden middle child of the Bright farming family, leave the safety of his truck to wander to his death at an old stockman's grave? The marks in the dusty earth tell the story: he was scrambling for shade in the hours before he succumbed. An isolated death that didn't come easy. As older brother Nathan and little bro Bub meet at the stockman's grave, the questions swirl: why would Cam, the brother who seemed to have it all, take such a final walk? Had financial pressures shoved him over the edge? What about the woman from his past who recently tried to get in touch? Or is something even more sinister behind it all? Nathan, whose own prior actions have seen him largely living in exile in recent years, is pulled into a family situation packed with grief and secrets. As events unfold, relationships fray and long-hidden truths come to light. Nathan is forced to confront several incidents from his own past, missteps and misperceptions, and the different ways various people view the same events, forming their own 'reality' that endures. Until it's shaken. THE LOST MAN is a stunning standalone. A taut and elegant rural mystery centred on family drama more than a police investigation, it's a page-turners with real substance. There's a taut elegance and quiet intensity to Harper's prose as she surveys the pressures of Outback farming and examines the darkness that can fester within families and isolated communities. A superb tale that shimmers with subtext and subtlety. For a couple of years now we've talked about Harper's special debut; it's time we just talked about her as a special author.
    more
  • Candace Chidiac
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my god - this book is incredible. I loved reading it and got so annoyed every time I had to put it down or got interrupted. Such a fantastically structured mystery and the characters were perfect. Better than The Dry in my opinion!
  • Cass Moriarty
    January 1, 1970
    Australian author Jane Harper captivated our attention in 2016 with the publication of her debut novel The Dry, and then eager fans were rewarded with her second novel, Force of Nature. Her latest crime fiction, The Lost Man (Pan Macmillan 2018), is another well-plotted and tense psychological thriller with well-developed characters and an immersive sense of place. It is perhaps worth noting some of the similarities – and the differences – between The Lost Man and Harper’s previous works. In all Australian author Jane Harper captivated our attention in 2016 with the publication of her debut novel The Dry, and then eager fans were rewarded with her second novel, Force of Nature. Her latest crime fiction, The Lost Man (Pan Macmillan 2018), is another well-plotted and tense psychological thriller with well-developed characters and an immersive sense of place. It is perhaps worth noting some of the similarities – and the differences – between The Lost Man and Harper’s previous works. In all three novels, place is paramount. The Dry and The Lost Man are both set in the hot, arid, dusty outback of Australia. While The Dry was set in a small town with all the closeness that entails, in The Lost Man people live isolated lives hours from their nearest neighbours and have to be very self-sufficient as a consequence. Her second book, Force of Nature, was set in the bushland of the Giralong Ranges – a different kind of bush, although still harsh and unrelenting. But in all her books, the environment – the unique Australian environment – is depicted almost as a character, as a living, breathing entity that is by turn feared, loved, hated, always to be endured and survived, and never to be ignored. As readers of The Lost Man, we taste the grit on our tongues; we feel the inescapable press of burning heat on our skin. The dry wind brings the smell of animals, sweat, body odour and decay under the hot sun. The Lost Man is set on two vast cattle properties in western Queensland, and every description – from the filthy utes to the wire fencing, from the empty landscape to the heat haze, from the absolute necessity of water and shelter to the rugged, harsh and solitary days of the farmers – everything is described in such detail that we feel we have spent a few days there ourselves. Harper’s first two novels featured Federal Investigator Detective Aaron Falk, but The Lost Man diverges in that it is not a Falk novel, and in fact although police are involved, they are not at the centre of the story. While this is a crime novel, it also moves more closely to family drama, exploring the themes that Harper seems to gravitate towards, including betrayal, the power of forgiveness, the passage of time and the vagaries of memory. And like all her books, it explores the nuances of desperate people committing desperate acts in desperate times. But all of this is done with subtlety and care, with the characters’ secrets and lies revealed only very gradually as the story progresses. The Lost Man opens in the middle of nowhere – the stockman’s grave, a simple marked resting place of a man buried a century ago, about whom ghost stories are told and rumours abound. The story begins with the death of Cameron Bright, who is found at the stockman’s grave all alone, without supplies and without sign of injury. His brothers, Nathan and Bub, stand together at the site of this grisly discovery, wondering how and why their brother was in this place, far from where he was supposed to be, far from his car and supplies, far from anyone or anything. It is a complete mystery, and a great way to begin a story. Narrated by Nathan Bright, The Lost Man follows a more conventional and straightforward narrative than Harper’s previous two novels. She doesn’t play with structure as much – there are no flashbacks, or chapters anchored in the past, although there are plenty of memories that provide layer upon layer of backstory and chronology as the tale progresses. And as we only have one point of view – the perspective of Nathan – we are subject to misunderstandings and miscommunications along with him as the story develops. We discover information and clues as he discovers them, we begin to suspect the behaviour of others as he does, and we begin to form ideas about what might have happened in the same way that Nathan does as the days pass. (The added question of whether Nathan is a reliable narrator enhances the intrigue.)As with all good crime novels, as well as the initial dead body, there are many possible potential victims and many plausible suspects. Characters’ motivations and behaviours are hinted at with enough detail that we begin to suspect everyone of something, and are not sure upon whom we should be focussing our attention. There are plenty of red herrings and, equally, plenty of important clues – but of course, we don’t know and can’t guess which are which. Even towards the end of the book, we are still being subtly guided in our attentions, first to this person, then to that one, never really knowing who is at the centre of the mystery. The isolation of the properties where The Lost Man is set means that the significant characters are caught together in a bell jar of tension and suspicion. Along with the three Bright brothers, there is their mother Liz, Cameron’s widow Ilse and his two daughters, Nathan’s son Xander (one of my favourite characters), long-term employee Harry who is almost a member of the family, and a pair of backpackers living and working on the farm. The local police (and also the local medico, Steve) play important roles in the story, but are not front and centre as in most crime books. The remoteness of the family means that they rely on each other and that outsiders are viewed with distrust. Locals have long memories, and bad blood casts a long shadow. Death is an accepted part of life in the outback, and survivors are pragmatic and resilient. Harper’s dialogue is authentic and natural, and her flawed and sometimes dislikeable characters feel entirely genuine. She manages to traverse issues such as suicide, domestic violence and mental health almost stealthily, allowing them to gently bubble to the surface of the story and surprise us when they appear.Cameron, the middle brother, and by all accounts the most successful sibling, was troubled by something or someone before his death. But what? Or who? And whatever it was, could it have driven him to despair enough to walk to his own death in such a lonely, pitiful and suffering way? As the story develops, and we begin to know and understand the characters, through Nathan’s eyes, we gradually uncover family secrets and private understandings, past deeds and wordless acquiescence, lies told and truths hidden. Family is a complicated thing, and the Bright family is no exception. The grief over Cameron’s death is tainted by the unravelling of the mysterious circumstances of his death, and the climax is surprising and frightening. By the final pages, we come to a dawning comprehension of the calculated cruelty and callousness that by then seems entirely inevitable. The resolution is shocking and unpredictable, but also satisfying.
    more
  • Raven
    January 1, 1970
    ✨ It's Jane Harper, of course I'm going to read it! I'm so excited we're getting more books. Force of Nature left such an impression on me. ✨
  • Anna Baillie-Karas
    January 1, 1970
    This starts slowly but becomes a really good mystery. I couldn’t put it down, as layers of intrigue built up. Nathan - a strong, silent type - investigates the death of his brother Cameron in outback Australia. Harper portrays the farming community in a remote place with dark realism. I didn’t like the hot, dusty setting but it creates a threatening atmosphere. Well-plotted & the characters feel true. Only criticism: all white characters. I could be wrong but the cattle stations I know of ar This starts slowly but becomes a really good mystery. I couldn’t put it down, as layers of intrigue built up. Nathan - a strong, silent type - investigates the death of his brother Cameron in outback Australia. Harper portrays the farming community in a remote place with dark realism. I didn’t like the hot, dusty setting but it creates a threatening atmosphere. Well-plotted & the characters feel true. Only criticism: all white characters. I could be wrong but the cattle stations I know of are near Aboriginal communities & regularly employ Aboriginal workers. It seemed to be an omission, but this part of Australia could be different.
    more
  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Smart, deceptively sparse writing that winds its way into your subconscious. The characters are few, the setting barren and the action thin – and yet this is crime writing at its finest.
  • Nat
    January 1, 1970
    Jane Harper is turning out to be one of my new favourite authors. I love the way she describes the harsh, desolate and endless Australian outback. The characters are all so interesting and real.This novel starts off with a bang with the discovery of Cameron's body. It isn't very suspenseful and I also didn't feel compelled to quickly discover whodunit. I really enjoyed familiarising myself with the characters and understanding their relationships with each other, the local outback community and Jane Harper is turning out to be one of my new favourite authors. I love the way she describes the harsh, desolate and endless Australian outback. The characters are all so interesting and real.This novel starts off with a bang with the discovery of Cameron's body. It isn't very suspenseful and I also didn't feel compelled to quickly discover whodunit. I really enjoyed familiarising myself with the characters and understanding their relationships with each other, the local outback community and the land. Although I did find the ending / resolution to be a little rushed.Someone can decide it's in their best interests to agree to something, but a choice is only really a choice if there's a genuine alternative. Otherwise it's manipulation and it's taking advantage.
    more
  • Louise
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis is Jane Harper's third book... I've liked every one of them enormously. She is definitely on my list of read whatever they publish authors.This one is set in the huge expanse of the Australian out back,yet despite that the story felt claustaphobic to me.A small cast,a lot of tension and an unexplained death.The story is revealed layer by layer,so for me,by the end it wasn't a surprise to find out what exactly had happened,in fact it almost felt like there couldn't be any other outc 4.5 starsThis is Jane Harper's third book... I've liked every one of them enormously. She is definitely on my list of read whatever they publish authors.This one is set in the huge expanse of the Australian out back,yet despite that the story felt claustaphobic to me.A small cast,a lot of tension and an unexplained death.The story is revealed layer by layer,so for me,by the end it wasn't a surprise to find out what exactly had happened,in fact it almost felt like there couldn't be any other outcome.The whole book had some great characters,from the three main siblings,all so very different,the anxious son and the bullying father... each perfect for the role they played.Another fantastic read from Harper.... can't wait to see what she brings us next.
    more
  • Cher
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed is not the right word but I was gripped drawn in and when reading having trouble putting this down. Don’t compare to the dry or forces of nature this is its own story and perhaps that is the only fault that bothered me was the tangible link to the dry that made it sound like all outback people are related which seemed lame otherwise great read with real characters and real circumstances This book says people are not always what they project or seem
    more
  • Erica Rist
    January 1, 1970
    This amazing page turner has you from the beginning. You can feel the heat and taste the red dust just like the characters - characters you will love and love to hate. I think it's better than the Dry.
  • Cathy Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    This is a ripper of a read!!! Jane Harper does outback Australia like no other. Her characters are flawed yet so very real and you find yourself getting truly caught up in their lives!! Must read!!!
  • Jamie Canaves
    January 1, 1970
    Guaranteed to be one of the best mysteries of 2019!
Write a review