An intense, claustrophobic thriller set in the unforgiving bushland of Australia.
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
You know a writing is is good, when reading about five people being exposed to rain and cold makes you shiver under your blankie. Jane Harper’s first book, The Dry, was one of the most atmospheric stories I read last year. Force Of Nature is a bit different, but nevertheless highly enjoyable.
Ten people from the same office set out on a trip into the wildreness to participate in a team building that involves hiking and sleeping in the bushes. Sounds awful if you ask me. Like, I wouldn’t want to spend my weekend wandering around in some forest with my co-workers; seeing them Monday to Friday is more than enough. The women, Bree, Beth, Alice, Lauren and Jill are not particularly fond of each other, for various reasons, so you can already see this was never going to end well.
Aaron Falk has already got eyes on Alice, so when she doesn’t make it out of the woods, he and his new partner, Carmen get involved.
The chapters alternate between the investigation in the present, and the events of the fateful hike. What starts out as general bitching, soon turns into petty arguments, and later violence and borderline bullying. All the women have their own ideas about how to get out of their predicament, but of course they can’t agree on one plan, and emotions get out of hand.
Secrets come to light, deep rooted animosity surfaces; Aaron and Carmen have their work cut out for them, because none of these women seem keen on sharing details of their misadventure.
While The Dry was a typical slow burn, heavy with atmosphere, Force Of Nature is more of a well paced page turner, filled with little nuances of the characters feelings muddying the waters.
If there’s one thing that was absolutely not necessary, it was the subtle flirting between Aaron and Carmen. Just why? Eh…
P.S. I would totally love to go on a hike there.