Force of Nature by Jane Harper

An intense, claustrophobic thriller set in the unforgiving bushland of Australia.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Genres: Crime, Mystery
Published: 6th February, 2018
Goodreads
Series: Aaron Falk #2
Rating: 4

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along a muddy track.
Only four come out on the other side.
The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and encourage teamwork and resilience. At least, that’s what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, Alice Russell. Because Alice knew secrets, about the company she worked for and the people she worked with.
The four returning women tell Falk a tale of fear, violence and fractured trust during their days in the remote Australian bushland. And as Falk delves into the disappearance of Alice, he begins to suspect some dangers ran far deeper than anyone knew.


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.

How about you?

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39 comments

  1. the cover is gorgeous and that summary is intriguing, but omg, I totally hear you on how spending Mon-Fri with colleagues is more than enough. who would give up their weekend for team building??? I’m taking the day off tomorrow because I’m over my workplace and need a long weekend, so this is just a wacky premise to me, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Whoppie, you read. And glad to see you enjoyed it as much as I did. But yes, the Carmen Aaron flirt was just a bit odd, and really unnecessary. Unless, of course, Harper is setting up something for later…but still!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. B Lostinacoulee

    Great review, Norrie! I just finished this one. I am glad to see you enjoyed it. I did too.

    I loved what you said about the great writing and shivering. I loved the dynamics between the characters. I thought it had just the right amount of drama between the women to add tension and suspense.

    I would love to go on a hike or retreat they too but not with these women. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love books that spark wanderlust! I’d never go on a trip with my coworkers though. That sounds like a terrible idea! It’s likely that the only thing everyone would have in common would be work, and having to talk about work away from work sounds more like a punishment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha πŸ˜€ Aww…
      At my current work i have my two besties also working here, so that’s nice. Last time we went on a team building however, they put me in a group with random people and damn, it was awful. It only lasted couple hours tho…

      Like

  5. I recently got The Dry and now that I have read your review, I absolutely have to add this one to my TBR. Sounds like an adventurous, interesting read. Your comments about hiking with your co-workers though haha. Your reviews always make me smile. I hope that you will get to the hike though. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beware Of The Reader

    You are so right about the writing Norrie! The books I rate the highest are those making me feel, taste, smell what the characters feel, taste etc.! Wonderful review.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree that the plot sounds utterly boring and uninspiring but you seem to have gotten an awesome deal out of it, so yay? Hahaha seriously, though, who actually comes up with these team building crap ideas? Like, pass.

    Anyway, cool review, Norrie! I usually find the romance kind of unecessary in this type of book too but for some reason, authors loooove adding it *rolls eyes*

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahhh, that things isolation does to a person huh. Nice to hear that it was still a pretty solid sequel. This series has definitely popped up here and then for me, but I could never put my finger on what exactly it’s missing for me to say: “I need it now.” πŸ˜› Glad you enjoyed it, Norrie, and awesome review as always! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. And this is why people are scared of coming to Australia πŸ˜€
    But okay, I have to admit.. the Outback can be pretty scary & things DID happen there… It makes a good setting for thrillers & horror stories!

    Like

  10. Oooh, I’ve seen this book around and I think the atmosphere (the hike, etc) might be my kind of thing already. I like the sound of the women not really getting along- because what else is new, eh? πŸ˜€ hahaha, but I think I should defo keep my eye out on this book.
    Pity about the romance… it feels like nothing is done anymore without some luv injected into the mix… sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Monthly Catch Up #9 – September 2018 | Reading Under The Blankie

  12. Pingback: Featured Blogger: Norrie from Reading Under the Blankie! – Hannah's Bookshelf ☁️

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