Force of Nature by Jane Harper
One of my very favorite things is finding a new author. One of my second favorite things is finding a character that I love, and then finding out that there are multiple books featuring that character. Aaron Falk is one of those characters for me.
I read The Dry last month, and completely fell in love with Jane Harper as an author. I had been recommended this book extensively from fellow bookworms, and everyone was completely right – this book was the exact recipe of what I love in a story, complete with a lead character who was the perfect mix of flawed human and respectable hero.
Imagine my considerable glee when I found out immediately after finishing that book, that there was ALREADY A SECOND BOOK FEATURING FEDERAL AGENT FALK! Which I immediately added to my collection, and which I immediately bumped to the top of my reading stack.
I was not disappointed – Force of Nature is, I daresay, even better than The Dry.
Synopsis: Five colleagues are sent on a corporate retreat into the forest wilderness. One of the women does not return – and the stories on why from the four remaining women don’t add up. Aaron Falk has a particular interest in the missing woman – who was working as a secret source on his current case – and finds himself trying to untangle where everything went wrong.
This book was perfectly paced – moving back and forth between the present-day investigation and what happened on the trip over the previous 4 days, the tension and suspense kept increasing with each page. I inhaled this book, largely because with each new chapter I was more and more reluctant to put it down without figuring out exactly what did happen to Alice. Jane Harper is remarkable at swiftly moving a plot forward without losing track of the small, complex details that make the story.
Without question, my favorite part of Jane’s stories is how she creates the environment of the story so vividly that it becomes like a character itself. I find myself so easily transported into imagining the terrain, the weather, the damp, the feeling of being watched, the tension of being lost. When I can lose myself so entirely into a story, it is the mark of a perfectly crafted piece of work.
Most importantly – I loved how Jane moved Aaron’s story forward. I loved the small details that tied Aaron back to the events in The Dry, without revisiting that story in detail. I like to see a character stay consistent, while still having the ability to grow and expand. Jane nails it on both fronts – and left me wanting to see what happens next for Aaron. I have my fingers anxiously crossed for book #3 in the Aaron Falk series.
Overall, this is a strong 5 star read for me. For my fellow bookworms who love a good crime mystery with a healthy dose of character drama – Jane Harper is the author for you.