Title: The Lost Man
Author: Judith Harper
Publication date: 7th February 2019
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Goodreads rating: 4.38
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
I was #gifted an early review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions and views are my own and are not influenced by receiving a copy of this book at all.
I would like to thank Caolinn and Grace from Little Brown for sending me a copy of this book and for asking me to participate in this blog tour, and of course thank you to the author, Jane Harper.
*Trigger warnings – Rape, emotional and physical abuse, dingo and dog baiting
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 Timesbestseller Jane Harper
They 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.
Overall opinion of the book:
After reading and thoroughly enjoying Force of Nature for last year’s blog tour (#gifted), I was eagerly waiting to read Harper’s first stand alone book, The Lost Man, and it didn’t disappoint. Jane Harper has a fantastic writing style, creating deeply eerie, atmospheric moments and unforgettable plot twists.
As the synopses explains, the book begins with the death of Nathan and Bub’s brother, Cameron. The body was found stranded in the infamous landmark, The Stockman’s Grave, eerily placed on a road which not many people pass through. Set in the Australian outback, Harper brings its loneliness and vast land to life and depicts fantastic imagery to readers. Her ability to world build and explain nature is fantastic and leaves the reader with a clear sense of place. This is definitely one of my favourite aspects of her writing.
The plot is fairly slow placed and shrouded in mystery. It follows Cameron’s family, mainly his brother Nathan and his son Xander, on their journey to uncover what happened to his brother. With the police station being over three hours away from their house and land, with not many people around to be seen as suspects, Nathan is left questioning whether or not his brother committed suicide. As the plot unravels, ulterior motives and secrets are revealed that I didn’t see coming. As ever, Harper left me shocked by some of the content as I thought I had figured out what had happened only to be proven wrong. This is definitely a sign of a great thriller. There’s so much I could discuss about the intricate plot details that I thought were great, but I want to keep this review spoiler free to not ruin the book for you!
Another of Harper’s strengths is her brilliant character development skills. Although the main plot focuses on what happened to Cameron, it also delves deeply into the family’s dynamics and history. It was interesting to read their back stories and how it led characters to do certain things and act in certain ways. If anything, it emphasises that families are far from perfect and often there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that people may not be aware of; some of which is often devious or dangerous. I was particularly interested in reading about the brother’s relationships with each other and also with their mother and father.
The Lost Man discusses real life issues that affect many families, such as divorce, infidelity, health issues, mental health, loneliness, regret, emotional and physical abuse. Although raw to read at times, it handles these topics in a sensitive and honest manner. explaining the deep physiological affects it can have on the family dynamic.
It did take me slightly longer to become engrossed in The Lost Man, compared to Force of Nature, but after around 3 or so chapters I was hooked and intrigued to find out what happened. Nathan was no detective, and I’m thrilled with how Harper had him uncovering the plot. She does it in a way which seems natural, rather than treating him as a character who is a professional case solver. It’s clear when reading that he’s just a confused, grieving brother and the solving part of the plot is not forced in any way. I would definitely recommend giving The Lost Man a read, especially if you’ve enjoyed Harper’s previous books or like thrillers in general, you won’t be disappointed!
Before I finish this review I just want to mention that the book does discuss emotional and physical abuse and also rape in some detail. Please be mindful of this if you are triggered by this content.
I would certainly recommend The Lost Man to anyone that enjoys mystery and thrillers. Being set in the vast Australian outback it’s unlike anything I’ve read before. Deeply atmospheric and eerie, Harper has created a story with many unexpected plot twists and complex family relationships.
It’s a book that will draw you in and Harper’s superb writing style and natural flair for writing thrillers is shown again. Although this is quite different to her previous two novels, The Dry and Force of Nature it’s such an intriguing read – I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much!
The Lost Man is being published in the U.K. by Little Brown tomorrow (Thursday 7th February). If you would like to preorder or purchase a copy of this book, you can do so here:
Waterstones (signed edition)
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