The story setting is a seven hundred square kilometres cattle station in the Queensland outback, in the heat of late December. Following the death of their father, the station is run by Cameron although his two brothers each have a minority interest. Cameron dies under mysterious circumstances and a whole lot of family issues come to the surface. There are many flashbacks to things that happened in the past that parallel happenings now. The characters are well developed and the story is nicely paced, with many twists and turns.
The dominating feature is the heat and as is emphasised, you don’t spend time out in the open. If your vehicle breaks down you stay with the vehicle until you are found. Yet Cameron died of thirst nine kilometres from his undamaged vehicle.
There are some inconsistencies. A character walks into the cool room amongst frozen food; cool rooms are just that and are not freezers. The generator at the homestead is switched off each night leaving the house in total darkness. A real homestead would have battery operated night lights or would have 24 hour power to keep cool rooms and refrigerators running. One of the characters rides a horse over a distance of about forty kilometres in the heat of the day with no problems.
This book really resonated with me. You could just feel that blazing heat of the outback in your skin...as it’s almost as bad down here in Victoria at the moment. This was a tense family standoff. Wonderful character development made the book some sort of fantastic page turner. I didn’t see the ending coming and it tore my heart out. It was so emotional. Wonderful wonderful book. I can’t wait until the next Jane Harper gem.
‘The Lost Man’ is every bit the page turner you expect from Jane Harper, such a gifted Aussie writer. I have devoured all of her books as you can feel the heat and taste the red dust just like the characters - characters that will seep into your skin like the landscape... you will love and hate it and them in equal parts.
‘The Lost Man’ will have you thinking a lot about the ugly side of human nature as it builds an atmosphere of tension underneath an intriguing murder mystery that keeps you glued to the story from page one. This however is not a whodunnit or a detective lead mystery, at it’s core is a family unravelling - 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 in first person POV mainly from the perspective of Nathan, who is the eldest son and lives on a neighbouring property completely alone. “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."
The information is unveiled, first raising questions, then answering those with new questions, until you're swiping madly trying to figure out what exactly happened to Cameron, and who was behind it. I found it highly addictive and I would say it’s my new favourite book by this iconic author, as I already feel the need to read it again as I am sure I will reveal totally different dimensions I missed on first reading... It’s definitely a new Aussie Classic...
When Jane Harper writes about the Australian outback, the vastness and searing heat are vivid. So too are the characters who live in this harsh climate. This is another Harper murder mystery. A husband and father is found dead by an old lonely grave. His car is found nine kilometres away. Why someone who knew the landscape so well would wander from his vehicle is beyond strange. In this landscape, without water, it doesn’t take long to die.
What unfolds is the kind of story you sometimes hear in the bush: a somber story of families that look alright on the outside but which contain inter-generational violence and cruelty. Many a man becomes a tyrant, an expert in physical and emotional abuse. This is not apparent at first, as loner Nathan leaves his struggling farm to come home after his brother’s death. Harper treads with sure footing as she unravels the psychological complexities of this family as she did in her previous novels, and the result is as gripping as before. I suspect that many others will do as I did, and read it straight through. Many will empathise with Nathan’s sadness as he considers the results of the choices he has made and be glad about the surprising, but not surprising ending. Top marks.
I read The Dry before this and I am amazed how different they are but how powerfully the author is able to describe the landscape and the people who live in the real outback. I love her people her way of making them real and the way that you grow to know them. A wonderful evocative story well worth your time.
A fascinating book and a story very well told.There's so much to appreciate in this book; people so vividly described you'd recognise them if you met, descriptions of farming and living in a small outback community where people struggle with the tyranny of distance and a tough environment every day, and the warmth with which people and their problems are characterised. And "who dunnit" a well kept secret until the very end!
Just when you think you've read it all, along comes Jane Harper with an Australian who dunnit that blitzes the field. The story is told with words that paint the picture of outback and station life, making you feel as if you are there watching the take unfold. I can't wait for more Harper stories! The Lost Man tells of a strange death that appears as impossible for people who know the man. But what transpires makes us ask ourselves how well do we really know people even if we see then every day? So who killed Cameron? You'll have to read the book!
Superb - 5 out of 5, 10 out of 10!!!!! Jane Harper writes so well that I’m still washing the red dust out of my clothes. Her characters are so well drawn, her descriptions of the landscape, the lifestyle, the people are as realistic as being there. And she builds the story at a steady pace. I found the book very hard to put down and sad to finish it. Highly recommend her books. Great writer. Thank you
excellent read look forward to another of this Author's books. My husband and I spent some years on a rural farm in Australia and it took me right back ! I could smell the red dirt and feel the heat like it was yesterday. We also had backpackers that lived in a Caravan so that was very surreal too. I couldn't put the book down.
The Outback, the heat, the isolation and relationships where emotions are rarely displayed drive Nathan to the brink of despair. When his brother is found dead, the questions surrounding this mystery slowly surface and the answers are are surprising. Nathan's family history unravells a complicated interplay of hidden character traits that makes this book compelling.