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Library Journal Review
Australian federal police agent Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen Cooper are called from Melbourne to the remote -Giralang area, where a hiker has disappeared. The missing woman was on a corporate retreat, and the two agents from the Financial Crimes section are involved because she was their confidential informant in the company they are investigating for money laundering and other crimes. The four other women on the hike all returned to base camp late and claim Alice Russell had left their shelter in the middle of the night with their one cell phone and flashlight. As the search intensifies, Falk and Cooper carefully question the women, trying to determine if anyone knew that Russell was a whistleblower. The story alternates between the investigation and the earlier team-building hike. All the participants have reason to be angry with Alice, but were any of them fed up enough to do something drastic? Further complicating the situation, the area was the hunting ground for a notorious serial killer. That killer is long dead, but no one has seen his now-adult son in years, and like his father, he knew this remote wilderness well. -VERDICT Set against the fascinating backdrop of a wild, rural location in south -Australia, Harper's sequel to her acclaimed Ned Kelly Award-winning debut, The Dry, presents an intriguing crime that might not actually exist and potential suspects with realistically complex personalities and possible motives. The two story lines, past and present, collide with a satisfying yet not gratuitous conclusion.-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Australian author Harper follows her bestselling debut, The Dry, with a gripping tale of an elemental battle for survival. Federal agents Aaron Falk and Carmen Cooper are investigating the role of a respected Melbourne accounting firm in an extensive money-laundering scheme with the help of insider source Alice Russell. Then she vanishes during a team-building wilderness expedition that includes the chief executives of the company she has been working to expose. Pressed by their bosses to get the remaining documents needed for the probe and worried that Alice may have met with foul play, Falk and Carmen head for the rugged Giralang Ranges to aid in the search. Once in the bushland, they discover that the beautiful, brainy, but unabashedly cruel Alice had no dearth of enemies, ranging from her bullied assistant to a fellow executive who's been her frenemy since their years together at an exclusive private school. Although certain plot strands seem contrived, Harper once again shows herself to be a storytelling force to be reckoned with. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Melbourne author Harper faced a challenge in equaling the success of her first book, The Dry (2017), which was an award-winning international best-seller; but in this second Aaron Falk novel, she manages to match her debut's intensity with another riveting, tension-driven thriller. The sere landscape of The Dry has been replaced by the damp and dense bush of the Giralang Ranges, where the precious few footpaths have the added menace of a serial killer, who once selected his victims from the paths' female hikers. Now, only four women have returned from a five-woman corporate survival exercise over the rugged terrain, which was meant to test their resilience and enhance teamwork skills. The missing woman, Alice Russell, is the whistle-blower of a money-laundering case that Falk, a Melbourne cop focused on financial crime, has been working on. Has Russell fallen victim to a copycat serial killer or to corporate retribution (all of the other women on the exercise had reason to want her out of the way), or has she simply wandered off track on her own? Falk's partner, Carmen Cooper, is a welcome addition to the series. She manages to nudge Falk out of his self-imposed exile, driven by regrets about the past, and her insights into the anguish and uncertainty of the characters are invaluable. Perfect for fans of Tana French and readers who enjoy literary page-turners.--Murphy, Jane Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A woman goes missing in the Australian wilderness in Harper's (The Dry, 2017) second thriller to feature Agent Aaron Falk of the Federal Police.Falk is still recovering from his last case, and the fire that burned his hand badly, when he gets a call from his new partner, Carmen Cooper, that a woman named Alice Russell has gone missing in the Giralang Ranges three hours outside Melbourne, where she had been taking part in a corporate retreat with her colleagues from the BaileyTennants accountancy firm. This sparks a grim memory for Falk: more than 20 years ago, when the policeman was a teenager, a killer named Martin Kovac littered the same area with the bodies of young women he'd murdered. Kovac couldn't have taken Alice, because he's dead, but her disappearance dredges up some horrific memories in the collective consciousness, which adds a creepy dimension to an increasingly puzzling case. Falk and Cooper don't work missing personsthey're financial investigators, and Alice was helping them with a case on the down low, gathering information on her boss's money matters. Falk can't help worrying that her disappearance might have something do to with the investigation, especially when he realizes he has a garbled message from Alice on his phone. After Falk and Cooper join the search, they discover that Alice's problems with her co-workers went beyond the professional and that tensions ran as deep and wide as the wilderness she's lost in. Harper's crackerjack plotting propels the story, splitting the narrative between Alice and her BaileyTennants co-workers navigating the team-building exerciseand their own secretsin the days leading up to her disappearance and Falk and Cooper's look into the untoward financial doings of the company's CEO, Daniel Bailey. Harper layers her story with hidden depths, expertly mining the distrust between Alice and her four colleagues, and the secrets that simmer under the surface.Lacks some of the scorching momentum of Harper's first book but is nonetheless a spooky, compelling read. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.