Force of Nature

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

From the review at Reviewing the Evidence: "Once again, Harper makes the landscape a significant player in the unfolding story. Unlike the drought-blistered farmland of THE DRY, this place is hilly, damp, cold, and bewildering. It's impossible to keep your bearings in this claustrophobic wilderness where the map doesn't show all the paths and the lowering clouds make it hard to tell directions. Once you're in those woods, you can't be sure you'll get out. The ratcheting tension among the women is beautifully maintained as we put together the pieces with those searching for Alice. Though very different in mood and temperature from her first novel, FORCE OF NATURE is another compelling read."
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Hold on Jane Harper fans...you're in for another wild ride!  Thank you Net Galley for a copy in exchange for my honest review. Full disclosure, I have not read The Dry (first in this series) but enjoyed Force of Nature as a stand alone story.  The small hints of the previous book have me curious enough that I will definitely be reading it.
Aaron Falk appears once more, investigating a missing person who he already has a complex relationship with.  A corporate retreat veers into dangerous territory as the group hikes within the  Giralong Ranges outside of Melbourne. This thriller is nearly impossible to describe without spoilers, but the framework is masterful, and the pace speeds along until the very last page.
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A riveting, meticulous, suspenseful follow up to Harper's award winning debut novel, The Dry!  It's never easy for a sophomore book to live up the hype and anticipation of readers when the first one was such an astounding success.  The temptation is great to compare them and expectations are always high for the second novel to be as good or even better than the first.  Like other readers, I couldn't wait to see what Harper would do with book 2 and where she would take Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk.  While The Dry remains my favorite of the two, I quickly found myself totally engrossed in Force of Nature and with heart racing, I read nonstop until I reached the end.

In Force of Nature, five women strike out on an office team-building hike through the rainy, cold, and deadly Giralang Ranges of Australia.  Readers soon sense a strong undercurrent of animosity among them, and by the time they finally stumble back out into civilization, there are only four women remaining.  The mystery of what happened on the dangerous trek plays out in "real" time as the story alternates between the hour by hour agonizing, seemingly doomed trek of the women and the current search by authorities, including Falk & his new partner.  Readers should do themselves a favor and avoid any and all spoilers.  Dive into the book unaware of what's to come - just as these women were unaware of the perils and challenges they would face before all was said and done.

As in The Dry, the setting plays the part of a character in Force of Nature and is a relentless, ongoing threat to the women's survival.  Harper writes in beautifully vivid, descriptive detail and the results lands readers right in the heart of the potentially deadly forces doled out by an unforgiving mother nature.  As the story unfolds, the tension escalates and fear and panic serve to uncover the uglier side of human nature (masterfully portrayed by Harper), revealing several secret unknowns to readers.  As sure as the gray skies and incessant rain, a feeling of impending doom descends setting an ominous tone early that escalates all the way through to the heart-pounding end.  Jane Harper brilliantly delivers another stunning novel that I found as addictive and seductive as the first!  A Page Burner!  A Must Read!
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Force Of Nature is just that. A force to be reckoned with.  Jane Harper is a terrific, talented, and gifted storyteller.  I did not want this great story to end.  I was completely absorbed and overtaken by the misadventures and troubles produced by a simple hike in the outback and its ramifications for all involved. I could not wait to turn the page.  When it ended, all I could think of was when Ms. Harper was going to write another outstanding novel.

Force Of Nature is the second installment in the Aaron Falk series.  He is a Financial Crimes federal police officer in Australia.  I enjoyed the slight but nuanced cultural differences between the United States and Australia.  This added color, character and texture to what is already a great series not to be missed.
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Harper has written another terrific novel in her Aaron Falk series. Twists and turns round every corner. I really like that the beautiful Australian landscapes play such an important role in these... shes like her own character. Looking forward to more adventures with Mr Falk.
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Nicely plotted book.  Interesting storyline.  Save plenty of time for one sitting reading.  Hard to put down.
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So excited to find an excellent new suspense author, Jane Harper.  Force of Nature is her second novel, the first was The Dry.  I found myself truly enjoying both novels.  Agent Aaron Falk is a main character in both novels and both are set in Harper's home country, Australia.  In Force of Nature, Agent Aaron Falk is called in on a missing person case.  He is a Federal Police Agent who is usually not called into this kind of case but the missing women, Alice Russell, is doing undercover work for him regarding her company.  Alice is on a company retreat, camping in the Australian wilderness.  She is with 4 other women employees who get lost in the unforgiving wilderness. Throw in a mass murders old cabin and things take a turn for the worse.  Each women has personal issues that they bring into the mix causing bickering and much worse as 4 of the women walk out of the wilderness without Alice. What happened to Alice Russell? No one seems to know the answer!   The search for Alice goes on with many twists and red herrings to an unexpected conclusion which kept me guessing. I can hardly wait for the next installment.
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While I did like the dry better this one is good too.  She just can wear you out with the environment descriptions when I think more slanted to the HUMANS would be better.  Still, the premise is good and is a nice change of pace in the mystery category.
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I apologize but I just couldn’t get into this book. I’m not sure if is the setting, the subject matter or what but it failed to hold my attention.
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Jane Harper’s first novel “The Dry” was one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time.  And her new novel “Force of Nature” is equally as good. Five women depart on a corporate team building exercise in the Australian wilderness and become lost without food, water or adequate shelter. Eventually four of the women are found, but there is no trace of the fifth. As the story switches between the disastrous team adventure and the background of the five women, the tension and sense of menace continually ratchets up. The descriptions of the harsh and claustrophobic wilderness were so striking that I almost felt like I was lost and desperate for rescue in the cold, rain, and isolation. 

“Force of Nature” is meticulously plotted and the crime investigation was riveting. Through Harper’s brilliant character development, one feels that the characters are people you might have met or know. Their histories, secrets, and how family dynamics influence their behavior are carefully revealed and add a depth and richness missing from a lot of crime fiction. I consider Harper’s writing top-tier literary crime fiction, right up there with James Lee Burke, Tana French, and a handful of other authors.  So read “Force of Nature” for the crime investigation, the fascinating and complex characters, the evocative descriptions of the Australian wilderness, but make sure you read it!

My review was posted on Goodreads on 2/6/18
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The employees of BaileyTennants have their backpacks, compasses, and hiking boots ready--they are setting out on an adventure for the purposes of team building. With very few of the participants having experience in the bushland, most are reluctant, but (for the most part) keeping an open-mind. The men's group sets off down one trail and the women's group sets off down another, voyaging into a four-day journey of teamwork and bonding...

However, when only four of the five BaileyTennants women emerge from the trail, distraught, exhausted, and covered in injuries, a search team is called in. Alice Russel is missing and the team has very little information to lead them. They know where she was last seen and they have a recording from her last received phone call--a phone call that was made to Aaron Falk in the early hours of the morning. A phone call that concluded with the muffled words "-hurt her". 

With a morbid history lurking in the wilderness, speculative theories, vicious grudges, and dirty secrets--The Force of Nature leads readers down a path of suspense that intertwines both the present and the past, while weaving the lives and secrets of each of the women into a web of mystery. 

This novel was so intense and so enjoyable!!! I read this as a 'buddy read' of sorts with my husband and we really enjoyed talking through our theories and speculations. While we did manage to dance around the outskirts of some of the outcome with our theories, neither of us completely guessed the surprising conclusion. Honestly--I was really sad for this novel to end and I'm sure it will be one I reach for the reread at some point in time.

The characters in the novel were so very realistic and I felt that Harper did a great job of exposing us to just enough of each of the characters to make them both likable and unlikable at the same time (trust me.. it makes sense!). The only woman that you do not get alternating POV chapters from is Alice (you'll get a taste from her perspective in due time, but not until the latter half of the novel). Harper shapes Alice into such a bitter and manipulative character that, as a reader, it's hard not to be speculative of every single other person as being involved in her disappearance. 

One of the things that I loved about this novel was Jane Harper's brilliance with the structure of her writing. As the plot edges toward the climax of the action, the chapters become progressively shorter in length and higher in action. If you thought that you were ferociously page-turning in the first half of the novel... just wait.. You will turn into a turbo-drive page flipper as you unravel the conclusion of this investigation. 

I 100% recommend this novel. I am a huge fan of crime thrillers.. It is my 'go-to' genre.. and Force of Nature reminded me why I love this type of novel. It encompasses everything that makes a solid, page-turning, thriller about an enticing investigation.



**I would really like to note that if you have not read The Dry, Jane Harper's first novel that also stars Aaron Falk, you can totally go ahead and read Force of Nature if you wish. I sought out this information, since I have not read the first installment, from a couple trusted reviewer friends and they assured me that, although there are very minor mentioning of the first novel, there isn't a lot of cross over that would serve as spoiler material. Needless to say.. you can best bet that I will be reading The Dry very, very soon! I am definitely a Jane Harper fan now.



Thank you to Jane Harper, Flatiron Books, and NetGalley for providing me with a advanced DRC of this title in exchange for an honest review!
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I have been waiting for this book and so glad to get to read it because I knew I would buy it also but nice to be able to get it early!!  I always enjoy outside books and this was just that blend of great mystery with all being pretty much outside.  It keeps you wondering who the killer is and how did she die. I enjoyed it alot but I did like her first book more but still this one was well worth the read. Try her first book out first is my advice. Looking forward to the next one too!
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I finished The Dry last week and immediately went to request Force of Nature.  This is going to be a series that I hope to keep up with for a long time.  The second book in the Aaron Falk series is even better than the first, featuring a solid mystery with a distinct cast of characters that kept me guessing until the end.  I have never been to Australia, but with Harper's writing I felt lost in the bushland alongside these five women, struggling to survive.  Unfortunately, one of them doesn't make it out alive and the why & how were cleverly disguised until the ending.  While this is more of a slow read and not overly suspenseful, it unfolds at exactly the right pace, with just enough fear, especially from the terrain, to keep the reader on edge. These novels are recommended for anyone who likes light crime fiction, mysteries, and atmospheric thrillers. Eagerly awaiting book #3.
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Force of Nature was a fantastic now. Jane Harper is one of my new favorites after reading The Dry and now this new novel - her writing is flawless, the storylines are compelling and believable and her characters are engaging and authentic. Force of Nature brings back Federal Agent Aaron Falk working with a new partner, Carmen Cooper, on a challenging new case. Alice Russell, a contact the Falk & Cooper are using in a financial investigation, goes missing on a company team building adventure. The other women and men on the retreat return but Alice is nowhere to be found. The story is told in both present day related to Falk's investigation and in flashbacks to the retreat as the mystery Alice's fate is uncovered. One of the best things about Harper's books is the multidimensional characters that she creates - each has a backstory and well developed identity that contributes to the story as a whole. This also makes understanding the actions and reactions of all of those involved in Alice's disappearance that much more thrilling and the outcome that much more unexpected.
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Very well written book that keeps the reader on edge.  It's not who you think did it or why it happened.
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Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

A corporate retreat meant to exercise team-building skills and personal development goes sideways in a hurry.  Five ladies strap on their backpacks and trudge into the cold and muddy terrain of the Australian outback.  They are a motley crew made up of senior staff members, a data clerk, an office assistant administrative coordinator (Ahem!  Office-speak, gotta get it right!), etc.  Ongoing grudges and underlying resentments roil just beneath the surface.  One of these women will not be returning with the others at trail's end.

The parallels that run throughout this novel are right on the money.  An easy read and decent mystery, with just a wee peep at the not-so-pretty underpinnings of the corporate world.
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FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper is her second Aaron Falk mystery, primarily set in a rural, backwoods area a few hours from Melbourne, Australia. There, Executive Adventures has organized a nature survival experience for several corporate employees. The mystery? Five women begin the hike and only four, injured and late, arrive at the rendezvous point a few days later. Harper does an excellent job of building suspense and a feeling of very grave danger. Her story is complex – involving past kidnappings and a serial killer in the area, corporate misdeeds and financial secrets, and family dynamics. Using flashbacks, she gradually reveals the events that occurred when the women (Jill, twins Bree and Beth, Lauren and Alice) were in the wild. Those are interspersed with the ongoing investigation of Falk, his partner and local law enforcement. Although scary and unnerving at times, I found myself looking forward to reading FORCE OF NATURE and finished it in just a day or two. This title received a starred review from Booklist and I highly recommended it. Look also for The Dry which is Harper’s much-acclaimed previous bestseller and the first in this series.
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Jane Harper for the opportunity to read and review this book - amazing!  I'm so sad that I didn't read the first in this series - The Dry - I'm definitely going back to read it now!  However, you don't have to have read that book to get every bit of enjoyment you can out of Force of Nature.  It's definitely a stand-alone book on its own merit.

5 women and 5 women go on a corporate retreat to the wilds of Australia for 5 days.  At the end of the time period, all of the men are awaiting the women's return.  Hours later, only 4 women emerge from the woods.  Each of the survivors tells their version of events but are they being truthful?  What really happened while they were lost in the woods?  

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, along with his partner Carmen, are called in to help investigate the woman's disappearance.  Could it have anything to do with a case they are working on that one of the women was helping with?  

The story is told in alternating time periods - the current investigation and the 5 days of the women's adventure into the wilderness.  This was so effective because we see the tension between the women and learn parts of each of their stories at the same time that the investigation is looking into these women.

Highly recommended - a great read that I couldn't put down.  I can't wait for the next one in this series - bravo!
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Five Australian women head into the wilderness of the fictional Giralong Ranges on a corporate retreat; only four return after being lost and disoriented. Federal Agents Aaron Falk and Carmen Cooper join in on the search for the missing woman because she was to supply them with insider information for an ongoing investigation of the women's firm.  Added to the danger is the fact that Giralong Ranges was the past locale of a serial killer whose son might still be on the loose. 

The action moves back and forth between the retelling of what occurred on the hike and the search. The backgrounds and complex interrelationships among the five women are revealed, as well as insight into the character of Falk.  

Harper is an excellent storyteller, revealing one layer at a time. She is evocative in her depiction of the harsh desolation and danger of the back country.  The suspense builds, the resolution not so obvious.   

This is the second in a series about Aaron Falk. I did not read the first one, but don’t feel that took away from my enjoyment of this page turner.  I recommend it.
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