Force of Nature

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

No sophomore slump here! This was a fast paced book that keeps you guessing! I loved it.
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Thank you, Netgalley, for this arc.

Still just an "okay" mystery, bordering on the "alright" ... I couldn't help but expect more from the author and her second Aaron Falk book. However, I'm intrigued by Aaron and how layers keep unfolding and unfolding back and in this novel we learned more about his relationship with his dad. There are, of course, allusions to the previous mystery, "The Dry," but "Force of Nature" works well as a standalone.
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Five women go on a hike for a corporate retreat in the Australian bush but only four return. The story shifts between the search for the lost woman and the challenges the group of women faced during their ordeal. Incredibly descriptive and well written, I felt the frustration of the searchers and the despair of the women while they fought for their lives in the rugged terrain. Jane Harper's vivid portrayal of how quickly people revert to their more primal instincts when their lives are on the line is riveting and truthful. I found it very hard to put this book down!
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4.5 stars.

 Force of Nature is a perplexing mystery about a woman who disappears during a corporate team-building exercise in the Australian bushland.  This second installment in the Aaron Falk series is a sharp contrast to the first novel, The Dry, but this newest release from Jane Harper is equally compelling.

 Jill and Daniel Bailey, siblings and co-owners of the BaileyTennants Accounting firm, are among the group of employees who are on a team-building adventure in the Giralong Ranges. At the end of the retreat, all of the men safely return, but one of the women, Alice Russell, is missing after their group becomes lost during the hike. The police have a rather garbled account of what occurred between Alice, her assistant, Breanna “Bree” McKenzie, Bree’s sister Beth, Lauren Shaw and Jill.

 Federal Police Agents Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen Cooper become involved in the search for Alice because she is surreptitiously providing evidence in a case they are building against BaileyTennants. The morning of her disappearance, Alice left a voice message on Aaron’s phone, but due to poor cell reception he could only make out a small portion of what she said. With horrendous rain and the rugged terrain hindering their search, fears quickly grow that their quest to find Alice might end in tragedy.

 Jill is the chairwoman of the company and she is reluctantly part of the excursion at the behest of Daniel.  She is horribly out of shape and not a fan of their wilderness endeavor. Both Alice and Lauren have experience with hiking but their longstanding, somewhat dark history often pits them against one another as they try to decide how to proceed after they go off track. Beth and Bree might be sisters but their once close relationship fractured after Beth’s life wildly deviated from her sister’s successful climb up the corporate ladder.  All of the women’s complex relationships come into play as they fight for survival during their horrific experience in the bushland.

 Aaron and Carmen are only a very small part of the ongoing investigation into BaileyTennants’ business practices and they can only guess what charges will be eventually be brought against the company. What they do know is the inquiry is at a crucial juncture and they are in desperate need of the documents that Alice was about to turn over to them. Unsure of whether or not her disappearance has anything to do with their investigation, Carmen and Aaron arrive at Giralong Ranges hoping the other members of the retreat can provide answers for what went wrong during the hike. However, they quickly deduce that the women might not be as forthcoming as they could be, but what exactly are they hiding from the investigators?

 The first puzzling bit of information that Aaron and Carmen learn is Daniel was unexpectedly detained before he, Jill and their employees were to depart for Giralong Ranges.  They also discover that Daniel sought out Alice the first night of the hike after the women made camp. No one knows what they discussed but all of the women admit Alice was not quite herself the next morning. They quickly glean the women’s tempers flared at different times throughout the second day and after the women are hopelessly lost, Alice further antagonized the party with her highhanded, know it all attitude. Although the women eventually find shelter, they continue to bicker and disagree about whether or not they should wait for a rescue team to find them or continue trying to find their back to the rendezvous point.

 Written from alternating points of view, Force of Nature is an intricately plotted mystery that is quite riveting. Unexpected rivalries, jealousy, unanticipated rifts and shocking resentment all contribute to what happen to the women during their attempts to find their way the designated meeting point.  Aaron and Carmen might not be officially assigned to the search, but Aaron is instrumental in putting together the pieces of what happened to Alice.  One of Jane Harper’s strengths as an author is her ability to bring the setting vibrantly to life and the location and weather conditions are vital elements of the unfolding story. This newest addition to the Aaron Falk series is a complex and multi-dimensional mystery that fans of the genre are going to LOVE.
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This is billed as a psychological suspense novel, but I think it is more of a character study with suspense as a side dish. It's also second in a series about Detective Aaron Falk. Falk is a likable character, and clearly underwent some trauma in Book 1 (I have not read it and intend to). He is called in to investigate the disappearance of a woman during a corporate retreat at an Australian park. The retreat consisted of several days of hiking and camping, team building, etc. We slowly learn about the other women and get their different points of view as the story is told by shifting back and forth between the past events leading up to the disappearance of Alice and the present day investigation. I enjoyed the somewhat slow pace of the reveal, as it allowed me to get to know the characters, and it becomes clear fairly quickly that these colleagues are not also friends.

I found the details of the ending surprising and satisfying. This is a book that reminds you that everyone has secrets, everyone has life struggles you know nothing about, and it also makes you think about how well you know the people who you see at work every day. Great character building.
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I LOVED The Dry last year, and this is another well-written, multilayered mystery from Harper. There were many ways the story could have gone, and I did not predict the ending.
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Harper does it again with a twisty, compelling story which skyrockets out of category.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Five women go into the Gilagang national forest on a team building retreat but only four come out. What happened? Australian federal agent Aaron Faulk needs to find out because the missing woman was his informant. 

Hard to put this one down.
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A thriller that engulfs relationships between family, friends, colleagues; while examining the trust needed to ensure that grudges & lack of forgiveness don't erode it all away.
Friends for life with Girls Night Out right however in this case we have two groups(male v female coworkers from Bailey Tennant aka Boutique Accounting Firm) going for a corporate retreat or more like a long hike in the vast remote wilderness known as the Giralang Ranges. Five go in but one never comes out with each telling a different version of what happened .
It's up to Federal Agent Aaron Falk to dig deep into the betrayal , lies, jealousies to uncover the truth. Was it really murder and if so why? That mountain range is full of secrets and perhaps just perhaps they will finally be unearthed .
Nothing but nature awaits well that along with danger lurking around every corner. But don't let the paranoia set in just yet as we have so much to discuss.
Jane Harper is a skilled writer as we can clearly tell because you truly cannot put this one down.
Alice Russell is the main character who goes missing on this adventure along with her coworkers and friends Breanna and Bethany who are two twin sisters plus Jill Bailey and Daniel who are brother and sister. 
Alice asked twice to cancel as she was concerned about her daughter and also the fact she noted was ill from day one but the group refused as to do so would result in cancellation of everyone's plans.
So as they found their way through the rugged terrain bickering turns into fighting. Everyone is on edge and rightfully so as they experience hypothermia like conditions complete with rationing of food and sharing of all supplies things become heated rather quickly.
Having to use a compass and follow orders and commands leads to trouble as they wind up lost with  no outside connection to even make a call out for help nor enough battery to keep it juiced up.
One thing not fully discussed prior to this adventure was the fact that Martin Kovac was serving life sentence for killing 3 women with one never located  in the very location they were planning to visit. 
We also must examine these so called 'contracts' and the shady dealings of this family business as that too may be a motive.
To add to the drama was the fact these women were in the fight of their lives with a race against time. 
Four days elapse as they wonder will they be found? How will they survive the elements? Would a search party come looking for them? 
Well, "never underestimate how far you'd go for your child" that's all I'm saying.
Like mother like daughter and like father like son. That apple never falls too far from that tree. 
Normally if someone tells me my kids are just like me I take it as a compliment but in this case it's more like a 'zinger' to get back for all those god awful high school years in which one person felt treated unfairly and bullied by another.
With social media being what's today it's not hard to get into trouble if you're not careful . After all what you put out there is viewed by the world to see. So parents, tell your kids not to put anything out there they wouldn't want anyone else to see.
For instance many women find themselves in compromising situations with sexually explicit pics that were meant for only a mate or lover but wind up being shared without their knowledge to friends who share to the world online.
Without giving too much away I'll just say this was spectacular in every way you can imagine. The setting combined with an all star cast of characters coupled with strategically crafted pacing for a strong plot created major excitement for readers of all ages.
Highly recommend Force of Nature by Jane Harper.
Thank you to Jane Harper, MacMillan , NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC e-read available for preorder Feb 6th 2018.
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I really enjoyed Jane Harpers debut mystery, The Dry, and have selected it for an upcoming book discussion. I was excited to see a new novel by this adept writer, also set in Australia and featuring Aaron Faulk. While the story was interesting, the novel did not have the same atmospheric tension and character development of Harper’s first novel. I found the story line and conclusion a bit predictable and there wasn’t much additional insight into Faulks character in this one. The hint of attraction between him and his partner was frankly far too predictable. I felt the women on the hiking trip were not well developed characters and didn’t really care about any of them, or the daughters. Hopefully this is just sophomore slump and Harper gets her groove back next go around.
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I really loved this book...finished it last night and this morning I have separation anxiety!
Excellent writing with great character development and story. I HIGHLY recommend it.
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Jane Harper is SOLID. Her first book, The Dry, was a memorable, well-crafted mystery. Force of Nature, her second book, also featuring Australian federal agent Aaron Falk, stands on its own as another excellent mystery. 
One of the things that the author really excels at is creating atmosphere. Force of Nature takes place largely in rural Australia, and the sense of isolation and danger present in this area is palpable. The tension simmers throughout this book, and the author dives deep into group and individual mentalities when faced with great and potentially life-threatening challenges. There are a great deal of characters in this book, and the author did a fairly good job developing each of them well enough that readers can get a sense of the challenges between their personalities and experiences. Additionally, we get a little more development for Aaron Falk throughout this story. 
I read quite a few mysteries and thrillers, and I find it somewhat rare these days for a story to truly surprise me without it feeling manipulative. I feel that after the big reveal, I should be able to think back through the story and recognize that it was within character and plausibility for the act to have been committed in the way described. Force of Nature did this perfectly- I realized what happened alongside Falk and Carmen, and the pieces clicked together just right. The story and the ending were very well done, and there was no "sophomore slump" with this book. 

While there are some references to the events of The Dry in this book, theoretically this one could probably be read as a standalone. However, the reading experience will likely be enhanced by reading these books in the order written.
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*3.5 stars

I loved THE DRY and was very excited to read this next installment continuing the investigations of Federal Agent Aaron Falk. While FORCE OF NATURE does not quite possess as compelling of a storyline as the first book, it is nicely paced and has interesting, well-drawn characters. I loved Harper's technique of switching the chapters between past and present, with shorter chapters leading up to the climax that helped to build the excitement and tension. There was a nice twist towards the end that I appreciated as well. Overall, a very enjoyable read that I devoured in two sittings. 

Thank you Netgalley to an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Forces of Nature took the Aaron Falk series up a notch! Ten people go on a bonding retreat through work, five women and five men. The men complete the hiking course...but only four women come out of the bush. Aaron Falk and his partner are drawn into the search. The missing woman was helping them and now their investigation is at stake. A serial killers child is responsible...or someone else? The answer may surprise you.

This novel can stand alone, but it did help me to read "The Dry" previous to reading "Force of Nature." It gave me insight into Aaron Falk's character.
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I really like books about survival and getting lost in the woods, so the premise of this one hooked me:

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

I was immediately intrigued from the first page and didn’t want to stop reading until I knew what happened in the wilderness!

Force of Nature by Jane Harper is the second book of the Aaron Falk series. I need to go back and read the first book, The Dry. I downloaded it after loving Force of Nature!

I was guessing all the way through at what on earth happened out there with the women. What a fantastic premise and so well written. I rarely give books five stars but I couldn’t give any less after being so intrigued with the women and the truth of how things went down in the woods.
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I really enjoyed Jane Harper's first book (The Dry)   and was eager to read this when the Advanced Reader Copy became available.  I found this title just as enjoyable and just as much of a page turner as the first book about Aaron Falk, a financial crimes police investigator from Australia).  He is in a different remote part of the country in this title, after a witness assisting the police investigation of a money laundering firm goes missing on a company retreat.  She and four coworkers fail to return on time from a 3 night hike in the bush.  When her co-workers return a few hours late, they seem shocked that Alice did not preceed them to the meet up point.  The novel alternates chapters of the invesetigation and search for her with the narrative of their time on the hike, and successfully keeps the tension and mystery mounting throughout.  

Highly recommend for fans of a well crafted murder mystery and novels of suspence.  With thanks to the author, Jane Harper, and the publisher Flatiron Books, for the Advanced Reader copy via www.netgalley.com
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4.5 stars! I loved The Dry, and I was delighted that there would be a second book about Aaron Falk. While I don't care that much about his character, I love that Harper continues with the atmospheric mysteries set in the Australian bush and outback, an environment that feels so excitingly different and exotic to me. The scenery comes alive in Harper's books, and I hope she will take us on more adventures down under.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jane Harper, and Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After devouring Jane Harper’s debut novel, I could not wait to get my hands on this sequel, which pulls Aaron Falk back into the mix. A member of the Australian Federal Police’s Finance Division, Aaron Falk is knee-deep in a case that could have many important implications. One of his sources calls him in the middle of the night and leaves a garbled voicemail, with ‘hurt her’ as the only decipherable message. It is then that Falk realises that his source, Alice Russell, has been on a team-building weekend, hiking in the Giralang Ranges outside of Melbourne. Her group, five women from the company, did not arrive for their pick-up and it was only six hours later that they emerged from the wilderness, tattered and torn, without Alice. Calling on his partner, Falk rushes to the scene and agrees to help the state police with the search, learning a little more about Alice as things progress. With no clues leading to Alice, many remember what gave the Ranges their infamous notoriety, having been the location a serial killer picked his victims, all but one of whom was discovered at some point. Two decades later, Falk wonders if there is something in the forested area who seeks to copycat that horrendous experience. However, the more he digs, the greater the information trove about Alice and her relationship with the others on the trek. Each person tells a different story about the weekend and their connection to Alice, which provides many with a reason to see her silenced. With a parallel ‘slow narrative’ of events during the trek itself, the reader can not only see the investigation as it progresses, but also the strains that befell those five women as they tried to work themselves out of many awkward situations with little but their guts to lead them. Harper has shown that she can create multiple novels of a high caliber as she delivers yet again. Fans of Aaron Falk are privy to more of his development, in a novel that proves vastly different from the debut thriller. Well-worth the time for those love a good thriller and who were highly impressed with The Dry.

While it is always easy to create a single masterpiece, it is the ability to remain at such a high standard that makes an author truly captivating. Harper has done just that, turning both the narrative and the format on its head from the opening novel. Aaron Falk’s backstory is less sketched out in this piece, but there are crumbs to give the curious reader a little more to add. It is the likes of ‘the five’ and how they pieced themselves together that proves brilliant. Harper not only sketches out a solid character for each of them, but builds on it by weaving their stories together with Alice Russell, all while keeping events that occurred in the forest a secret until the very end. Harper pulls the reader in to guess who might be responsible for the missing Alice, while arming all four with viable reasons. The story itself is wonderfully developed, positioning a current investigation alongside the events leading up to Alice’s disappearance inside the Giralang Ranges. What secrets does Alice possess and how can they unravel over the span of four days before someone takes action? Harper pushes the reader forward in such a way that they cannot help but want to learn more, forcing them to stay up late into the night just to piece things together. It is one of those novels, which is sure to prove useful when it hits book stands in early 2018. Harper has much to offer the genre and those who pay her mind will surely not be disappointed in the investment.

Kudos, Madam Harper, for this stunning follow-up piece. I know I will be keeping an eye open for your work in the years to come.
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Five women on a corporate team building exercise head out into the Aussie bush. Only four come back. Alice Russell didn't make it out of the wilderness of the Giralang Range. Force of Nature by Jane Harper leads us on an expedition of our own to discover how a corporate retreat went horribly wrong and what happened to Alice.
Federal agent Aaron Falk of the  Melbourne Financial Investigations Unit along with his colleague, Carmen Cooper, investigate corruption and money laundering within the private company, Bailey Tennants. Alice Russell, positioned to be privy to the company's rotten dealings, disappears during a corporate team building retreat. Falk is alarmed, because he received a message from Alice immediately before her disappearance containing words implying she may have been in danger from the company executives. Add to this the facts that Falk's superiors are demanding retrieval of contracts in Alice's possession that might expose Bailey Tennants, and Alice's disappearance occurred in the area of a serial killer's stomping grounds, and Falk and Cooper are thrown into a race against time where they must sort out the many snags of the case while each day spells less hope for Alice's safe recovery. Force of Nature follows Falk and Cooper's efforts to recover Alice while simultaneously replaying the events of the retreat gone wrong. 
Harper develops a vivid setting of the rugged Australian bush in the Giralang mountain range. She delves into the psychological makeups of the characters that launches the story with the reader's sympathy for Alice, only to morph those sympathies into suspicions about Alice's cutting personality and her companions' disagreements, rivalries, and hatreds that may have led to violence and even murder. With echoes of Backcountry's story, Harper weaves a realistic tale of the characters' psychological vulnerabilities that kept me wanting to find out if a killer out in the woods, dark corporate motives, or her co-workers' resentments resulted in Alice's disappearance.
What I enjoyed most about Force of Nature was Harper's insightful handling of human psychological idiosyncracies which convey how the characters' mental footings could fracture within days of becoming lost in the woods. If you like in-depth character development and a plot on a running out timer, you'll love Force of Nature.
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Five women from the same company go on a team building event in Australia’s Giralang Ranges. It is basically a multi-night backpacking expedition with supply and food caches left for them along the way. But something goes terribly wrong and the women don’t show up at the end of the trail when they’re supposed to. When they do show up many hours later there are only four of them and they are in rough shape.

As the search for Alice - the fifth woman – begins Federal Agent Aaron Falk gets involved. He and his partner Carmen interview the four women and try to figure out what happened. Alternating chapters go back to tell the story of the women’s time in the wilderness and what happened while they were out there. It quickly becomes apparent that Alice was not a very likable person and not everything is as it seems.

This was a very suspenseful and well-written book. The alternative chapters made me want to keep turning the pages to see what happened. I very much enjoyed Jane Harper’s first book and this one was just as good. Looking forward to more from this author!
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