The Lost Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Utterly fantastic. The isolated setting, the buried family secrets and trauma, and the protagonist's lingering regrets all make for an explosive mystery.
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Jane Harper’s descriptions of the Australian outback drew me into the setting to the point where I could feel the heat, the grit and the lonely, heartbreaking solitude. Adding to that a multitude of intergenerational family secrets slowly revealed makes Harper’s latest is a homerun in the suspense genre. 

Many thanks to Netgalley, Flatiron Books and Jane Harper for my complimentary e-copy ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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The Lost Man is another book that was on my most anticipated reading list for 2019.  This is not a part of the Aaron Falk series. The book opens as Nathan and his brother Bub are standing over their dead brother Cameron.  Neither brother understands why Cameron would be out in the outback desert  in the intense heat without water.  It looks like a suicide.  The story is told through Nathan's perspective as he tries to navigate the mystery of what happened to Cameron.   

I'll be honest, I had my reservations about the book when I first started it. The story was a little slow in the beginning.  But as we learn more and more about the family and their secrets, the book does pick up.  It's a slow burn family drama with a mystery.  I definitely didn't figure it out in the end.  In fact, I was totally floored by the solution.  I ended up loving the book.

I enjoyed the characters as well as the family dynamic.  Like most families, there are a lot of secrets and regrets buried.  I also enjoyed the setting.  I've never been to the Australian Outback, but the author did a wonderful job of conveying the intense heat and starkness of the landscape to the reader.  

Jane Harper is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine.  If you haven't tried one of her books yet, I highly recommend any of them.  I hope that she isn't done with Aaron Falk.  I would love to read another book featuring him.
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Well this book was a delightful surprise. The mystery and well timed revelations kept me constantly guessing. From the very beginning I found my self completely engrossed in Jane Harper's description of life in the outback. I would swear I could feel the absolute isolation as I read. The characters are written with such incredible depth and emotion. There is just so much to love about this book. The Lost Man is a novel to be savored.
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THE LOST MAN (Novel/Mys-Nathan Bright-Balmara, Australia-Contemp) - VG
	Harper, Jane - Standalone
	Flatiron Books, Feb 2019
First Sentence:	 From above, from a distance, the marks in the dust formed a tight circle.
	Every family has its secrets.  Bub Bright was to have met up with this brother Cam at Lehmann's Hill.  When he didn't find Cam the next morning, an alarm when out and a helicopter pilot spotted his body lying at the stockman's grave, having died of heat and dehydration.  Nathan Bright and his son Xander join Bub at the sight, eventually finding Cam's car in perfect condition, gas tanks full, and fully stocked with food and water. It's up to Nathan to learn what brought Cam to this deserted and desperate place to die.
	What a visual opening Harper has created on which she elaborates to impress upon one the desolation of the location—"The fence stretched a dozen kilometers east to a road and a few hundred west to the desert, where the horizon was so flat it seemed possible to detect the curvature of the earth."
	The characters are ones with whom one can identify, two of the best being Cam's daughters.  They are real, have problems and conflicts; abeit it a few more than many families, and histories.  Harper uses words in a way which can touch one's memories and emotions—"…she reached up and put her arms around Nathan, too.  He hugged her back.  The movement had the rusty edge of underuse."
	Harper does a very good job of weaving together the stories of each character with the others to form a tapestry showing the underlying currents.  This isn't an edge-of-the-seat action book, but it is one that is intense and compelling so that, end the end, the cloth can be unwoven to expose the weakness which caused the undoing of the family. 
	"The Lost Man" is a story of a family, it's secrets and the price which can be exacted.  In the end, it's a story of coming to peace.
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This was just incredible! It was my first Jane Harper read, and I am now kicking myself for not reading her books sooner!

This thriller is a slow-release and psychological build... impeccably paced, and full of gothic Australian outback imagery. The novel opens with a man found dead at a stockman’s grave in the outback - no signs of foul play so all signs lead to a troubled life taking its ultimate toll on the man. What follows is an introspective and reflective family narrative, with haunting flashbacks to specific incidents in the past that inform the direction that the man’s life took.

I was lucky enough to hear Jane on her US book tour speak about her writing process and inspiration for this book - the amount of research and work behind this meticulously developed thriller are so impressive! She went on a 900km road trip across the outback with a retired policeman, visited iconic Birdsville (land traditionally owned by the Wangkanguru People) and spoke to many residents to get the feel for her narrative just right. Can’t wait to read more from this deservedly celebrated Australian author!

I know many international readers follow my reviews, so if you’re looking for more Australian writers to check out in this genre I’d suggest Emma Viskic (Resurrection Bay), Chris Hammer (Scrublands) and for a nonfiction option definitely Helen Garner (she’s written many, but Joe Cinque’s Consolation is one I personally recommend).
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I really enjoyed The Dry by Jane Harper and was looking forward to this standalone, although I do like Aaron Falk. This story takes place in Australia again and Harper takes us there with her extremely atmospheric writing, so much so that I could literally picture everything she described and imagine the heat. This is the strongest part of the book In my opinion. Others have mentioned the very slow pace and I agree, this is a slow burn for sure. It was actually too slow for me as I found my interest waning the further into the story I got. I'm not sure it it was just too much side details, setting details, rambling dialogue but I really felt disinterested by the middle of the book. The focus was on the Bright family and their dynamics for much of the book and I expected the focus to be more on a mystery. Maybe this was a case of misplaced expectations for me, but I didn't connect with the characters and didn't care about the mystery by the end.
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There is no author out there who writes a slow burn as well as Jane Harper. While some may have thought deviating from beloved character, Aaron Falk, protagonist of her prior novels, was risky, I personally think it paid off spectacularly. Once again in the Australian outback, we find ourselves with brothers Nathan and Bub Bright as they come across their dead brother, Cameron. Harper offers us a lot of family history (and as a result, suspects) culminating in Cam’s death. When it seems everyone had motive and tensions run high, what they begin to uncover will change the life the Bright family has come to know. 

Thank you to Flatiron books for an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Jane Harper's two prior mysteries, so I was really excited to see this forthcoming publication listed at NetGalley.  I was surprised when I discovered that it was a stand-alone, although I believe the characters in this book are tangentially connected to the characters involved in the plot of her first book, The Dry.  Although I missed Police Investigator Aaron Falk for a little while, it did not take me long to get completely wrapped up in the difficulties faced by this new set of characters and appreciate how deftly Ms. Harper tells a story.  

Just as in Ms. Harper's prior books, the setting is integral to this story.  The Bright family works a huge cattle station in an area that I understood to be rather remote.  Hours of driving separate the residences, and the town is similarly far away.  This novel is a mystery, in that the action revolves around an unexplained death, but it also seems to be a study of human interaction in families and communities in an environment of isolation.  Reading this, I could almost feel the heat and the aridity and the loneliness that these characters experience.  As the book begins, we learn that the body of Cameron, golden middle brother of the Bright family, has been found out on the outback.  He seems to have walked away from his vehicle and died of dehydration.  His body is found near the grave of an anonymous stockman of local legend, which gives Cameron's death an extra level of mystery and just plain creepiness.  Did he do it intentionally?  If so, why?  Oldest brother Nathan is trying to find out the answer, but at the same time, we get the feeling that he is almost afraid to find out.  At the same time, we learn how things have gotten to this point in this family.  It's fascinating, and completely believable.  These characters are so well-conceived--there is not a single flat one-dimensional one here.

I heartily recommend this book.  It may be my favorite of Ms,. Harper's books to date.
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I’m a big fan of author Jane Harper’s previous two books and eagerly sought out this third, stand alone book.  THE LOST MAN shares features with the previous two, the setting in Australia’s remote hinterlands where long periods pass with few visitors and the locals are adept at causing all manner of pain and suffering on their own.  This book moves slowly, as though suffering from shock or trauma, the narrator just seems unable to pull things together enough to share what is happening around him.  It’s not clear that anyone, frankly, is any better suited to tell the tale of a man found dead in the middle of nowhere.  A nowhere he seemed well-prepared to have survived and one he had no business in, on that particular day.  Slowly, this book seems to follow a suicide mystery that morphs into a character study.  By the end of the book, the author has told a very different tale and readers will be quite surprised at how they arrived at that ending.  I know I was;  I have been thinking about the book for days now and admiring the skill of the author and her ability to craft such an exquisite novel.  This is a great book.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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There has been a lot of hype surrounding The Lost Man. I usually get nervous when a book has a lot of hype because I worry that I build it up too much in my mind and it doesn’t meet my expectations. That wasn’t the case with The Lost Man! It definitely lived up to the hype! 

The Lost Man is a slow build mystery that doesn’t skimp on the character development. It is also very atmospheric — the descriptions of the outback are amazing and garner an almost visceral reaction. The central mystery is also very well done. I had my suspicions on what happened, but I was wrong (which I love being wrong in mysteries)! I love how all the pieces came together in the end. I also loved the ending scene! 

I’m definitely going to be reading more of Jane Harper’s books in the future!
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This didn't lag for me for a second. The sense of place and characters are strong, the plot moves along great, the mystery is compelling and keeps you guessing throughout. I'm thoroughly impressed with this third novel from Jane Harper, and can't wait for more.
Deep in the desert of the Australian outback, Cameron Bright is found dead at an old grave, 8 kilometers from his working car, which is also full of water and food. He owns and works a large cattle ranch, which requires him to stay overnight and camp often in his vehicle, so what happened?
Cameron's family is compelling and complex. Thought this was a great mystery.
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4 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for a chance to read and review this Kindle ARC. Kindle publishes on Feb 5, 2019, previously published October 23, 2018.

How refreshing! Just a really nice novel with a general fiction story line. Set in Australia, in the very outback, with minimal characters and subtle plot surrounding a family. The novel speaks of love, relationships, heredity, loss and endurance. Of how things are handed down in a family, both by nature and by nurture, or the lack thereof. Somewhat of a mystery, somewhat of a love story, but definitely a well written novel.

Well written, as expected from Jane Harper, the author of the Aaron Falk series. Harper takes you right into the story and makes you a character, as she also does the landscape. You may not have a speaking part, but you are there nonetheless. Feeling the pain, the joy and confusion of each of her characters. She writes with a freshness that eludes a lot of authors, and a straightforwardness that gives you that immediate sense of belonging. And not surprising, is that you welcome the opportunity to be swept away in her imagination and brilliant storytelling.
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"The Lost Man" by Jane Harper, Flatiron Books, 352 pages, Feb. 5, 2019.

The three Bright brothers, Nathan, Cameron and Bub, own adjoining land in Queensland, Australia.

Cameron and Bub go from their ranches to fix a radio repeater mast. Bub arrives, but Cameron doesn't. After hours go by, a search is launched. A helicopter pilot finally spots Cameron's body. He apparently died of exposure. His four-wheel drive vehicle is found over five miles away, fully stocked with supplies. No one knows why Cameron didn't take water from his vehicle.

He and his wife, Iles, have two daughters, Sophie, 8, and Lo, 5. His mother, Liz, lives with them, along with Harry, a hired hand, who has been there many years. A couple of backpackers are currently working at Cameron's ranch.

Nathan is shunned in town because he didn't help his former father-in-law when he saw him stranded alongside the road. Nathan's teenage son, Xander, is visiting his dad on a break from school. The mystery behind Cameron's death is a dark family drama.

Jane Harper is the author of two other books, "The Dry" and "Force of Nature," which are part of a series. She evokes the landscape of the isolated country so well that you can feel the heat. She writes convincing characters, but the plot behind "The Lost Man" is too easy to figure out. 

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the story of three brothers - Nathan, Cameron, and Bub. These brothers are vastly different, but they all know one thing - you must always be prepared for the Australian elements. When Cameron is found dead one day, just a few km from his car (stocked full with water & food, as is the custom), questions are raised as to what actually happened. Was there an accident? Did he do this to himself? Or did the outback claim another victim?

Right off the bat, I knew that I would love this book because I love Jane Harper. Her writing is beautiful, and her descriptions of Australia are like nothing I've ever seen! That writing really drove this book. It made everything feel so lonely & isolated. There were moments where I had chills reading her descriptions, because I didn't really know how this would end - was there something evil out there? Or was the outback taking someone for its own? I really enjoyed this book, and sped through it. It is a stand alone, but it is well worth reading (just like her other books!).
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Slow, but worthwhile!

The Lost Man is a character study about the Bright brothers: Nathan, Cameron, and Bub who live in the Australian outback. When Cameron, whom the family considered to be “the golden child,” is found dead by the legendary stockman’s grave, everyone’s at a loss in the small outback community in which they live. Cameron was loved by all and seemed to have the perfect life and family. His death doesn’t make sense. His older brother Nathan tries to figure out what led to his brother’s death. Was it suicide? Murder? 

Nathan is the narrator. He is the oldest child and also the black sheep of the family. Having lived in near exile from the last 10 years, Nathan's relationship with Cam was on shaky ground towards the end. With his son Xander in tow, he begins to look for clues around the family farm trying to uncover the secrets behind the brother he barely knew. The Bright family is good at keeping secrets and pretending not to see what’s really going on. The three boys grew up in a tumultuous household and have been deeply impacted by the events of their childhood.

Even though The Lost Man is primarily about the Bright brothers, female characters play a pivotal role. While they might be dutifully standing by in the background, their power lies in observation and quiet intelligence. 

The Lost Man is extremely slow-paced. I started it twice before and wound up pushing it to the side for other books. This time, I picked it up and once again I struggled with the pacing. However, I forced myself to keep on reading and I am so thankful that I did! If you are not a fan of books that move at an extremely slow pace, then this book will probably not work for you. The pace does pick up as the novel progresses and more and tidbits are revealed about the fascinating Bright family. 

Harper’s writing makes this a worthwhile read. She transported me to the brutal conditions of the outback--I could feel the heat emanating from the pages. The characters are complex and compelling. The mystery behind Cam’s death is interesting, but the development of Nathan’s character takes center stage and held my interest. Overall, The Lost Man is a subtle, multilayered read filled with nuance and secrets that slowly unfold, leading to a startling conclusion. 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.
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This was my first book from Jane Harper and I am definitely going to pick up her other books as soon as possible! I had major goosebumps when I read that last page. I love it when a book affects me like that!

I really had no idea what I was going into with The Lost Man. I have seen lots of buzz about this author's previous books so when I had the chance to get an early copy of her newest book, I jumped at the chance.  I'm so glad I did!  Although this isn't my typical genre, it was nice to have a change of pace for once.  I loved it!

Nathan and Bub meet out at the Stockman's legendary gravesite where they see the body of their middle brother.  The story is told slowly, only giving up small tidbits here and there about Cam, the deceased brother.  Actually, it's about the entire family and the hard life of living in the Australian outback.  I read the majority of this book in one day because I had to know.  

*Thanks so much to NetGalley and FlatIron Books for the advance copy!*
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As good as Harper's two Aaron Falk mysteries are-- and they are-- The Lost Man blew me away. There are two main characters in this book: Nathan Bright and the Australian outback, and I don't know which one I enjoyed more. I felt the grit of the red dust between my teeth and the sun leeching all the moisture from my body as I read. Distances are almost at the edge of incredulity in this place. The nearest large city is over 900 miles away. The two brothers, Nathan and Cameron, have adjoining cattle ranches, and it's a three-hour drive between their houses. Schooling is done online via a slow internet connection. Every white person has skin cancer to some degree. Detail by detail woven seamlessly into the narrative, the outback looms large.

But so does Nathan Bright because we see the story through his eyes. Nathan lives "beyond the Pale," having committed an error for which no one living in that harsh environment will forgive him. Divorced, the one good thing in his life is his son, Xander, who lives in Brisbane with his mother. When something doesn't make sense to Nathan, he can't leave it alone. And his brother, dying of exposure when his truck was in perfect working order and filled with water and food, well-- that just doesn't make sense.

We get to know the other members of the Bright family as Nathan works to answer his questions, and we learn that they are all damaged in some way. The power of Harper's storytelling meant that I was pulled along like a leaf caught in the current of a river, enjoying the words and the spell they wove too much to try to do any detective work of my own. Love and hate predominate not only the outback itself but the relationships between the members of this family. A nanosecond before the reveal occurred, everything fell into place for me: each character's behavior, the tiniest of clues planted throughout the narrative, and I was left a bit stunned. And I was also left wondering, out of all the men in this book, which one was truly The Lost Man? It's a question I'm still pondering.

This is powerful storytelling that should not be missed.
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This hard to put down book is a powerful story of life in an unforgiving environment. Great character development and intense sense of place.
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I’ve read and enjoyed Jane Harpers other books and this one also lived up to the hype. Set in the outback of Australia, this mystery about a brother found dead also has family drama and a lot of heart. I love how Jane Harper made the harsh elements of the outback come to life. I was able to really envision the outback and the challenges that come with living in such a difficult climate. I’m a Jane Harper fan and can’t wait to see what she does next!
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