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The Lost Man

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Nathan Bright lives a life few would envy.  He ranches on a spread in the Australian Outback, a sparse, brutal environment where temperatures over one hundred are common and droughts are followed by floods that can cut him off from civilization for weeks.  Not that being cut off is much different for Nathan.  He has been ostracized by the surrounding farms and village for more than a decade, the result of a hasty decision that broke one of the prime rules of outback survival.

Now Nathan lives alone after the breakup of his marriage.  His son lives with his wife and her new husband and Nathan sees him occasionally on school breaks.  This is one of those as it is almost Christmas.  But it isn't a happy occasion.  Nathan has just gotten word that his brother Cameron, from the neighboring farm, has been found dead at a local landmark.  He meets his other brother, Bub, at the location.  Cameron has died of heat exhaustion and dehydration which is a long and terrible death.  His car is not at the site and no one seems to know how Cameron came to be there either.

As Nathan and his son Zander meet with the remaining family at the family ranch, tensions are high as everyone attempts to give meaning to the death.  Nathan starts to learn buried family secrets about Cameron.  Cam had married the woman who Nathan had started a relationship with after his marriage and they have two daughters.  They all live on the homestead along with Nathan's mother, Bub and a long time family friend, Harry.  At the moment two backpackers, a couple from England, also live there working on the land.  Are any of them responsible for Cameron's death?

This is the third Harper novel.  As with her others, The Dry and Force Of Nature.  As with those two, the Australian environment is a big part of the novel and it's bleakness and unforgiving nature matches the action in the story.  This is a family with lots of secrets going back decades and the slow revealing of them fuels understanding of how this death occurred.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.
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With this book Harper establishes herself as the preeminent writer of crime fiction in Australia. The prose is engaging and the story is one that will leave the reader breathless long after finishing the book.
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This was my first Jane Harper book and I'm heading off to read her other books now. Talk about atmospheric - the elements and the harshness of the outback were conveyed so well with just her words. That is a rare talent. 

This story is packed with mystery, tortured characters, and twists at every turn. I don't want to give too much away but some of the backstories are just as good as the main plot. If you love a character driven mystery - this book is for you.
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More than just a whodunit. A family drama set in a mesmerizing and unforgiving landscape. More character driven than plot but there are no cliffhangers or questions left unanswered.
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Short Summary: The Bright brothers run a large area of land in the Australian outback with hours separating each but when one of the brothers dies under mysterious circumstances, his death brings everyone together to question whether he decided his own fate or if someone else was responsible.

Thoughts: I think I’m finally beginning to understand what makes Jane Harper’s books so special: the setting. The Australian outback is so vibrantly written it becomes something of a character itself. It sounds beautiful and ethereal but I’m not sure you could pay me to venture into that deadly terrain.

Verdict: Harper’s stories always read like a breath of fresh air and it’s rare I continue to stay on top of subsequent releases from any particular author but I’m always eager for more from her.
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I loved The Dry by Jane Harper, but I really struggled to feel invested in this one. I decided to DNF at 33%, I may pick it back up later.
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Jane Harper is a goddess! As much as I loved her first two books, I love this standalone as well. It totally transported me to the Australian Outback (a place I know little to nothing about—though I feel a lot more familiar now), and Jane Harper spins a great family-secrets mystery like no one else writing today. I gobbled this book up in less than 12 hours and was still thinking about it when I woke up the next day. My only question is: When is her next book coming out??
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Thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for my free ARC copy. Once again Jane Harper writes such an atmospheric book. I felt like I could feel the dry heat of Australian outback.  This is a stand-alone novel and not part of the Aaron Falk series. While it had some great twists and turns this is a slower-paced novel with suspense and complicated family relationships. Jane Harper is very good at character-driven mysteries and this book does not disappoint. Can't wait for more from Jane Harper.
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Flatiron Books and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Lost Man.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Nathan Bright has isolated himself on his remote ranch in the Australian outback, after an incident turned the whole community against him.  Nathan has not seen his family in months, despite the fact that the family plot borders his.  The puzzling death of his brother Cameron brings Nathan back into the fold, opening up painful parts of his past.  When the search for the truth turns up more questions than answers, will Nathan and the rest of the family be able to heal and move forward?

Having liked Jane Harper's previous novels, I was expected to like The Lost Man more than I ultimately did.  Nathan's self-imposed isolation is well explained, as well as his separation from his family.  The ostracism seems a bit extreme, but perhaps the harsh conditions is reflected in how Nathan is treated.  The mystery itself is a little transparent, with the revelations at the end of the novel both expected and overdone.  There was not an organic flow to the plot, as the story did not evolve naturally for me.   Simply put, the characters had too many flaws and the conclusion was just too much.  For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend The Lost Man to other readers.
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This was the first book I had read by Jane Harper and I could not leave it alone.  Such a fast read.  I will await her future books.  Fantastic! Thank you for the advanced copy.
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I received a complimentary ARC of this book via Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own. 
It’s been a while since I’ve read a mystery-thriller where a secondary character is murdered and the hunt for his killer does not guarantee—and likely will not include—a romantic Happily Ever After (HEA). What I did feel assured of in reading Jane Harper’s The Lost Man was a resolution to the mystery—an answer to the questions that had been assailing me from the first pages—and it hit me with the force that Harper likely intended.
Harper is a stand-out mystery-thriller writer, and The Lost Man is devastatingly powerful, a whodunit where the focus is pretty small—a household of family members and three employees—and the stakes are proportionately higher: the killer of Cameron Bright is someone they all know. Someone they still eat meals with. Someone who mourned at the funeral.
The expansive, isolated, brutal Australian outback is the setting for this story and the place of Cameron’s death. A beloved member of his community, Cameron is found dead on a sweltering hot Australian afternoon at the Stockman’s grave—the site of a local myth/ghost story. Initially his death looks to be suicide, but questions abound, and Cameron’s semi-estranged brother Nathan can’t help but try to answer them.
Harper is a stellar mystery writer and here she writes so intimately. Family secrets are exposed. Family grief is complicated by the weight of their shared drama. And someone in the house—someone who has been mourning Cameron’s death—is the same person who left him to die an extremely painful death at the Stockman’s grave. All the while we learn about this family, Harper is turning the screw tighter, heightening the tension.  
For me, that’s the real thrill of Harper’s books: how exquisitely she captures her characters and their setting. You feel like to come to know them, even if there are some parts of their story you’d like to shy away from. And like Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, which blew me away earlier this year with Hannah’s absolutely incredible descriptions of the great wild, Harper portrays the Australian outback fantastically. It’s dangerous and beautiful. It’s a place where rules apply and people are punished by not following them, but the rules have been adapted by living in a place where most people wouldn’t/couldn’t.
As I tore through the pages of The Lost Man, I was reminded again and again of how talented Jane Harper is, how she makes the world her characters inhabit come alive in a fierce/dramatic/unputadownable way, and how I am not meant to live in the Balamara region of Australia. At all.

4.5 stars
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Holy crap, and I thought I lived in the middle of nowhere - at least I don't have to drive 3 hours just to get to my neighbor's house!

Again, not as exciting as The Dry, but still a very good family drama, all about cycles of abuse and life in a very, very rural area. Dear God it sounds hot and dusty.
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I enjoyed this latest book by Jane Harper. I found myself truly disliking a character based only on her descriptions of him and to me, that is pretty great writing.
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This novel started off a little bit slower for my liking but picked up quickly. The characters were very convincing and it was easy to fit into their way of life and to pick up on their lifestyle. 

I love reading other stories based in other parts of the world. It puts a new perspective into thinking. At least for me it does. I love all of Jane Harper's novels being based in Australia. It truly is another way of life there and I definitely take life for granted here in the US. 

The only struggle I had with this book is that I kept expecting Aaron Falk to arrive. He is the main character in Jane Harper's other two novel's The Dry and Force of Nature. For some reason I could not get it through my head that this book had nothing to do with him. Ugh. So If you do read this, Aaron Falk will not make an appearance!
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I loved the blurb of this book and was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, it archived before I could read it.
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Fans of The Dry will love Harper's newest book - it contains many of the same themes (rural Australia, old family sins, abusive relationships) and delivers fast paced suspense and a satisfying conclusion.
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This book was really solid, but unfortunately six weeks after reading it I can't remember why I gave it 3 stars instead of 4. It was incredibly atmospheric and completely transported me to the Outback. The intricacies of the family relationships were almost as suspenseful as the fate of dead brother. The parallels with the historic deceased stockman were also an interesting touch. It's a slow building tale to be sure, but once things start unraveling, it is a satisfying shocker!
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This is my first Jane Harper book and I can't wait to read her backlist. Loved the setting , it was so atmospheric. I was riveted from the beginning and didn't stop the book until I was finished. This was so good. 

I will feature this book in my Summer Reading Guide at What to Read Next Blog.
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The premise of The Lost Man seems at first to be suspense/mystery.  The story plays out quite differently.  This stand alone from Jane Harper features the things readers have found compelling in previous books, including spectacularly  drawn settings. It is mostly the unraveling of a very dysfunctional family, with really unlikeable characters.  I appreciated that Ms Harper was able to show some character growth and redemption through the story.  The plotline was a bit too predictable, and the conclusion left me a little bored.  I think because I was expecting a mystery, The Lost Man left me a little disappointed.
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A richly evocative, beautiful, and important book, character-driven and expertly-plotted, with an ending that packs a wallop that screams to be pondered and discussed with others, Jane Harper’s The Lost Man is one of those novels in which atmosphere and landscape become an integral “character” in the story. The Lost Man would be a terrific choice for a mystery fiction book club!

The Lost Man is set in the Outback, in the interior of Australia, a vast, distant, almost primeval land of wide-open spaces, with arid, red dirt for eleven months of the year, and murky flood waters for the rest. “A land of mirages”, where homesteads can be three hours apart, and the sun can be hot enough to kill. 

Told in the third person, Ms. Harper’s first standalone novel focuses on Nathan Bright, a forty-two year old, divorced father of a sixteen year old teen who lives with Nathan’s ex-wife, 1500 kilometers away, in Brisbane. When Nathan is not having one of his infrequent, Outback visits with his son, Nathan lives alone on a huge, desolate, cattle property, a generator his only source of electricity. Nathan must plan his meals six months in advance, and keep a precise inventory of supplies, as the large, refrigerated, supermarket truck from Brisbane delivers groceries to the homesteaders and cattle stations of the region only once every six weeks. When the floods come, Nathan’s home can be completely cut off, trapping Nathan in his home for weeks. Outback residents learn to never drive during the dry months without bringing survival gear, because if your car breaks down, you might not see another car for days. If you live with others, you must write in a log where you are going, and when you plan to return, as phone signals may be nonexistent. But Nathan lives mostly without human contact, unwelcome by those in the closest town of Balamara, deserted, one by one, by his staff, and left to manage his 700 kilometer property, with its 500-600 cattle, all by himself. In this rough and tumble, remote, and otherworldly landscape, this sort of isolation can put a man - or woman - in physical, as well as psychological, life or death peril. When one of Nathan’s brothers is found dead of apparent exposure to the elements near the infamous “stockman’s grave”, with its 1890s headstone, upon which is chiseled, “who went astray”, Nathan rejoins his family to investigate his brother Cameron’s mysterious death. The reader also learns why Nathan has been so removed from the others upon whom his own life, liberty, and happiness may depend.

I listened to the excellent audio book, read by Aussie actor, Stephen Shanahan, who has narrated all three of Ms. Harper’s books. The audio book includes a bonus interview with Shanahan and Jane Harper, as well as a sample of Ms. Harper’s debut story, The Dry, which I heartily recommend, and which - I called it! - is currently in production to become a film adaptation! 

The Lost Man touches upon the universal themes of family relationships and bonds, the importance of community, as well as redemption, and forgiveness. Utterly compelling, and with characters I will not soon forget, The Lost Man gets my highest recommendation! It’s an instant classic!
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