The Lost Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

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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A new standalone from Jane Harper! The setting in the blazing hot Outback is a huge part of the story. I absolutely loved this slow burn mystery novel. If you enjoy stories about characters confronting their pasts, evocative settings, and family dramas you will love this book.
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The Australian outback takes center stage in this novel of both mental & physical survival. Harper’s descriptions of this landscape are so vivid that you can almost feel the heat and dust as you read. As if survival in one of the most treturous places on earth isn’t hard enough throw in a disfunctional family dynamic and you have got yourself a very entertaining story. Though I enjoyed this I’m not sure that I liked it as much as Harpers Aaron Falk series. Still recommend. 

Side note: I think ‘The Stockman’s Grave’ would’ve made a better title...
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Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the free review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Five thrilling stars for this amazing mystery from acclaimed Australian author Jane Harper! I loved The Dry, but this one....this blew me away! The characters, the setting, the mystery. Absolutely phenomenal. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, but of course I didn't want it to end!

Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright discover the body of their brother Cameron in a remote part of their family's vast estate in the Australian outback - a brutal, unforgiving and dangerous land. Did Cameron take himself there to die, or was he the victim of foul play? The story unfolds from there, with any number of suspects coming to light. We learn about Nathan's complicated past, the truth about Cameron's marriage,  and the many frustrations and old enmities simmering beneath the surface of this family.

WOW. Truly, this is one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. Jane Harper knows how to create suspense, and complicated (and disturbing) family dynamics, and a deeply atmospheric setting that becomes its own character. She has more than proven her staying power in this genre and I cannot wait to see what she does next!
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Atmospheric, felt immersed in the landscape and in the family at the center of the story. Well drawn characters and interesting family dynamics. Look forward to more from this author.
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A slow burn of a mystery that takes its time to build the family drama into the story of the death of a brother through the eyes of the other brother. The reader can feel the heat of the Australian outback through the novel and the setting becomes a strong character itself. I'm looking forward to reading other novels by Jane Harper.
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The Lost Man is a contemporary standalone set in rural Australia. I'd read Ms. Harper's previous two books, and liked them, but I loved this! It's set in rural Australia, and the town, with its residents who have loooong memories (and grudges) reminded me so much of the isolated area I grew up in. The Lost Man is thoughtful and wonderfully written, and I totally loved it.
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While this book was a little slower than Harper's previous two books (which I loved), it did kick into high gear around the two-thirds mark. I'm glad I stuck it out, but I'm giving this three stars because it really did plod along at the beginning.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review this work by Jane Harper. My only other experience with this author was an earlier work (The Dry) that I very much enjoyed. The Lost Man is equally well written and entertaining.  Will recommend this book to my friends who enjoy the genre.
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Absolutely amazing. Look, if you're looking for a trashy thriller that makes your jaw drop, Jane Harper is not for you. If you want to practically taste the red dirt of the Australian outback, and feel real emotions for characters, then you're in the right place. Yes, it's a mystery, but it's not brash or over the top. This book is beautifully written, full of heart, with a literary feel. While I wasn't a huge fan of Force of Nature, this one takes us back to the heart-achingly beautiful prose that made me love The Dry. Highly recommended.
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At first I was disappointed that this book didn't feature Aaron Falk, I was curious about what he's been up to.  However, this book does not falter because it is not part of Jane Harper's previous series.

Nathan Bright lives on a plot of land 3 hours from his nearest neighbors, who happen to be his family.  When Nathan's brother Cam is discovered dead on a remote part of the property, the entire family must confront the secrets of the past.    

It is hard to imagine why someone would choose to live in the harsh Australian Outback, but Harper does a great job of describing the day to day issues and dangers of such a life.  Getting lost in the desert for a few hours can mean death.  Due to a moment of anger, Nathan lives a life of almost total isolation.  The descriptions of his life are very well done, I really felt for him and his situation.  Details of the past and life on the Bright property before Cam's death are dealt out slowly and deliberately.  While I guessed certain details of the end, I was satisfied with the conclusion.  

This is a part of the world I have never given much thought to, and reading about it was very interesting.
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A mystery that centers on complicated family relationships and unfolds slowly and deliberately. I never would have guessed the ending, which is genius!  It is fascinating to read a story that takes place in the Australian outback. Great book!
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This was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2019 - I was seriously so excited to get the Netgalley approval.  Unfortunately, unpopular opinion alert, but I COULD NOT get into this. I love Jane Harper's slow-burn, steady building suspense style... but found that this was just slow and steady - no burn or build. I've tried reading it 4 times so far, and I just give up. It's not worth the anxiety that I have trying to power through for the sake of checking it off my list.   Again, I'm clearly the exception to this one - just look at the other glowing reviews flooding Goodreads. Maybe someday I'll come back and try again when my disappointment and frustration are gone
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Set in the sweltering Outback of an Australian summer, Jane Harper's third novel The Lost Man (Flatiron, digital galley) is a stunner from its first atmospheric pages. Queensland rancher Cameron Bright's body is spotted from a helicopter near an isolated marker known as the Stockman's Grave. His older brother Nathan, who owns an adjoining ranch hours away, and younger brother Bub, who works the family land with Cameron and their widowed mother Liz, can't figure out how Cameron was separated from his fully outfitted Land Cruiser found a few miles away, the keys in the seat. No water, no shade, he wouldn't have lasted a day. The odd circumstances surrounding the death of the popular rancher, who left behind a wife and two young daughters, leads loner Nathan to the mystery of family present and past.  He discovers secrets that wound, secrets that break hearts, secrets to die for.

from On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever
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A strong follow up to The Dry, The Lost Man is a compelling story of one family's struggle to connect with each
other and the land in the Australian outback.
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THE LOST MAN by Jane Harper is the latest mystery from the award-winning Australian author. I was really looking forward to this novel because I truly enjoyed her previous works, particularly Force of Nature and its exploration of relationships between female colleagues while also puzzling out a murder.  In THE LOST MAN, Harper turns to sibling rivalry and the death of a middle brother, Cameron. The other brothers, Nathan and Bub, are ranchers in Australia's Queensland where Cameron's body was found and there is certainly tension over land ownership and family history.  The area is remote and there are few suspects in what appears to be a very puzzling death.  Sadly, I simply was not drawn into this story which is a huge contrast from the way I almost devoured Harper's earlier work. However, I hope to give it another try because Goodreads readers were overwhelmingly positive, it was a LibraryReads selection, and Kirkus gave this title a starred review. Booklist called THE LOST MAN a "dark and intense narrative;" if that appeals – go for it since Harper is a truly talented author.
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This stand-alone novel by the author of The Dry and Force of Nature is just as atmospheric and character driven as her first two novels. This one is less a mystery than a study of human nature driven to survive.
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This is another terrific book by Australian author Jane Harper.  Having read her previous two mysteries, I was looking forward to another stellar read.  This did not disappoint.  The Lost Man is a stand alone tale, set in the Australian outback.  Stations,the Aussie equivalent of a cattle ranch, comprise hundreds of thousands of acres; the nearest neighbors are three hours away.  Temperatures range in the low 100 degrees day after day and shade is virtually non existent.  So, how did this murder occur and by whom? Or if it was suicide, why?  These are the questions the reader is confronted with.  Harper's description of the outback are so evocatively written that the reader can feel the heat and the dust.  The tension builds to the very surprising ending. This is a book not to be missed.
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The Lost Man by Jane Harper is a quiet powerhouse of a novel. Set in the Australian outback, this character-driven story centers on the three Bright brother, Nathan, Cameron and Bub, who own adjacent properties in this unforgiving, harsh setting, and who are at odds with each other for various reasons.

Harper immediately shows her proficiency as a writer by making the harshness of the outback, and the lives of those who live there, seem utterly real to the reader; so much so, that you can feel the unrelenting heat, and taste the dust blown by the wind swirling around you. Everyone knows you don’t go anywhere out here without letting someone know your plans, without a radio for contact, without plenty of supplies in case you break down. A person could die within hours in this heat, waiting for help to come along these seldom travelled roads, and many have. With the nearest town hours away, and with only sixty-five residents in the area, every trip must be carefully planned and accounted for. Danger is a constant companion.

The story begins with the body of Cameron Bright, husband to Ilse, father to two young daughters, found lying dead at the gravestone of the stockman, buried in the middle of nowhere. Cameron’s car is quite a hike away, fully stocked, running fine. So why did Cameron leave it and head off away from everything that could have saved him? Many say Cameron was acting strangely before his fateful trip. What was on his mind? Was his death intentional rather than accidental?

Layer by layer, we come to know the members of the Bright family, their history, their relationships, and their flaws. Nothing stays hidden forever in this hot, dusty, windy environment. With full, rich characters, reading this novel is pure delight. I love the way Harper writes - she knows there’s no need to be loud or in your face, to end each chapter with a cliff hanger. A good story flows on its own pace, drawing the reader with it, surrounding them with the atmosphere intended by its author.

This is a great read. Quiet, powerful, complex, it captures the full range of human emotions, strengths and frailties. Not to be missed!!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for allowing me to read an ARC of this wonderful book in exchange for an unbiased review. Published on 2/5/19, It is now available to the public. All opinions stated here are strictly my own.
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Very good story about family life with brothers, wives, and parents. I really enjoyed this as it also was involving a murder investigation, you will never guess who it is until the last chapter and what a surprise!  the setting is the outback and it's super sized with nothing in between houses but land. Don't get stuck out on it! Recommend this highly as I also did her last book! Awesome and hope she keeps them coming!  Thank you so much!
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