Cover Image: The Survivors

The Survivors

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Member Reviews

This has all the elements of a successful mystery: well-drawn, complex characters, the unlayering of plot twists and dark harbored, small town secrets. When a woman is murdered, the years earlier deaths that have haunted the small Australian community are resurrected. I loved the writing, the setting and the relatability of the characters. This will be popular with library patrons.
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12 years ago a giant storm ruined Kieran's and many other people's lives at Evelyn Bay, Tasmania. When he comes back home to help his mother move, he has to reconcile with what happened on that day 12 years ago. Especially when a body is found strangled at the location a girl went missing during the storm.

This is an amazing book. Now, this doesn't feel like a normal murder mystery but more like a family drama. The murder is there for the conflict. However, much of the book is spent on people dealing with the aftermath of that storm from so long ago. Three people died and that affected three different families. So if you want more of a suspense/thriller this is not the book for you.

The setting is well created. There is a dangerous beauty to Evelyn Bay. The nice cave area can become deadly at the wrong time of day. The wreckage diving can only be done at certain times of the year.

I loved the character Kieran. There is large weight on his shoulders but he deals with it by being thoughtful and is a loving father and partner. He's not investigating the murder but he talks to people in a neighborly way. He has a wonderful and open relationship with his girlfriend Mia.

I only wish that there was an epilogue because I wonder what happened to the other characters once the murderer is discovered.

This review is based on an advanced reading copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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When Kieran Elliot returns to his hometown to help his mom and dad pack up their house, he finds that long-buried secrets resurface while he's there. One stormy night when he was young changed the town and Kieran's life forever and a new murder opens up all the old wounds. Jane Harper can be counted on to write a twisty, atmospheric mystery and the audiobook read with an Australian accent enhances the story perfectly.
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I’m such a big fan of Jane Harper’s books so I was super excited to read The Survivors. I think this is a little different from her other novels. It wasn’t as much of a page-turning suspense but an intriguing story. Her writing is fantastic, though this book is a bit dark and heavy!

Here’s the plot:

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.  The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.
When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

Coming out in Feb! Pre-order here.
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I listened to the audiobook. The narrator did a great job keeping me interested. However, there were many times that I just wanted to walk away. I found the plot to be extremely slow. There was to much back story and I was not fully invested in any character.
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I wonder if enjoyment of this book is highly dependent on whether one has read Jane Harper’s other work. 

As someone who has also read her three previous novels and greatly enjoyed them all, this book felt like a significant letdown. But it’s also not a “bad” book per se, so I wonder if this book suffers because we will always judge authors against their own previous work. 

Perhaps that’s unfair in a way, but such comparisons are unavoidable, and that’s what left me feeling underwhelmed by The Survivors.

Harper’s work always feels claustrophobic, and for the most part I mean that in a good way. The bleakness of the Australian wilderness, the harsh conditions, and the oppressive atmosphere all contributed to the eerie cocktail of menace that made setting such an exceptional part of Harper’s prior novels. 

This time we find ourselves in a seaside town, where the oppressive atmosphere still exists, but it just feels depressing rather than creepy and riveting. 

The basic plot prompts no complaints. But the disappointment brought about by the setting and the characters makes the book slow-going and hard to engage with from the outset, and it never gets much better. 

And while the solve does technically make sense, it’s probably the least interesting one that the plot could have produced and doesn’t allow the reader to really play along throughout, as it’s not really possible to reach the same conclusion as the characters ultimately do until a frustrating info dump turns up near the end. 

In all, it’s not a terrible read, but falls well short of what we’ve come to expect from the generally brilliant Jane Harper.
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Jane Harper does an atmospheric, slow burn like no one else. Fleshing out landscapes and characters, her stories always captivate me and fully immerse me in her Australian world. The Survivors pieces together a case from the past with a current disappearance and Harper weaves the two together seamlessly, capturing the emotions brought to the surface who those who remember the first disappearance all too well. 

4.5 Stars

Thank you to Flatiron for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
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This was my favorite Jane Harper book.  I loved the setting, the atmospheric seaside town, *Evelyn Bay*, ( a popular beach shoreline during the height of summer holidays—but off season most people had left), in Tasmania, ( the story takes place during the off season with the locals), the character development, and the unfolding of the entire story.
It had that movie panoramic visual going on.....
Example.....
     “The sea swelled again, and this time the drag of the undertow was strong enough that he took a step toward her. She didn’t notice. Her face was tilted down, the silver chain I have her necklace glinting against her collarbone as she leaned forward to examine something in the water. She dropped her skirt hem as the tide rushed out again, and lifted a hand to sweep aside her ponytail, which had fallen over one shoulder. It was heavy from the sea spray. A single strand of hair had caught in the corner of her mouth and she brushed it free, her fingertips running across her lips”.  

From the Publisher:
          “Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still hunts them resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he wants called home.  Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long held secrets threaten to emerge. A second wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never been washed away...”

Jane Harper did a wonderful job introducing the characters at the start.
We begin to feel part of the story.....
I literally felt liked I was plopped down on the beach....holding onto my beach hat before the sandy wind blew it off.  I felt the chill in the air...

I was completely transported to Evelyn Bay.... to join the gang.
I was ready to get to work helping mom and dad, ( Brian and Verity), along with our key protagonist, Kieran Elliot, ( and girlfriend, Mia), help move Brian into a memory care facility. Brian had advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  
Kieran, Mia, and their three month year old baby, Audrey, ( who were living in Sydney), planned to stay for a week. 
Kieran and Mia went both grew up in Tasmania.   
The first night home, Verity watches her grandchild while Kieran and Mia join old and new friends for drinks at Surf and Turf.

Old memories....and ceaseless pains of guilt were infinitely ingrained in Kieran for he felt castigated for deaths that occurred during a horrific storm - bigger than anything they had had in eighty years- twelve years ago.  
        Liam held a bulldozer over Kieran’s head ....held him responsible- and was unforgiving towards Kieran. 
Liam was talking with Bronte (at the local pub hangout), who wasn’t privy to the local news of years before.  The others, ( Kieran, Mia, Liam, Sean, Ash, Olivia, etc.), went to High School together. They and their
Parents ‘do’ remember the tragedy.  Most locals saw the accident as an innocent sad tragedy ...and didn’t blame anyone ....
But.....Liam tells Bronte:
      “The way I see it, you kill someone, you deserve all the shit that’s coming your way”. 
“Two people actually. One of them was my dad”....Liam says. 
“Shit. Seriously?  There was stunned pause. Oh my God. What happened? No, I’m sorry, you don’t have to—“
       “It’s fine. I mean, it’s not fine, obviously. But it was like 12 years ago now”. 
The other person who died in that storm, was Kieran’s brother. 

The community will be thrown into morning again with the discovery of a murdered young woman found on the beach. The murder evokes the death of another young woman who disappeared the day of the storm. 

Secrets and suspense unravel to an ending I did not see coming.

Jane Harper is a scrupulous writer.... meticulously attentive to the nuances of her characters and topography.  

Thank you Flatiron Books, Netgalley, and Jane Harper
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I have to say I am never disappointed with Jane Harper. I loved The Dry and continue to enjoy her books. They are all so different but with well written plots and empathetic characters. In this one we are taken a small seaside town in Tasmania. It’s a small tight knit community and it’s been awhile since Kiernan came back to visit. He’s back with his girlfriend and their new baby. They’ve come back to help his mother pack up their family home. His father has dementia and they are moving him to a care facility. Being home  brings back memories of the terrible storm that took the life of  Kiernan’s older brother and the guilt about what happened during the storm that  still haunts Kiernan. Then the dead body of a young woman is found on the beach. And as the case progresses, long buried secrets come to light and it seems the past Kiernan has tried to put behind him must be confronted. Thanks #NetGalley for my advanced copy.
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Once again, Jane Harper does not disappoint! 

Her newest novel, The Survivors, takes place in a seaside town in Tasmania. The main character, Kieran, returns to his hometown with his girlfriend, Mia, who also grew up in the same town, and their new baby daughter. When he was 18 years old, there was a terrible storm which ended in tragedy for him, and several families in the town. As Kieran and Mia help his parents prepare to move out of his childhood home, a college student working in the tourist town for the summer, is found murdered on the beach. The story unfolds with flashbacks of the night of the storm and the current events, which reveal past secrets as detectives investigate the murder. 

As with her previous novels, Jane Harper creates such realistic, relatable characters, you are drawn into their world and story. Once the characters were introduced and the stage set, I was engrossed and couldn’t put the book down. A fast-paced read full of twist,  turns, suspense, and hope.

Thanks to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Jane Harper for the advanced eBook copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Jane Harper’s writing is top notch. Her stories give a sense of place. She knows her territory well. Many people read this genre exclusively. I am not one of them. It takes something outstanding to get me to read these at all. Jane does that. I recommend her to my patrons who seek a new mystery writer because they’ve read all the Pattersons, Grishams, and Baldaccis. .
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Another great read from Jane Harper. A slow build up, takes its time recounting incidents from 12 years past and exploring how those events have affected the main characters, the survivors. Loss, anger, guilt, suspicion. Secrets come spilling out, families and friends question their connections and wonder if there could be a murderer among them. The rugged coastline, the strong tides and the moody sea are metaphors for the unpredictable twists and turns of life. Thank you to the publisher and net galley for a review arc.
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Fantastic, dark, moody, gritty. This is typical Jane Harper, who absolutely blows it out of the water with each novel she writes. I have yet to be anything less than enthralled by her work. The Survivors is deep and mysterious and beautiful. I highly recommend it for a day spent cozy with coffee in bed. Probably with a nice fire going :) One of my few-and-far-between 5 star reviews for 2020!
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I’ll probably never get to visit Australia, but every time I read a book by Jane Harper I am instantly transported down under. With The Survivors, Harper delivers another terrific mystery that carefully builds to a dramatic conclusion. The protagonist Kieran, after a long absence, returns to his hometown to assist his parents with moving Dad to a memory care facility. With his father is suffering from rapid onset Alzheimer’s, Kieran tries to reconnect with his estranged mother and face his crushing guilt over the part he played in the death of his older brother during a horrific storm that claimed several lives. The murder of a young woman on the beach, recalls the death of another young girl, who also perished on the day of the storm and once again throws the small community into mourning. 
Highly recommend
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This novel had a completely different setting from Harper’s previous novels, so it has a much different feel. The hard-baked Outback of her previous novels is switched for a small coastal village that revolves around the sea. But Harper’s emphasis on family tension and secrets are still very evident. Suspenseful and engrossing!
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Jane Harper is one of the most gifted suspense writers on the scene these days. Wonderfully complex characters and a rich sense of place illuminate every one of her novels--and THE SURVIVOR is no exception. This one takes a little longer to get started, perhaps, than her previous work--but be patient: the payoff is there!
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I listened to the audiobook version of this book for 3/4  of the story.  I really like Jane Harper's The Dry but this story had a hard time keeping me interested.  I felt the story was really slow and it never got very exciting.  If this is going to be considered a thriller I want to be on the edge of my seat at the exciting parts and it didn't happen with this book until very end. The narrator's accent was very good but after a while I got a little tired of it.  Also, my audiobook would stop several times at the end of several chapters and I would have to scroll through the Table of Contents and click on the next chapter so it would start.   I finished this title on my Kindle as an ebook and I enjoyed reading this story more than listening to it.
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It was going to be hard for this book to live up to The Lost Man, and while I did really like the character and setting development, it ended a little abruptly. I would have liked a little denouement, just to wrap some things up. I would have also really loved to hear more from the Mia character.

Harper does an amazing job at making you feel like you're really there, and this book delivers on that end.
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Maybe 3.5 /5. I wanted to be immersed in this more than I actually was. It was intriguing to try and figure out what happened and why. You could feel the guilt that the main character, Kieren was carrying around after his brother and another boy were lost at sea many years before, and he blamed himself. There was a bit of mystery and suspense when the same type of incident happened when he moved back to his small hometown. I was really interested to see how the girl that went missing at the same time as the boys were somehow connected. I didn't really see that ending coming, but it wasn't as shocking as I wanted it to be somehow. I thought there were a lot more characters to keep up with than I wanted to keep up with. Jane Harper will definitely remain a favorite author even though this one was not my favorite by her. Thank you so much much to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. #netgalley #thesurvivors
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I’m a fan of Jane Harpers books this like her other mysteries drew me right in,A family returns to their childhood home a murder occurs questions are asked old family involvements come to life,Read this late into the night highly recommend.#netgalley #flatironbooks
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