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Force of Nature cover art

Force of Nature

By: Jane Harper
Narrated by: Stephen Shanahan
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Summary

The gripping new novel from the author of the Sunday Times top 10 best seller, Waterstones Thriller of the Month, Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month, and Simon Mayo Radio 2 Book Club Choice The Dry.

Five went out. Four came back....

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistle-blower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

©2018 Jane Harper (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic reviews

"The new queen of crime." ( Sunday Times)

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What listeners say about Force of Nature

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Australian blockbuster

I loved this book. As with all Jane Harper novels the setting is evocative and real. Great characterisation.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Refreshing and clever

Having listened to The Dry and liked it, I didn't hesitate with this one. The author did not let me down. A cleverly crafted, well told tale.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hike gone wrong

Nice follow up to The Dry. Love the wilderness of the Aussie outback. Fascinating story of hike gone wrong

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Alice is missing!

This is Jane Harpers's follow-up to her very successful novel The Dry (reviewed here by me last year).

Five female colleagues are on a break from the office on a bonding team-and-resilience-building hike in the wilds of the Guralong Ranges near Melbourne. But it has all gone terrifyingly wrong: they're lost. There's no signal on the mobile and the single torch has a fading battery. We know only four of the women will return.

Harper is excellent on the mounting vitriol between the women the reasons for which are explored in the alternating chapters as the narrative flips between present and past, notching up tension and suspense as well as explaining the resentment concerning Lauren and Alice's children, and Beth's past as an addict. After an explosion of violence, Alice goes missing just where a hiker had been murdered years before...

It's a great listen - Harper creates the forbidding and dangerous Australian terrain brilliantly and suspense is taut. There's another strand to the story involving Alice as the whistle-blower in the business the women work for. It is not very convincing and merely distracts. The whole would have been more powerful without it.

The great narration accentuates the rough toughness of the story.

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An Enjoyable Read - However .......

After reading The Dry which had me captivated I have to be honest and while this was a good book - it just wasn't in the same league. I think it suffered from the lack of interaction with the lead characters past life. That all being said I still intend to listen / read to any future books by Jane Harper.

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Intrigue in the outback.

This novel is well paced, beautifully presented in terms of the environment and full of rich and believable characters.’

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Four days out back

Most urbanites idea of hell a four day trek through the inhospitable terrain of the hills in the outback with office colleagues!

The tale alternates between the trekkers and the searchers - then and now, a format that I did not feel worked well. The narrator was good and there was enough of a hook to keep me listening but not gripped to the end.

Sadly I did not feel this second book was as good as Miss Harper’s “The Dry”.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Totally gripping

Had me hooked from start to finish. Difficult to know what to say without any spoilers but a real thriller with some excellent characters that had me on the edge of my seat especially towards the end. The narrator was excellent throughout and although the characters were mainly female it was clear who was speaking. Really hope this series will continue.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Strangely disappointing

Jane Harper is a talented storyteller, Stephen Shanahan is usually an excellent reader and Aaron Falk is the detective protagonist we want to know more about, but somehow this novel doesn't deliver. The arguments between the women on their work-enforced team building exercise just became a bit repetitive and shrill, so that the sense of their jeopardy is diminished rather than amplified. Shanahan does his best, but it's not a great listen. If you're yearning for some Aussie crime try Jane Harper's The Survivors instead, which is way more interesting and engaging.

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Brilliant

Brilliant story, kept you going on and on till you reached the end, can't wait to read her next in series.

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