Force of Nature

Force of Nature

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods....

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Title:Force of Nature
Author:Jane Harper
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Edition Language:English

Force of Nature Reviews

  • Debra

    4.5 stars

    Five women go on a hike. Only four return.....

    Another great one by Jane Harper! Five people go on a corporate retreat - they are going to hike and camp in the wilderness. They are to leave their cell phones behind and rely on themselves and each other. This is going to be team work at its best! Except, It's NOT!. The women argue, quibble and are not very pleasant to each other. When they fail to return on time to the agreed upon rendezvous at the end of the retreat, the guides go lookin

    4.5 stars

    Five women go on a hike. Only four return.....

    Another great one by Jane Harper! Five people go on a corporate retreat - they are going to hike and camp in the wilderness. They are to leave their cell phones behind and rely on themselves and each other. This is going to be team work at its best! Except, It's NOT!. The women argue, quibble and are not very pleasant to each other. When they fail to return on time to the agreed upon rendezvous at the end of the retreat, the guides go looking for them. Eventually four of the women are found. The fifth one is missing. All the women have a similar story - similar- but not the same.

    Has the tough and unforgiving terrain caused the woman to go missing? Did she make a wrong turn and get lost? This is the same terrain where serial killer, Martin Kovac, lured and killed young women. True, he was captured years ago, but he his legacy haunts the area. Could there be a copycat killer out there? Did he have any offspring? Just where is the missing woman and was foul play involved?

    Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk (who we met in The Dry) and his partner, Cameron, have a connection to the missing woman. She is their secret informant on a case involving the Bailey Tennants financial firm where she works, and it appears she attempted to call Falk the night she went missing from the retreat. Wasn't she supposed to leave her cell phone behind?

    While Falk and his partner, Cameron try to figure out what happened on this retreat, Falk also wrestles with his past relationship with his father. Like the missing woman, Falk seems a little lost himself in this book. He needs to move on from a past romantic relationship and make peace with his own past, while trying to figure out who, if anyone, is telling the truth and who has something to hide.

    As the women are interrogated and the pieces come together, the reader and Falk learn what happened at the same time. The story-line kept me guessing and I did not figure it out. I had my suspicions and just when I thought I had this mystery figured out, Harper threw in a curve ball.

    I thought this book was great! Just like in "The Dry", Harper uses the environment as a main character. This book is atmospheric, and the terrain feels very much alive and the characters are at its mercy. Harper pulls this off seamlessly. I will say that I wanted more Falk. We see more of his personality and personal issues in "The Dry". I wanted a little more him personally and hopefully we get a little more of "him" in the next book ***please, fingers crossed for another book in this series***

    I found this book to be wonderfully written, atmospheric, stimulating, beautifully crafted and full of dread and suspense. Harper does not disappoint, if anything, she knows how to suck the reader in and take them on a journey through the Australian bush, into the mind of her likable investigator and not so likable characters. Could this book be read as a standalone? ABSOLUTELY! But, seriously "The Dry" was fantastic. So, do yourself a favor and read that first!

    See more of my reviews at

  • Paromjit

    Jane Harper shifts her setting from the devastating drought in The Dry to the equally hostile atmospheric environment of the Giralong Ranges, tough to negotiate, with its menacing history of Martin Kovac, a serial killer that still haunts the area, vivid in peoples memories and nightmares. Five women are on a corporate team building hike run by Executive Adventures, only four return. Federal Agent Aaron Falk of the Melbourne Financial Investigations Unit returns, this time with colleague, Carmen

    Jane Harper shifts her setting from the devastating drought in The Dry to the equally hostile atmospheric environment of the Giralong Ranges, tough to negotiate, with its menacing history of Martin Kovac, a serial killer that still haunts the area, vivid in peoples memories and nightmares. Five women are on a corporate team building hike run by Executive Adventures, only four return. Federal Agent Aaron Falk of the Melbourne Financial Investigations Unit returns, this time with colleague, Carmen Cooper. They have been looking into financial corruption and money laundering at Bailey Tennants, and have a whistleblower in Alice Russell who is in the process of accessing crucial documents for them. Aaron gets a voicemail from Alice from which he makes out the words 'hurt her'. Alice has gone missing on the hike and Aaron is guilt ridden, suspecting the worst, thinking they endangered her life. Aaron and Carmen are concerned about what happened to Alice, and pressured by their bosses who persist in demanding that they get hold of the documents, no matter what. The story

    follows the search for Alice and the parallel narrative that tells us what happened amongst the group of lost women as they struggle in the dense bushland, cold, wet, hungry, thirsty and desperate to survive.

    Jill Bailey is viewed as nominally in charge due to her executive position in the company, although Alice constantly hacks away at her authority in her efforts to return to Melbourne to be with her daughter, Margot. It soon becomes clear that Alice is not nice with her mean and nasty streak, giving rise to a host of suspects with a motive to do away with her. Alice has a dark history with Lauren Shaw that goes back to their schooldays. Lauren is a biddable and vulnerable woman, unable to cope at work as her daughter, Rebecca, descended into the depths of misery with mental health issues after an incident at school. Beth is on probation after leaving prison, she has battled drug addiction, and is trying to mend her battered relationship with her twin, Breanna. As the women's situation deteriorates, the rifts, rivalries, conflicts, resentments and jealousies surface, destined to lead to violence. Aaron slowly begins to piece together the mystery of the missing Alice. Carmen proves to be instrumental in Aaron coming to terms with the guilt over the death of his father, a man well acquainted with the Girlang Ranges.

    Jane Harper once again gives us a strong sense of location in the Girlang Ranges with her beautiful and detailed descriptions of the landscape, the dangers of snakes, with the howling winds and driving rain. Her psychological insights render her complex characters and their development authentic to the reader. Her writing is so vibrant that you think you are right there with the lost women as they stumble their way through the bush, hunger and fear contributing to their downward spiral as they turn on each other and Alice. The strongest recurring theme is the issue of just how far parents are prepared to go for their children. As I was reading this novel, echoes of Picnic at Hanging Rock came to mind, as indeed did the numerous other disappearances of people in the Australian landscape through the years. I am delighted to see that The Dry was not a one off for the author, this was a brilliant twisted read too. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Diane S ☔

    I loved her thriller, The Dry, for a first novel it was fantastic. Actually would have been fantastic even if it wasn't her first, but even more so since it was. Excited to read this, her second, and I'll just say that the infamous sophomore slump is not in evidence. This time Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, where a woman is missing. A team building trip, men go one way, five men go another, all to meet up at the end of three days. According to the outfit mana

    I loved her thriller, The Dry, for a first novel it was fantastic. Actually would have been fantastic even if it wasn't her first, but even more so since it was. Excited to read this, her second, and I'll just say that the infamous sophomore slump is not in evidence. This time Aaron Falk and his partner Carmen are called to the Giralang Range, where a woman is missing. A team building trip, men go one way, five men go another, all to meet up at the end of three days. According to the outfit managing the trip, it should have been simple, so what went wrong?

    We follow the investigation, with the police, the searchers and Falk, alternating with daily missives from the women who were on the trip. So much going on behind the scenes, secrets, jealousy, grudges, but what happened and when? Quite suspenseful, and terrifying at times. Not graphic at all, just wonderful writing that shows, not just tells. Very atmospheric, the descriptions of the scenery were very vivid. Though this does not have the same personal connection to Falk as her first, there is still some introspective musings about his past that this location evokes. There are layers upon layers, misdirections, and everytime something new is discovered, there is still more waiting.

    Harper does a fantastic job in building her stories, they build gradually, and at the same time they are understated until the denoument. No big gory, or shocking scenes, just good storytelling done right. I enjoy this series immensely, and now eagerly await the next.

    ARC from Flatiron books.

    Publishes February 6, 2018.

  • Meredith

    Five women take part in a corporate retreat in the Gralong Ranges. They are supposed to spend three days navigating a trail, camping, and teambuilding. However, only four of them return. How is this connected to Aaron Falk? The one woman who doesn’t make it back, Alice, was Falk’

    Five women take part in a corporate retreat in the Gralong Ranges. They are supposed to spend three days navigating a trail, camping, and teambuilding. However, only four of them return. How is this connected to Aaron Falk? The one woman who doesn’t make it back, Alice, was Falk’s informant on a money laundering case. He and his partner Carmen investigate her disappearance.

    Similar to

    , the environment takes on a role of a character--this time around it's the unforgiving, brutal Giralong ranges which tests the survival skills of those who embark on its trails.

    Harper’s writing is the most compelling aspect of

    . Falk’s character is more developed than he was in

    , but I wanted more of him! His struggle to understand his relationship with his father felt very real. His loneliness emanates off the page. I am interested to see how his relationship with Carmen plays out.

    starts off a little slow, but the pace quickly picks up. I found the plot to be interesting, if a little unrealistic. I had extremely high expectations for this book and it did not disappoint!

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jen

    I've returned back under for this one. But, instead being in the outback, we are now in the wilderness of Australia for the sequel to The Dry. Our favourite agent Falk, who has recovered from his harrowing ordeal in The Dry, is back in the search for a woman who has been lost on a corporate excursion into the bush lands in the Giralang ranges.

    It's a mystery of magnitude as Falk has been working with the missing woman in order to prosecute her boss and his company. Her missing in the cold, wet br

    I've returned back under for this one. But, instead being in the outback, we are now in the wilderness of Australia for the sequel to The Dry. Our favourite agent Falk, who has recovered from his harrowing ordeal in The Dry, is back in the search for a woman who has been lost on a corporate excursion into the bush lands in the Giralang ranges.

    It's a mystery of magnitude as Falk has been working with the missing woman in order to prosecute her boss and his company. Her missing in the cold, wet brush, has forced his own guilt to surface.

    Was it as forceful and The Dry? Falk still remains on an aloof, introverted but highly likeable guy. This is more mystery than thriller and it still delivers some twists and drama but seemed to lack the oomph that set the Dry apart. Great descriptions of this harsh and desolate land. Still an enjoyable one and hope there's a 3rd in the Falk series. 4⭐️

  • Julie

    Force of Nature by Jane Harper is a 2018 Flatiron Books publication.

    A solid, gripping, edgy thriller-

    When five women go on a team building expedition out in the unforgiving and dangerous Australian Giralang Ranges, which was also once upon a time, the stomping grounds of a serial killer, whose son may be following in his father’s footsteps, things immediately go awry.

    Among the group, is whistleblower Alice Russell, who is attempting to divulge to Aaron Falk and his partner, Carmen, information

    Force of Nature by Jane Harper is a 2018 Flatiron Books publication.

    A solid, gripping, edgy thriller-

    When five women go on a team building expedition out in the unforgiving and dangerous Australian Giralang Ranges, which was also once upon a time, the stomping grounds of a serial killer, whose son may be following in his father’s footsteps, things immediately go awry.

    Among the group, is whistleblower Alice Russell, who is attempting to divulge to Aaron Falk and his partner, Carmen, information regarding a massive money laundering scheme her bosses are running through their company.

    But, while the men’s group makes it through the retreat unscathed, the women didn’t fare quite as well. Not only are they late getting back from camp, they come back without Alice, who allegedly took off on her own. Alice, if left out in the elements for much longer, could die.

    After receiving a puzzling and cryptic call from Alice, Aaron and Carmen arrive on the scene to help with the rescue efforts while also trying to determine if their investigation may have put Alice in danger.

    Along the way, they learn that Alice was not well liked at all by her colleagues, due to her mean and cutting remarks, bullying, and brash attitude. Not only that, her co-workers arrived back from camp injured, edgy, and tense. Could they have something to do with Alice’s disappearance?

    was one of my favorite thrillers last year. As a result, I’ve been sitting on pins and needles awaiting Harper’s follow up novel, which also features Aaron Falk.

    While I must admit right up front that I didn’t find this book to have the same hyper intensity or the same tautness as Harper’s debut novel, this follow up thriller is still a very original and atmospheric tale.

    The story is more focused on the women, and what happened during that three -day retreat while they were lost out in the wilderness, running low on food and other supplies and dealing with Alice, who seemed determined to make everyone as miserable as she is. Aaron and Carmen’s investigation, and the rescue efforts, seemed to take a back seat, simmering in the background.

    The Australian landscape once again provides an intense environment and plays a large role in creating just the right atmosphere, while the serial killer thread ramped up the apprehension, adding a creepy feeling to go along with the jittery suspenseful adventure and disquieting psychological drama.

    I enjoyed touching base with Aaron, who seemed a little fragile still, and I truly like Carmen and the way she so easily reads Aaron. Too bad she’s engaged to someone else. However, they do make a great team and I am just as excited about a third installment featuring Aaron Falk as I was about this one.

    4 stars

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    4.5 STARS

    It's no secret that I adored Jane Harper's 2017 (US) debut 

    , but that didn't ensure I would love her sophomore novel (and follow up in the Aaron Falk series) 

    . So many times I've read a solid entry from a debut author, only to be let down by their subsequent stories and eventual rea

    4.5 STARS

    It's no secret that I adored Jane Harper's 2017 (US) debut 

    , but that didn't ensure I would love her sophomore novel (and follow up in the Aaron Falk series) 

    . So many times I've read a solid entry from a debut author, only to be let down by their subsequent stories and eventual realization that maybe they were just a "one hit wonder". Not here though; Harper has proven she deserves to write alongside the big dogs and has cultivated quite an international following, which isn't an easy feat for someone relatively new to the scene. Even though this book has a completely different feel than the first, I think it works well and is a worthy follow up to 

    .

    In our first novel, there was more of a traditional police procedural investigation. In 

     we had a gruesome domestic drama with classic murder mystery, while sprinkling in some backstory for our main character Falk. We get a straightforward introduction with a typical back and forth of his childhood experiences and what brought him to where he is now. In 

    , things are switched up a big and, while it is still a procedural, it's not as rigid in it's investigation and our team has to improvise and think of new ways to solve a mystery with no evidence and no body. There was definitely a higher level of suspense throughout, a taut tension that is only enhanced by the back and forth narrative of the ladies' hike and present day investigation.

    There was a lot more going on in this book, and I think that is attributed to

    Novel one was all about the slow burn murder mystery, and we are introduced to various characters in the investigation and get to know them in a classic "Agatha Christie" style, if you will. Novel two is still a slow burn, but I felt the growing suspense made the pages fly by much faster this go around. There are multiple side plots interjected here, some are red herrings and others are vital to the story, but the characterization is much more of a mixed bag of goods; chapter POVs are constantly being switched around and, just as we get a grip on one person, we find ourselves following a new one. This worked REALLY well for me and felt it kept the shorter chapters moving quickly while keeping my brain whirring.

    Harper took a risk by cultivating such an unlikable character in Alice, but

    We get little pieces of who she is from all the characters except Alice herself, and I felt this was one of the strongest aspects the story had to offer. I love a tale where each character is tied to the others in various ways that do not become apparent until the conclusion, and that's exactly what the author delivers with 

    . The underlying theme of how our humanity and moral beliefs tend to take a backseat when we feel threatened and in danger was so incredible; the subtle tinge of pack mentality is present initially and then grows as the peril increases and ramps up the heart rate in a way few books are able to present in my reading these days.

    The final chapter gave me a bit of hope that we may be revisiting Aaron's hometown to, not only check in on some remaining characters from 

    , but also to gain more insight into his personal life and his tumultuous relationship with his father that he is still processing. I really enjoyed this angle of the story and felt Falk's emotional walls starting to come down was a huge step in connecting the reader with his character further.

    You'll want to start with 

     if you're new to the series, as these books are not really meant to be read as stand alone novels, but trust me-it's worth your time! Highly recommended and obviously I'm beyond excited for the next installment.

  • Tucker

    Jane Harper’s first novel “The Dry” was one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. And her new novel “Force of Nature” is equally as good. Five women depart on a corporate team building exercise in the Australian wilderness and become lost without food, water, or adequate shelter. Eventually four of the women are found, but there is no trace of the fifth. As the story switches between the disastrous team adventure and the background of the five women, the tension and sense of menace contin

    Jane Harper’s first novel “The Dry” was one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. And her new novel “Force of Nature” is equally as good. Five women depart on a corporate team building exercise in the Australian wilderness and become lost without food, water, or adequate shelter. Eventually four of the women are found, but there is no trace of the fifth. As the story switches between the disastrous team adventure and the background of the five women, the tension and sense of menace continually ratchets up. The descriptions of the harsh and claustrophobic wilderness were so striking that I almost felt like I was lost and desperate for rescue in the cold, rain, and isolation.

    “Force of Nature” is meticulously plotted and the crime investigation was riveting. Through Harper’s brilliant character development, one feels that the characters are people you might have met or know. Their histories, secrets, and how family dynamics influence their behavior are carefully revealed and add a depth and richness missing from a lot of crime fiction. I consider Harper’s writing top-tier literary crime fiction, right up there with James Lee Burke, Tana French, and a handful of other authors. So read “Force of Nature” for the crime investigation, the fascinating and complex characters, the evocative descriptions of the Australian wilderness, but make sure you read it!

    Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Emily May

    4 1/2 stars. Oh, I liked this book a lot. I ended up enjoying it even more than Harper's

    because, though both were compelling, this one felt less formulaic.

    Harper is fantastic at creating a strong sense of place and an atmosphere that creeps under your skin. The settings in her two novels are very different, but each is extremely important t

    4 1/2 stars. Oh, I liked this book a lot. I ended up enjoying it even more than Harper's

    because, though both were compelling, this one felt less formulaic.

    Harper is fantastic at creating a strong sense of place and an atmosphere that creeps under your skin. The settings in her two novels are very different, but each is extremely important to the

    of the novel. In

    , that was the sticky, suffocating heat of the drought in a small rural Australian town. In

    , we're taken into the forests of a wilderness retreat where five female colleagues get lost and only four make it back.

    You can feel the claustrophobic closeness of the trees; the paranoid sense that something is watching you from the darkness.

    I loved it.

    Detective Aaron Falk returns once again to investigate what happened to Alice, the woman who is missing. We soon learn that Falk's ties to Alice go beyond the case at hand, and her disappearance could be related to the information she was providing him. The story digs deep into the pasts and presents of the five women, uncovering many skeletons and secrets before the truth finally makes itself known.

    Alternating between the now, in which Falk investigates what happened, and the then, in which tensions rise between the five women, there is a breathless race between Falk's discoveries and the unveiling of the story. As the novel reaches a climax, the chapters become shorter, and it is impossible to look away.

    The tensions and dynamics between the five women are fascinating, and my mind was spinning all over the place. Did Alice become a victim of exposure? A serial killer? A

    -style scenario, but with adult women?

    Alongside this, we also get more of a look inside Falk's life and mind. His personal issues make him a detective we care about, and the suggestions of a growing romantic connection between him and Carmen have definitely piqued my interest. I haven't decided yet if Harper is just teasing us, though. I guess we shall see.

    I'm so excited to have found a new thriller writer who appears to be more than a one trick pony. More, please.

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