Force of Nature by Jane Harper | What happened to Alice?

Force of Nature

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Book Depository 

Today, my lovelies, I’m taking part in a blog tour! It’s been an awful long while since I’ve done one of these, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when I heard about this book. It caught my attention immediately, and with the need for mystery I’ve been feeling lately, it came at just the right time!

Set in the rainy bushland of the Giralang Ranges, this book follows a team of five women reluctantly sent out on a team building hike. What better way to build team spirit, right? Well, sure…apart from one of them doesn’t come back. Things go downhill real quick when Alice Russell disappears from the group and the rest of the women come back looking worn and disheveled, the situation calling for Aaron Faulk and a whole team of investigators to get involved.

Being the second in a series – the first book being The Dry – I already knew what I was getting myself in for. I was expecting a slow-burn mystery, full of questionable backgrounds and dark possibilities, and that’s exactly what I got.

Although technically a second book, this can be read before The Dry if it takes your fancy a little more. I’m glad I read them in order though, as the smaller details linking back to the background of Aaron Faulk in The Dry really added to his character, especially with the small references every so often. I do think it would work as a standalone novel though – I’m just a sucker for details. *shrugs*

So we see a continuation of Faulk’s story alongside the new mystery that is the disappearance. In a situation that’s already swarmed with tension from the reluctance of going, there’s a sense of strain really pulling from every angle. The women’s attitudes, the location, the weather, the backstories…every page is spent just waiting to see who is pushed too far, who will reveal what happened.

The pacing of the plot was carried out particularly well, I noticed. While it’s definitely more of a slow-burn, the interchanging perspectives between the investigation and flashbacks to the actual events leading to the disappearance helped build the suspicion, piecing together small tidbits of information and making you rethink everything you’d “figured out” in the previous chapters. Combined with the stormy setting and wild bushland, you can’t help but feel the urgency rise as the pressure to find out what happened to Alice builds with every page turn.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like, besides a few minor details – the “romance”, if you could call it that, didn’t need to be there and was entirely unnecessary in my opinion, and so it felt like it had simply fallen down the route of predictability there. But it didn’t ruin anything either, rather it just gave me a minor *eye roll* moment. Other than that, the events all lead to a plausible story…which is slightly unnerving, considering how bad a series of unfortunate events (hello, Lemony Snicket) can easily end up being. That’s all part of the genre though, right? Unsettlingly believable.

Full of tension and mistrust while gradually spiralling further into urgency, I found myself eagerly turning the pages to see if my suspicions were confirmed (alas, they never are, I’m tricked every time). I’m intrigued to see what else Jane Harper comes up with if she continues the series!

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion.

Rated 4/5 stars

4 stars

Until next time…


Sunday 11th February


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