The Lost Manby Published 05 Feb 2019
|The Lost Man.pdf|
Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland, in this stunning new standalone novel from New York Times bestseller Jane Harper
They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.
"The Lost Man" Reviews
Jane Harper is a gifted writer. She has the ability to evoke that dusty, dry, Australian countryside and use its atmosphere to build tension underneath an intriguing murder mystery that keeps you glued to the story from page one.
This book I found to be particularly clever, as there's no detective figuring things out - there's just the Bright family, who are struggling to come to terms with the horrific death of brother/son/husband/father/uncle/nephew, Cameron.
It's told mostly from the perspective of Nathan, who is the eldest son and lives on a neighbouring property completely alone. The lonely nature of the location seems so bleak to me, and it's hard to imagine this kind of 'town', where people live kilometres away from others, and spend days travelling out to fix fences around their lands, etc. I have a vague idea about small Australian towns, having passed though plenty, but the vastness of this landscape was still really incredible to me. That level of isolation terrifies me, and it's a fantastic ploy of the novel to draw on that isolation, and weave it into the hostile environment.
Harper has created some fascinating characters here. I found my opinions of them all mutating throughout the book, as their natures became more apparent, and by the end of it I was happy to leave this broken family behind. There are secrets upon secrets, and everyone is suspicious because no one seems to be at first. The information leaks slowly into the story, first raising questions, then answering those with new questions, until you're tearing through chapters trying to figure out what exactly happened to Cameron, and who was behind it. I found it highly addictive because there was always a fresh bone to gnaw on, and more puzzles to solve.
It's very Australian, so I wonder how international readers will fare with the language and terminology, and whether that will affect the reading experience. I really enjoyed the setting that was crafted here, and Harper has a way of taking vast, flat, mundane Australian landscape and turning it into a character that plays just as vital a role as the others.
The Lost Man will have you thinking a lot about the ugly side of human nature, so be ready to be confronted by your own thoughts and the kind of person they make you. There were so many times in this book where I found myself wondering what I'd do in a similar situation. It explores the many facets of family and protecting loved ones (or not), and dynamics outside the ordinary that will draw you in and make you silent witness to the intricacies of the lives behind closed doors.
Safe to say, Jane Harper is still in fine form with this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommend.
With thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for my ARC.
Slow, but worthwhile!
The Lost Man is a character study about the Bright brothers: Nathan, Cameron, and Bub who live in the Australian outback. When Cameron, whom the family considered to be “the golden child,” is found dead by the legendary stockman’s grave, everyone’s at a loss in the small outback community in which they live. Cameron was loved by all and seemed to have the perfect life and family. His death doesn’t make sense. His older brother Nathan tries to figure out what led to his brother’s death. Was it suicide? Murder?
Nathan is the narrator. He is the oldest child and also the black sheep of the family. Having lived in near exile from the last 10 years, Nathan's relationship with Cam was on shaky ground towards the end. With his son Xander in tow, he begins to look for clues around the family farm trying to uncover the secrets behind the brother he barely knew. The Bright family is good at keeping secrets and pretending not to see what’s really going on. The three boys grew up in a tumultuous household and have been deeply impacted by the events of their childhood.
Even though The Lost Man is primarily about the Bright brothers, female characters play a pivotal role. While they might be dutifully standing by in the background, their power lies in observation and quiet intelligence.
The Lost Man is extremely slow-paced. I started it twice before and wound up pushing it to the side for other books. This time, I picked it up and once again I struggled with the pacing. However, I forced myself to keep on reading and I am so thankful that I did! If you are not a fan of books that move at an extremely slow pace, then this book will probably not work for you. The pace does pick up as the novel progresses and more and tidbits are revealed about the fascinating Bright family.
Harper’s writing makes this a worthwhile read. She transported me to the brutal conditions of the outback--I could feel the heat emanating from the pages. The characters are complex and compelling. The mystery behind Cam’s death is interesting, but the development of Nathan’s character takes center stage and held my interest. Overall, The Lost Man is a subtle, multilayered read filled with nuance and secrets that slowly unfold, leading to a startling conclusion.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.
Another marvellous tale from Jane Harper. In this one we find ourselves at the lonely grave of a fallen stockman in the middle of outback Queensland, where another, much more recent, body is lying on the grave. The body turns out to be Cam Bright, a local landowner, but what was he doing in the middle of nowhere? And so far from his car? His older brother Nathan realises that things are not adding up, but Nathan has troubles of his own. As we delve into the families past secrets begin to slowly reveal themselves, both shocking and surprising.
I raced through this book in a day, mesmerised by the narrative and the descriptions of the beauty of the outback. Jane Harper does a wonderful job of transporting the reader into her tale, so much so we can feel the oppressive heat beating down upon us, and we are continually wondering what on earth Cam was doing so far from where he was supposed to be. This book is a must read for all lovers of fiction.
"He used to say the ones who wandered off called the loudest. For the rest of their lives, their mums would hear them crying out in the wind. Do you think that's true? That this place has ghosts? That the mothers would hear their lost children in the wind."
Guys, I'm blown away. I've been a colossal fan of Jane Harper since her debut novel The Dry was published, and more specifically a massive fan of her series protagonist Aaron Falk. Her lush, atmospheric way of writing makes me feel the heat of the Australian outback, and her character driven plots are more engaging than any high octane thriller, placing Harper squarely in the ring as one of the finest writers today. When I found out that The Lost Man would be a stand-alone novel, set apart from her police procedural series, I was a bit anxious due to the fact that I love those novels so much. Clearly, I had nothing to be concerned over, as I'm tempted to go so far as confirming that this is Harper's best work of fiction to date.
"Dead men didn't talk. Nathan must have thought that a hundred times over the years, but as he drove past the grave, the idea slipped slightly, taking on a strange and unfamiliar form. It was uncomfortable as it lodged itself in the darkest corner of his mind."
One of the most appealing aspects of The Lost Man is how it takes a traditional genre and puts the author's unique flair on the subject. If you've spent any time in the world of crime fiction, then you have likely read your fair share of police procedurals and may have even grown weary of their repetitive, familiar behavior. Here, Harper has inserted an amateur detective, the murder victim's brother, and made it read in a believable manner that feels neither contrived nor overdone. As we follow Nathan's journey in determining if his brother Cam was murdered or committed suicide, there are no fancy tricks or improbable action sequences where we shake our heads thinking, "No amateur would be able to pull that off!"
"Sometimes, the space almost seemed to call to Nathan. Like a faint heartbeat, insistent and persuasive... Life out here is hard. We all try to get through the best way we can. But trust me, there's not a single person here who isn't lying to themselves about something."
Is this a book that will shock you with unexpected twists and floor you with its unpredictable plot? Probably not. As someone who has read more "twisty" psychological thrillers than I can count, I'm finding it beyond difficult to pick up one of those that actually surprises me, or entertains me anymore. The Lost Man isn't that type of read though; this is a timeless tale of family dynamics, all-too familiar abuse, and perhaps a small enough cast that you will possibly guess the final outcome before the reveal. Let it be known, however, that I did NOT have it all nailed down before then.
This is the beauty of the book though; it's a small enough cast that your suspicion is cast upon everyone, and as the story progresses between past and present, the reader is brought to an emotional climax after a tense journey alongside of Nathan and his family. The excellence is in Harper's style of writing, her ability to captivate the reader, and talented way of transporting us to a place we may never have a chance to visit in person in our lifetime. If you enjoy emotionally charged, character driven stories, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up the second it lands in your hands. I feel privileged to have found one of my Top Ten reads of 2019 in the first month of the year, but I'll be thinking about this gem of a novel for a considerable amount of time.
*I received a review copy via the publisher.
2.5 stars rounded up
I am in the minority on this one. I think I am the only one that gave this 3 stars. I loved The Dry. That one was my favorite and I even loved the second book. This one was just so slow and boring. I wish I could of loved this one like everyone else. I loved the writing and that's the reason why I finished it. I was expecting a good ending and it wasn't the best for me. I got this on Overdrive so I am not going to write a full review.