Review of ‘The Survivors’ by Jane Harper

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for the ARC of this book.

Jane Harper is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I will definitely continue to read everything she publishes. Each of her books has had a different setting in a different Australian landscape and they are so atmospheric and perfectly evocative of the setting. Her brilliance at conjuring the sense of place works to make her books thoroughly immersive. It is a real skill.

Harper is also brilliant at creating realistic characters with difficult pasts committing small wrong doings with big impacts. The crimes are believable and it is easy to understand how normal people end up in tricky situations. Harper is also very deft at peppering red herrings and misdirections throughout her books to get your mind working and make you speculate (mostly wrongly) about what might have happened.

‘The Survivors’ is set in a coastal town in Tasmania. It follows Kieran Elliott as he returns to his childhood home 12 years after a storm took the lives of three residents, an accident for which he feels responsible. A day after his return another person ends up drowned and this crime brings up lots of secrets from the day of the storm.

I really enjoyed this book, the characters are relatable, the setting is perfect and the ending is surprising, although it ends a bit abruptly and I would have liked to see reactions to the final revelations from more of the townsfolk. I felt it dragged slightly in the second half, but that may have been because I was so keen to get to the conclusion and find out what really happened. I liked the main character Kieran and his girlfriend, Mia and enjoyed reading about their relationship.

I would highly recommend this and Harper’s other books, particularly ‘The Lost Man’.