Force of Nature ~ by Jane Harper

On sale and listening only  –  I’d read one by her prior and enjoyed it and I was ready for a good crime novel so … 

Yes,  this is good – not outstanding, but it’s fun and a worthy successor to Haper’s best-selling “The Dry”  of a couple years ago (link to my review on this site) 

*******
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper
2018/ 329 pages
read by Stephan Shanahan: 9h 3m
rating:  A- / crime 
*******

In this second Aaron Falk  adventure,  five women go on some kind of working retreat in the Australian bush and only four come back because one of them,  Alice, a whistle-blower on the company,  has gone missing “in the bush” of the primeval rainforests. 

 The men of the company have their camp a short ways away.  And there is a serial killer still at large even after 20 years and there was another missing woman in the area from several years prior.  Aaron Falk has been working with Alice to get the goods on the company and her only message to him was “Get the contracts”  until he heard the unclear and ambiguous words left on his message machine,
“… hurt her.”  

So what we have is a missing woman possibly only lost or there could be criminal behavior involved as there is a motive and opportunity.  The suspects would be the other women in the camp, a couple of the men in the their camp as well as a possible serial killer or two thrown in for good measure.  lol 

The tension is good and builds and the plot is complex.  

Two things make  the narrative as a whole difficult to follow – at least when you’re listening.  First, the structure goes between the hunt for Alice with Falk and Carmen Cooper interviewing and doing their procedurals in the current time frame. Then there’s the actual building tension within the actual camping trip group which returned a few days prior and which shows what happened to Alice.  The camping sections are distinguished by a heading of  sorts which says “Day 2” or something.   But the switch back to Falk and company is not as clear, although maybe it is in print format.  

The other thing which makes it complex is the number of characters on the trip –  Alice is kind of mean and really tries to boss the group while Jill, whose family owns the firm, is the real boss of  this group  at work,  Meanwhile,  Breanna and  Beth have personal, dysfunctioal-type issues, especially Beth and Lauren is a very old friend of  Jill’s. 

And, while Alice is missing,  her  daughter Megan is at home and worried about her missing mother,  in the middle of some of her own serious problems and Falk gets involved in that, too.  

I’ll be watching for her fourth book,  The Lost Man,  due out in February (not an Aaron Fawk book).