“It seemed very far away and long ago now. Like it had happened to someone else.”
― Jane Harper, Force of Nature
It is always a challenge, I think, for an author of a huge debut success to write a follow-up. The pressure to please must be intense, and I certainly sympathize and wanted to try not to compare this book to Harper's previous novel, The Dry, which I very much enjoyed. However, it is a difficult task not to compare, especially since this is a series, even if the setting was quite the opposite from the previous book. So I will just go ahead and make my judgement, while Force of Nature is a solid novel, it is not quite as strong as The Dry. Yet taken as a mystery on its own, it is pretty good. Falk is an excellent character, and although I felt he was not given enough of a role in this book (chapters switch POVs and more are in the women's voice than Falk's), I do look forward to reading more about him in future additions to this series. I did find the beginning - or quite honestly, the first half - a little boring and was feeling a bit disappointed when suddenly the story really picked up its pace and I was absorbed. I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator is really very good, so I would recommend that format, though I read The Dry as a hardback.
I feel as if I'm rambling a bit, but to be honest, I don't really know what to say about the plot of this book. It was good, nothing incredibly original or terribly unpredictable, but well developed and written all the same with a strong sense of place as well. If you've been reading my reviews for a while, you'll know that I am a fan of character-driven books, so the somewhat unspectacular plot didn't bother me that much since Falk is a really good character.
I'll end this review by saying I have certainly read several much, much worse sophomore novels (ahem . . . Artemis) and I have read better ones, too, yet all in all, this was a solid book and I am intrigued to see what Jane Harper comes up with next for Aaron Falk.