Set in the Australian outback (the first book I’ve read with that sort of setting), ‘The Lost Man’ follows Nathan Bright and his family after his brother Cameron is found dead out in the middle of the land next to an old grave site. Cameron died on dehydration and exhaustion from the heat, but it doesn’t quite add up, because Cameron knew the area well, and was nowhere near where he had been headed.
I’ll admit, I went into this book not expecting a lot. I wanted to read some other things but my mum asked me to read this book from her library book club so she had someone to talk with (it’s cancelled again the moment as the library’s shut due to COVID-19), so I agreed. I didn’t think it would be bad or that I wouldn’t like it, I just didn’t think it was my type of thing and I wasn’t feeling it particularly.
It was good from the start, it’s pretty easy to get into, the plot is intriguing throughout, so it didn’t take long before I was hooked. After a few chapters though, it went from good to amazing. There were so many hints at mysteries and secrets that I was so desperate to find out the truth I just couldn’t put it down. It is relatively slow paced for a mystery, focusing mostly on the family going about life after Cameron’s death. However, the plot is so clever and intricate that it never feels slow or boring, there are constant small reveals and secrets in between the mundane that make it so addicting.
The setting added the plot so well, it’s set in the outback in Australia where everyone knows everyone, and strangers don’t come by often. The deadliness of the area is put across so well, I could almost feel the heat through the page. It’s very much a plot driven book, so meticulously planned and well executed, that it inspires me to be a better writing. Although it doesn’t focus on beautiful language and storytelling, it is very well written, but the intricacy of the plot is still the stand out aspect for me. The thing I struggle with most in my own writing is planning and subplots, but Jane Harper did it so excellently it’s definitely encouraged me to write more!
Another thing that’s great about this book is that no character is perfect, they’re all a bit damaged and flawed, but so real and relatable and readable. Every character, even the more minor characters, is well developed and the main characters especially are so complex and well written.
Even if it doesn’t seem like your sort of thing I really do recommend giving it a go, it has a bit of everything, intricate plot, great storytelling, mystery, family and a bit of romance. I originally gave it 3.5-3.75/5, but thinking back on it and writing this review I’ve increased my rating to 4. I hope you enjoyed my review!