The highly anticipated fifth novel from ‘Australian queen of crime’ author Jane Harper, Exiles, hit the shelves in the UK on 2 February. Arriving with great fanfare, it’s now been hailed ‘book of the month’ by The Times.
Description: At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds. A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family. Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.
“This is a slow-burner of a novel,” writes The Times crime fiction editor Mark Sanderson. “The first 300 pages, more concerned with backstory than forward progression, give the misleading impression that nothing is happening. In fact, Jane Harper is laying the foundations of a very clever plot that is built on character rather than carnage; not just the intriguing character of Falk, but the characters of everyone affected by Kim’s assumed death. Only a writer sure of her considerable abilities would dare to proceed so leisurely, embedding clues and red herrings, so that the final 100 pages are thrilling and devastating.”
Exiles is about the corrosive power of guilt, the little decisions that ultimately add up “to something so much bigger” and the things people will do for love. As for Falk, whose swan song this is, the workaholic is once again faced with the possibility of romance. It is impossible not to wish him well.