Book Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Nature 1

Publish Date: February 6, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Individuals can and do make a difference, but it takes a team to really mess things up.” – Unknown

How well do you really know the people you work with?

Force 1

Five women go on a hike. Only four return.

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into the isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?Force 2

5 went up; 4 came down.

This is the Outback hike from HELL.

I work in a corporate world and I can’t imagine spending 4 full days and nights with my female co-workers LOST in the cold, wet, dark, and windy great outdoors with no cell service. And it’s even harder to imagine one of my co-workers or myself missing in the dense woods with no food or shelter. But that’s what happened to a team of BaileyTennant employees.

The story is told from dual timelines – Then, through the events that happened from the start of the hike and leading up to the present; and Now, through the eyes of the investigator Aaron Falk.

Alice Russell is one of the women on the hike, and just happens to be the prime witness into Aaron Falk’s investigation into suspected money laundering at the prestigious BaileyTennants. Her team members have a lot to lose if Alice blows the whistle on them, and the firm. Have they found out about Alice’s new role as The Reluctant Snitch?

Jane Harper’s vivid, atmospheric descriptions of the rough, cold, isolated, wet, and windy Giralang Mountain Range made me want to sit by a warm fire, curl up under a blanket, and sip hot toddys. Her descriptions of the darkness, the canopy of trees, and the feelings of being watched made me shiver. It was downright creepy.

I loved the inside peek into the investigation and understanding what happened during the trek itself. It helps to paint a full picture and sheds light on the truth.

This is a very well written mystery that transported me into the Giralang Range on the hike from hell without having to get cold or get my shoes dirty. I enjoyed reading into the clues and examining each character as a potential suspect. This book would make a great movie plot too.

I like this book better than Jane Harper’s first book, The Dry.  I liked this plot better with the dual timelines, white collar crime aspects, transporting characters out of their comfort zone, the survival mode atmosphere, and the complicated dynamics between the women. I kept wondering what I’d do in this situation of being lost in the woods.

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars 4 Stars

So, what happened to Alice Russell? You’ll need to read this book to find out.

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