First Chapter First Paragraph: The Dry

eca8f-fistchapEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros to share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or is planning to read soon.

This week’s first paragraph is from The Dry  by Jane Harper, her debut novel, which has received many accolades and is shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger award. The Gold Dagger is awarded to the best crime novel of the year.

The Dry


It wasn’t as though the farm hadn’t seen death before, and the blow flies didn’t discriminate. To them there was little difference between a carcass and a corpse.

The drought had left the flies spoiled for choice that summer. They sought out unblinking eyes and sticky wounds as the farmers of Kierwarra levelled their rifles at skinny livestock. No rain meant no feed. And no feed made for difficult decisions as the tiny town shimmered under day after day of burning blue sky.

Chapter One

Even those who didn’t darken the door of the church from one Christmas to the next could tell there would be more mourners than there were seats. A bottleneck of black and grey was already forming at the entrance as Aaron Falk drove up, trailing a cloud of dust and cracked leaves.



I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

It’s not only shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger it has also received:

  • The Gold Australian Book Industry Award for Book of the Year
  • Australian Book Industry Award for Fiction Book of the Year
  • Waterstones Thriller of the Month
  • The Simon Mayo Radio 2 Book Club Choice
  • Sunday Times Crime Thriller of the Month

What do you think?  Would you continue reading? 

When a book receives so much praise I’m sometimes sceptical and avoid a book for a while at least. But with The Dry I think that I’d just be sticking my head in the sand. I’ll be reading it very soon.

9 thoughts on “First Chapter First Paragraph: The Dry

  1. I’m excited you’re reading this, Margaret. As you say, it’s gotten lots of acclaim, and it’s coming up very soon on my TBR list. So I’m eager to know what you think of it.


  2. I really do want to read this one as like you, I’ve heard great things and it sounds just like the kind of read. Love the imagery of the mourners piling into the church following the murders.


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