cover image The Survivors

The Survivors

Jane Harper. Flatiron, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-23242-7

Sydney physiotherapist Kieran Elliott, the protagonist of this elegiac suspense novel from bestseller Harper (The Lost Man), has steeled himself for an emotionally turbulent visit to his hometown of Evelyn Bay, Tasmania, where he has returned to help his mother pack up the family home before his dementia-afflicted father moves into a nursing facility. Then the murder of college student Bronte Laidler, who had been spending her summer break creating art inspired by the area’s rugged coast, upsets the town. While locals profess that Bronte’s killer must be an outsider, many start wondering—as do the police—whether there’s any connection to a tragedy involving Kieran that tore apart the community 12 years earlier. That Kieran’s father may have been wandering on the beach the night of the murder raises the stakes. The distinctively Aussie array of stoic characters who are weathered, and in some cases warped, by their uncompromising environment more than compensates for a denouement that feels psychologically false. Harper expertly weaves past guilts with present grief. She remains a writer to watch. [em]Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Feb.) [/em]