Feeling like a bit of dark crime fiction but slightly over Nordic noir? I have found the Antipodean antidote: The Dry by Jane Harper is a really good crime story set in the umpteenth year of Australia’s cruel and unusual drought. The sun is shining all the time, the air is shimmering with heat, the glare hurts your eyes and people are getting fed up. This debut is tightly plotted and compelling, I thought the characters were very believable, and I want to read her next one…
When a young man, the golden boy of his small rural town, breaks and kills his family and himself an already fragile calm is shattered. When the funeral brings a face from the past back to town things and people start to come unstuck as old mysteries are revisited, wounds reopened and secrets revealed.
Harper captures the long-held tensions of life in a small town where everyone pretty much knows everything but no-one speaks about any of it, layered with the merciless drought which threatens lives and livelihoods. The drought hangs over the land and the people like a magnifying glass over ants and the dust covers everything.
So very not Nordic then.