Mini book review: ‘Force of Nature’ by Jane Harper

There is something about the Australian landscape that inspires the imagination of readers.  Jane Harper has taken full advantage of this with her renowned Outback Noir novels, and Force of Nature is typically compulsive.

At the heart of the story is a company teambuilding exercise gone dreadfully wrong. Five women are dispatched by their employer on a hike through the Victorian bush.  Only four of them return.  Missing is corporate gladiator turned whistleblower, Alice Russell.  Naturally, the police wonder what the other women have done with her. 

Harper evokes the claustrophobic world of the novel with economical prose and believable, layered characters. She shows a deep understanding of the complexities of human relationships, delving into tensions beneath the surface.  The primal fears of readers are skillfully played upon by the insinuation, if not the revelation, of horror.