New crime fiction: Mystery of Jane Harper’s novel holds until final pages

Plus new thrills from Andrew Martin, Rachel Ryan, Will Dean and Patricia Highsmith

‘Jane Harper’s new novel The Survivors exhibits all the qualities that make her such a compelling writer.’ Photograph:  Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

‘Jane Harper’s new novel The Survivors exhibits all the qualities that make her such a compelling writer.’ Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

“It wasn’t fair to say Evelyn Bay was a place where nothing ever happened – things did, of course; ask anyone who had been there for the storm. But not often, and not whatever this was.”

This was the death by drowning of Bronte, an art student from Canberra who stays in the out of season Tasmania resort town to work on a project and waitress at the Surf and Turf. The storm is what Kieran Elliot, returned from Sydney with partner, Mia, and baby to see his ageing parents, cannot forget: the day his brother and a friend drowned, deaths for which many in the town think Kieran bears culpability; the day his girlfriend’s younger sister disappeared. As questions begin to be asked about the behaviour of Kieran’s friends Ash and Sean, and of his dementia afflicted father, Brian, the investigation inevitably takes on a retrospective focus.

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