Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?
When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.
But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?
*Sigh* I was so looking forward to this book. I LOVED The Dry. Definitely consider it one of the best books I read last year. I could not wait to get my hands on this. I set aside an entire day just to read it. So it's possible I had some serious expectations that Force of Nature just couldn't match.
It is a fast-paced read with an intriguing premise. I finished it in one day (about six hours). The point-of-view shifts between Aaron Falk and chapters dedicated to each of the women on the hiking trip. There is still a good puzzle to put together with many red herrings, but the characters never fully materialized and became relatable for me. In the beginning, I had a hard time keeping the women apart.
As the story continued, the plot twists are more perplexing than surprising. And it's really hard to imagine this scenario playing out in real life. They dump these inexperienced campers in the middle of the Australian wilderness (or bush, or whatever the heck they call it) with no way to call for help? What if someone breaks an arm? They're just supposed to make a sling out of an extra t-shirt and grit their teeth through the pain for the next three days? There would definitely be more safe guards in place for these women.
I've done some weird stuff in the name of team building. Walking around an auditorium full of teachers, tying yarn onto other people's string necklaces as I told them how much I appreciated them comes to mind. But even they never sent us out camping without so much as a flare gun.
I kept reading because I wanted it to all come together. I wanted to see the pieces fall into place and get hit with that brilliant twist of a finale. Unfortunately, it was a twist, but not a wholly unpredictable one. The clues were telegraphed to the reader way before the action.
And (without giving away spoilers) the subplot with Aaron just held zero interest for me this time.
So, the book was okay. Not great. Not terrible. Interesting enough to keep me reading on a lazy afternoon. Not something I'll still be talking about weeks from now, but I still enjoyed the writing style and will pick up another book by Jane Harper.