I am beyond thrilled to be one of the stops on the Force of Nature blog tour for Jane Harper’s latest story! Welcome to Hel.. Sunday’s post!
This unbiased review is my huge thanks to Little Brown UK and Kimberley for including me in this blog tour!
Title: Force of Nature
Author: Jane Harper
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Date of publication: Feb 2018
Number of pages: 400
FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…
Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.
Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.
The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.
Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.
Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.
We hear a lot about building team spirit. Companies love the idea of reinforcing bonds between their employees to get the best of them. I am not against the idea. I can spend a day playing water sports or cardboard games. But going on a three-days hike? Count me out! No matter how charming they make it sound (or rather how “important” if you don’t want to take the door), I’d rather eat my weight in Brussels sprouts than to sacrifice precious days out in the wild life with people I am not sure I would trust with a stapler in a perfectly safe open space.
Yet, when I put the book down, it felt as I had actually been on a hike. A very special one! Force of Nature is my first Jane Harper story, and it surely won’t be my last, even though it has reinforced my paranoid side!
Ten people at the starting line. Nine make it back. I’m not a math genius but when the book offered me this problem to solve, I shivered, both with dread and excitement. This feeling never left me, thanks to the different narrations and the coming back and forth in time element that only enhanced the experience of the entire story. Don’t expect a chapter to release tension and leave you breathe for a while. Every part is filled with life in all its form.
He was reminded of an old proverb. Something about trying to catch feathers scattered in the wind.
The search, of course. Thorough, realistic, scary. I could imagine the breaking news on my TV, I imagined myself stuck in the middle of nowhere, a hundred scenarios ran through my mind as I read, helped by the fact we don’t truly get the missing person’s point of view, rather an outsider’s take on what happens, what is felt or not, and how things look like. The author masterfully plays with her characters, like pawns on a very icy chess game. Each chapter is devoured like a TV show scene; details, snippets of information you don’t understand, human dynamics you must decipher as if your own life depended on it. I was breathless, climbing a mountain of questions and doubts.
Force of Nature. The more I walked into the story, the better I understood the title. Jane Harper, using a sample of ten people and their close outside connections, gives you the ugly truth about human nature. Is it really a force? Have we actually grown out of those primal needs and fears our ancestors and animals live with? When faced with the worst, how would YOU react? I am not talking about the impact of one incident, but the accumulation of tiny things; stinging remarks, looks exchanged, whispered words, exhaustion. When mother nature decides to crash the party, too, you can be sure masks fall and anything can turn into a weapon.
Everything starts to look the same after a few days, makes it hard to trust what you’re seeing.
Force of Nature is one hell of a book. I mean it. I am not very brave, and this book reminded why I prefer to stay home with books and vicariously live through the safety of my pages. I don’t dread nightmares, vampires, or snakes. Our biggest enemy is ourselves. What we are, what we become, how life shapes us and how it affects every part of our body and mind. Every word in Force of Nature hurts, stings, gives you goosebumps, reminds you of things done or not done, of regrets and mistakes, of decisions taken too soon, or not taken at all. Jane Harper dissects her little human beings, throws in a terrible old crime story, two unconventional cops to spice things up, and give you the fright of your life.
‘I don’t know. Maybe we can’t help who we are. Maybe we’re born a certain way and there’s nothing you can do about it.’
You can get the book on Amazon or your favorite place!
And take a look at the tour… If you want to know!