Book Review: Exiles by Jane Harper

I always look forward to Jane Harper’s books and have read them all. Exiles is also the third and last in the Aaron Falk series, so I was keen to read this one.

 A baby is found lying peacefully in her pram at a rural festival but there is no sign of the mother.  Yes, this hooked me immediately.

It’s a year later when we meet Aaron who arrives in the deep wine country of South Australia to attend the christening of his godchild. It also happens to be the twelve-month anniversary since the baby’s mother, Kim Gillespie disappeared and Aaron is drawn into the appeal for information at the very same food and wine festival where she disappeared. Kim Gillespie’s shoe was found in a reservoir and there is speculation about whether it’s suicide, murder or a merely an accident. Aaron becomes engrossed in her close-knit family and friends and he begins to wonder what secrets they’re hiding.

I loved the setting, the wine, the vines and could well envisage the landscape. Harper certainly knows how to paint a picture.

However, I did find the first half quite slow because it was an information dump of backstory and for the life of me, I wondered why she started the story twelve months later. After all, Falk was actually at the festival when Kim disappeared. The time gap added no value that I could see. I really wanted to be in the action from the start not hear about it.

By the time the novel ramped up half way through I was losing interest. There I’ve said it. There was a lot of characters to keep track of and care or not care about. But I persisted to the very satisfactory end. The police work seemed to plod and Falk appeared to be more of a bystander along for the ride. The side plot of his romance dominated more than his interest in the case. But then he’s on leave and why should he care about something that happened a year earlier? His motivation to investigate laboured until finally we got to see his internal musings and questioning of people and events. On the plus side, his romantic life showed more of his vulnerability and his own internal conflicts which I enjoyed.

Not her best but for many, it will be enough.

1 thought on “Book Review: Exiles by Jane Harper

  1. Pingback: The Month that was January 2023 | S.C. Karakaltsas

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