Force of Nature [Book Review]

June 12, 2018

Lost in the Australian Bush….what would you do?

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (cover) Image: white text on a background of hills and trees

Genre/Categories: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Australian


Five women go on a hike in the Australian forested wilderness and only four return. As the women grab their backpacks and reluctantly set out, not one of the five women attending this three-day, mandated, corporate, team-building retreat is thrilled about the prospect. When four of the five women emerge from the woods battered and bruised, an investigation is launched to find the fifth woman. Federal agent Falk returns to help the investigation, and the story alternates between the present day investigation and the women’s experiences as the hike unfolded a few days earlier. Was the fifth woman murdered?

Amazon Rating (June): 4.2 stars

My Thoughts:

If you’ve read The Dry, you’ll recognize Jane Harper’s ability to develop intriguing characters and a tangible and distinct sense of place, which in the case of Force of Nature is mountainous, wet, cold, dark, desolate, and windy. Described as an atmospheric thriller, Force of Nature was a just right read for me as a highly sensitive person. There is tension, but not too scary or unbearable. A person is missing, but it’s not overly terrifying for the reader. For me, the most dynamic parts of the story are the complex and strained relationships, the plot-driven story, and the setting.

My only (slight) disappoint is that the romantic in me wished there had been more personal closure for Agent Falk since I am under the impression that his appearances are limited to her first two books. That being said, I did appreciate the “adult” way Falk’s attraction to his colleague was written by Harper; i.e. no YA “insta love” or overly passionate or unrealistic romantic escapades.

Jane Harper is a new author (this is her second work), and I’m confidant I’ll enjoy following her for years to come! Although the two books can be read as stand alones, I think Force of Nature is a richer reading experience if you’ve read The Dry first as it introduces the character and background of Agent Falk. Also, I think The Dry is slightly more suspenseful with more plot twists. However, I rate each book as a solid 4 star read.

Recommended: I recommend Force of Nature for readers who are fans of Jane Harper and The Dry; for fans of atmospheric mysteries and crime fiction; for those who are looking for an undemanding, easy reading yet engaging, well written, and unputdownable vacation read; for readers who are looking for reads with limited profanity, violence, etc; for readers who might have visited the Giralang Range of Australia; and for book clubs. Jane Harper’s second work is on par with her first, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

My Rating: 4 Atmospheric Stars


Force of Nature

Force of Nature Information Here

Meet the Author, Jane Harper

Jane HarperJane Harper’s debut novel The Dry is an atmospheric thriller set in regional Australia.
The novel won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2015 and rights have since been sold in more than 20 territories.
The Dry was a No.1 bestseller in Australia and has been optioned for a film by Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea’s production company, Pacific Standard.
Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne with her family.


Have you read Force of Nature or is it on your TBR?
Have you read The Dry?

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Links For Summer Reading:

More about summer reading for children in this link: The Ardent Biblio: How to Design a Summer Reading Program For Your Kids

In case you missed it: my post highlighting some diverse reading recommendations for MG children here.

Looking Ahead:

Us Against YouFriday, I’ll review Backman’s new release Us Against You……sequel to Beartown.

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  1. “Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children” an absolutely delightful book that has inspired me to continue writing to my grandchildren. Also, “The House at Pooh Corner” A. A. Milne. I’m looking for Pooh “wisdom” and examples of friendship to share with my 21 grands. Pooh is timeless and we can all learn from him and his friends.

    • Wonderful reading selections! The Roosevelt book is not on my radar…I’ll check it out! Thanks so much for commenting.

  2. […] Force of Nature by Jane Harper Genre: Crime Fiction (stand alone….you do not have to have read The Dry before reading her second book). This title was on my Spring TBR and I’m still on the library wait list). ***Update: Solid read. 4 stars. Falk continues as a main character in this atmospheric mystery set in the isolated woods of Australia, and I enjoyed it just as much as The Dry. Force of Nature Review Here. […]

  3. Hi – I also read The Dry and agree with you that I think it was slightly more suspenseful. I think I will continue to read Jane Harper’s books. Thanks for the review!

      • Yes, I haven’t read The Lost Man and I see that she has a new one, The Survivors. We’ve read the first 2 for our mystery book club at the library where I work.

      • I was disappointed that only books 1 & 2 involve Agent Falk. I had hoped he would be a carryover character.

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