The Survivors [Book Review]

February 3, 2021

The Survivors by Jane Harper

The Survivors by Jane Harper (cover) Image: a blue toned view of a beach and low cliffs

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Atmospheric Mystery, Family Secrets, Siblings

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Thanks, #NetGalley for a complimentary listening arc of #TheSurvivors upon my request. All opinions are my own.


Kieran Elliott returns home with his wife and baby to the small (fictional) coastal community of Evelyn Bay in Tasmania where he grew up and where his parents still live. While he comes home to visit his parents and to help them, he isn’t expecting a body to be discovered on the beach. This turn of events threatens to expose secrets he’s kept securely hidden for years about the night his brother, Finn, died.

a bay in Tasmania

Wineglass Bay on the Tasmanian Coast

My Thoughts:

Atmospheric Mysteries: If you’ve read Jane Harper, you know that she has a reputation for writing atmospheric mysteries: The Dry, Force of Nature, and The Lost ManThe Survivors follows in this tradition (although I find the mysteries somewhat more compelling in her other stories). In Harper’s stories, the setting becomes a character, and in The Survivors, we are treated to a fictional coastal setting complete with dangerous caves, rising tides, salty ocean spray, plenty of sand, and sudden storms.

Duel Timelines: In The Survivors, there is a past and present timeline with a tragic death in each. The earlier timeline takes place when Kieran is a teenager/young adult, and the present timeline takes place when he returns as a married, family man. Will solving the case of the body on the beach in the present, solve the mystery in the past?

What I love: Harper writes an easy-to-read story with complicated characters and a vivid setting. I’m also here for the family drama.

I wish: It strikes me that Harper sacrifices some descriptive, atmospheric storytelling, and tension buildup for dialogue in this story. I wish there had been a little less dialogue. This ultimately falls under personal preference though! Also, for readers who have read her first two books, I do miss Agent Falk and I hoped he would continue to make appearances!

Themes: Thoughtful themes include friendships, aging parents, loss of a child, grief, guilt, secrets/misunderstandings, and small-town community.

Recommended: I can definitely recommend The Survivors for fans of Jane Harper, for readers who love a well-written mystery, for those who might be familiar with Tasmania, and for book clubs.

Content Consideration: grief over the loss of a grown child and brother

My Rating:  4 Stars


The Survivors by Jane Harper (cover) a blue toned picture of a coast with small cliffs

The Survivors Information Here

Meet the Author, Jane Harper

Author 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.


Is The Survivors on your TBR or have you read it?
Have you read a Jane Harper book?

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

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