Exiles by Jane Harper
1/31/23; 368 pages
Aaron Falk #3
Exiles by Jane Harper is the very highly recommended procedural and the third installment of the series featuring Aaron Faulk.
Set in Southern Australian wine country, Australian Federal
Investigator Aaron Falk is going to the christening of a friend's
baby and the festival on the weekend that marks the one year anniversary
of Kim Gillespie's disappearance at the town of Marralee's food and
wine festival. Thirty-nine-year-old Kim had tucked her five-week-old
sleeping baby into her stroller and then vanished into the festival
crowd, never to be seen again.
Now, a year later, Kim's older teenage daughter, Zara, and Falk's
friend Greg Raco have asked him to look into the case as they ask anyone
at this year's festival with more information to come forward. As he
looks into the case, questions begin to emerge. What
happened to Kim Gilles? What would make a mother abandon her child?
Exiles is an excellent addition to the procedural series, following The Dry and Force of Nature.
Although you can read them as stand-alone novels, they are better read
as part of the series. The novel sets an atmospheric, thoughtful,
deliberate pace as both the setting and the investigation are carefully
explored. There are plenty of suspects and motives within the narrative
as the secrets and evidence is disclosed. The narrative unfolds in three
timelines: a year previously, a week in the present, and three years in
Harper is an exceptional writer and pays equal attention to the development of her characters as she does to the investigational part of the procedural. The characters are all fully realized, complex individuals, with established backstories. Falk is the narrator of almost all of the novel, which gives his character by far the most depth and complexity. His voice is already the main focal point of the narrative.
There is actually more than one mystery that begs to be solved in Exiles. Clues
are present as the narrative unfolds and careful readers will
appreciate the challenge and the presentation. This is an excellent
third novel in the series and rumor has it the final Aaron Falk. This is
an excellent ending to the series if that is the case.