Jane Harper’s Exiles is a slow paced mystery novel with terrific descriptions of both scenery and characters. The setting is the beautiful, remote Australian wine country. The characters are all part of a close-knit community, except for the lead character, Aaron Falk, who is best friends with one of the families. I was immersed in the plot very quickly and couldn’t wait to discover what exactly had happened – I guessed part of the truth, but not all . . .
Inspector Aaron Falk is a dedicated and competent federal officer visiting his friends, the Raco’s, for a week in South Australia. Aaron has been asked to be the godfather to the newest Raco addition. A year before, Kim Gillespie had disappeared from the local festival with few answers. (Kim was part of the Raco extended family.) She is presumed to be dead, but her family still has many questions. Why did she abandon her infant daughter at the festival? Was her disappearance connected to an unsolved hit and run? Did someone kidnap Kim or did her postpartum depression cause her to harm herself?
I loved the depth of this slowly unfolding story. Most of the time, it is told from Aaron Falk’s point of view, and he notices and thinks about every detail. There are present day scenes, but also, flashbacks to events from the past. So many little details are revealed for every character in the story, just adding to the complicated plot. There are many layers to Exiles and it kept me guessing the true outcome until the end!
If you enjoy Exiles, check-out The Dry and Force of Nature by Jane Harper. Aaron Falk’s character got his start in those two books, although all three may be read as stand-alone novels.