#BookReview: EXILES by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @panmacmillan

Publication: 2nd February 2023 – Macmillan

A mother disappears from a busy festival on a warm spring night.

Her baby lies alone in the pram, her mother’s possessions surrounding her, waiting for a return which never comes.

A year later, Kim Gillespie’s absence still casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations on a rare break from work is federal investigator Aaron Falk, who begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.

As he looks into Kim’s case, long-held secrets and resentments begin to come to the fore, secrets that show that her community is not as close as it appears.

Falk will have to tread carefully if he is to expose the dark fractures at its heart, but sometimes it takes an outsider to get to the truth…

An outstanding novel, a brilliant mystery and a heart-pounding read from the author of The Dry, Force of Nature, The Lost Man and The Survivors.



Exiles is the third and sadly last novel featuring Aaron Falk, a financial investigator with the Australian Federal Police. 

In this novel, he’s travelled to Marralle, in South Australian, for the christening of the son of his friend Greg Raco, a police colleague. This is the second time Falk is in Marralee for the christening. A year earlier, it had been delayed following the mysterious disappearance of Kim Gillespie. Kim went to the local food festival with her family, never to be seen again, leaving her 6-week-old daughter unattended.

A year later, there are still no developments in her disappearance and her teenage daughter Zara is convinced that something is not right because her mother would have never left her baby alone. In occasion of the one-year anniversary of the disappearance, Zara makes an appeal during the festival hoping to jog people’s memory and find out what happened to her. Zara is not the only one thinking that something is not right in Kim’s disappearance. Even though Falk had never met Kim in person, he remembers the night of her disappearance and he senses that something is missing.

Exiles is a slow-paced, gripping read and I couldn’t put it down. I have always liked the character of Aaron Falk and in this last book he is quite busy not only trying to solve Kim’s disappearance, but also a six-year-old hit-and-run. The two crimes seem unrelated, but he thinks that there is something going on in the closed community of Marralle where everyone knows each other since they were children. Falk is empathetic and a good listener and everyone seem to want to confide in him. He analyses and rethink his relationship with his father and how his job has completely taken over his life. We also see a romantic side of him that I don’t think we have seen in the previous books. I really enjoyed his relationship with Emma and, like other characters in the book, I rooted for them.

The descriptions of the Australian wilderness are beautiful, vivid, and detailed and the characters are well-developed and intriguing.

I really enjoyed Exiles and I am sorry that this is the last book featuring the character of Aaron Falk, but I liked how everything turned out for him and how the mysteries were resolved. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Jane Harper is the author of four internationally bestselling Australian mysteries, including The Dry. Her books are published in 40 territories and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year and the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year. The 2021 movie adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana, is one of the highest grossing Australian films of all time.

Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years in both Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter and son.

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