Australian author Jane Harper’s 2022 release Exiles once again features federal investigator Aaron Falk. However, in this recent release financial gain does not seem to factor into the disappearance of Kim Gillespie.
The cold case comes to the forefront as the one-year anniversary arrives and a teenager is desperate to locate her missing mom. But Falk has more than one motive for returning to the Maralee Valley Festival. In addition to helping long-time friend Greg Raco and his family find their missing relative, Falk seeks to reconnect with the festival director, a widow still grieving the unexpected loss of her husband-missing and then found dead.
Are the two cases related?
Harper instills great meaning in her titles and Exiles is true to form. Readers of the Aaron Falk series know the background to his ‘exiles’ status. However, the missing mother becomes an exile from her own family. Estrangement from family and friends creates its own form of aloneness. Thus, suicide is a plausible outcome.
However, Harper writes murder mysteries. So, Falk sets out to find the truth behind the disappearance. And the truth should give anyone experiencing alienation from family members great pause. Does that family member really want severed ties? In Gillespie’s case the answer was no. But too often family are blind to reality.
Recommendation for Exiles
Since Jane Harper has been a favorite ever since reading The Dry, naturally I enjoyed Exiles. However, for new readers, her writing style is one that unwinds at a measured pace. The action is tempered by the protagonist’s point of view as well as provoking dialogue and thoughtful character development.
The best part of Harper’s writing are the twists and turns of the plot and yet after the reveal everything falls in place. No loose threads from this talented author. Plus, as alluded to above, Jane Harper gives the reader ‘something’ to think about long after closing the book. I highly recommend Exiles with a caveat that her message may leave anyone with an estranged family member more than just a bit uncomfortable.