About the Book:
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.
The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.
Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.
When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away….
Jane Harper is an immensely popular mystery writer, so I was excited to listen to an audiobook of The Survivors, a crime mystery set in a the fictional Australian coastal town of Evelyn Bay. The wild Tasmanian coastal setting is stunning and the book is very atmospheric.
There are two mysteries at the heart of this novel. Kieren has returned to town with his partner Mia and their baby to help his aging parents. He is not warmly welcomed by everyone as he was involved in a terrible tragedy many years before that claimed the life of his brother and two others. Kieren has felt enormous guilt over the boating accident and others blame him as well. Old tensions rise to the surface when another young woman named Bronte suddenly disappears.
The book is told in flashbacks as Kieran recalls the events of his youth. While I really enjoyed the Australian narrator of the audiobook, and felt he added authenticity to the story, I felt his lack of infection sometimes made the flashbacks a little confusing. It was difficult to keep the events in order. I would venture to say this might be better read than listened to only because there is a large cast of characters to keep track of.
The title of the book has dual meanings because it refers not only to a monument in the town honoring an old shipwreck, but also to the survivors of the youthful tragedy that has affected Kieren and other families in Evelyn Bay.
Many readers rave about Jane Harper and her books The Lost Man and The Dry. While I didn’t fully connect with The Survivors, I loved the beautiful Australian beach setting and the twisty ending. This is a slow burn mystery that takes it time to reach its conclusion, and will definitely please fans of the crime mystery genre.
(Thank you to the publisher for an advanced listening copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)