Returning to something like normal for book groups is a weird sensation, and when the group in question only met once or twice in person before COVID hit, it’s odder still. However, the Field of Mystery Group got together physically to discuss July’s book, The Late Show, by Michael Connelly and had a good time talking about sexual harassment (if you’ve read the book, you know that is a plot point, and we weren’t just going off on tangents), about commercial fiction and what we like to see in a protagonist in a mystery series. We made comparisons between this book and The Trespasser by Tana French and even got coffee and donuts, before turning to the difficult choice of our book for the month of August.
We ended up choosing The Survivors, by Jane Harper. We’ve already read one of her books in this group, The Dry (and Field Notes Book Group read The Lost Man, also by her — what can I say? She writes terrific books and I like them), enjoyed it and found lots to discuss in the characters, the plot and the atmospheric setting.
The Survivors is also set in Australia, albeit in Tasmania rather in the dry regions of the Outback. Kieran Elliott is filled with guilt for the deaths of his brother and the disappearance of his girlfriend years before. He left his waterfront hometown after that, and began a new life, getting married, becoming a father. He had no desire to return home until circumstances forced his hand. His father was moving to a nursing facility and his mother needed his help with the move. But sleeping dogs don’t always lie, and when a young woman’s body washes up on the shore, long-forgotten secrets come to the fore.
We know how well Harper writes about people facing their pasts, about what happens when people are stuck in a dying town, resenting the people who leave, about grudges held for a long time and what happens to people who carry them. This book hits those themes, so I’m looking forward to a great read.
We’re changing our meeting date from the first Saturday in the month to the evening of the first Tuesday of the month as a way for more people to be able to attend. Copies of the book will be available at the Circulation Desk starting now, and we’ll be meeting in person on Tuesday, August 3, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., so come and join us if you can.