Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Exiles by Jane Harper
Narrator: Stephen Shanahan
Published by MacMillan Audio on January 30, 2023
Length: 12 hours, 25 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds.
A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.
Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems.
Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.
I’ve been enjoying the Aaron Falk series with the Australian cultural aspects along with an odd sort of police procedural. Falk is a federal police for financial cases. He works in Melbourne. But all of the cases in the series are when he is out visiting in the region where he grew up. The series has taken place over six years or so. In Dry, he went to his hometown as one of his close friends had died. He worked the case with a new policeman in the town and developed a true friendship which has continued.
In Exiles, Aaron is back to become the godfather of his friend’s child. The christening was supposed to take place a year ago, but the day before Kim, the ex-wife of his friend’s brother had disappeared. It’s the start of the festival, as it was last year, and Kim’s daughter, Zara, is appealing to everyone for any information of when they saw Kim.
Aaron is also considering a relationship with a local woman, Gemma who runs the festival. Her husband, Dean, was killed in a hit and run about 5 years ago, and it hasn’t been solved. Her stepson, Joel lives with her, and along with Zara, the teenagers look for answers to the loss of their parents.
I enjoyed the mix of two mysteries that Aaron pondered and gathered evidence, although he is not law enforcement here. These aren’t even his work’s type of crime. There is also the true friendship he has formed with this circle of people and the building relationship with Gemma. He has had a lot of personal growth over the books, dealing with the murder of a friend when he was a teen, which lead to leaving the small town and moving to Melbourne. This strained his relationship with his father, who later died of cancer.
For readers, there are flashbacks to Kim and her thoughts sporadically, but Aaron doesn’t have that information. He didn’t really know her at all. Kim had remarried and was out of touch with this long-standing group of friends. Somehow Aaron looks at all the pieces in Kim’s disappearance and with Dean, and gradually puts things together. I had other ideas but eventually Aaron narrowed in to the suspects.
I love seeing another culture, the close friends and family group, and Aaron’s personal development. I hope there will be more.
This narrator seems to narrate all the books by Jane Harper. I had listened to the first two books from the library, as well as The Survivors last year so I was familiar with his voice. The voices sounded well for the region, both male and female voices were comfortable. The first time I listened to this narrator I listened more slowly but now I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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