Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Mini Review)

Note: I’ve been reading some 2nd or 3rd books in series lately, and I don’t really know how to review them… So far, I’ve reviewed with the assumption that readers have read the first book or books. I do point out when I think a person could read the book as a stand-alone. Any thoughts on this?

WARNING. Some Major Spoilers Below:

A corporate retreat gone awry. 5 men and 5 women go out in separate groups into the bush for a weekend of team building. 5 men return, but only 4 women struggle back to the trailhead. As the investigation begins, we find many conflicts bubbling under the surface. At the forefront is an ongoing federal investigation into the company’s finances, and Falk and his partner’s source just happens to be the woman who is missing…

Harper tells the story by alternating between the narrative of Falk’s investigation after the fact, and the story of the hiking trip. She has a real knack for ending chapters with cliff hangers to create some great tension.


There was a thread or a line of possibility in the mystery that made me cringe every time it was mentioned. I was very happy that it burned out. To add some good atmosphere, Harper fictionalizes a series of past killings in the area where the hike takes place. That would have been fine, but she adds the serial killer’s son as a possible factor or threat. It’s a somewhat minor part of the book, but it’s a plot device that has been done too many times, and her writing in regards to characters, pacing, and atmosphere is so strong that it wasn’t needed at all. There a sibling rivalry, a teenage bullying conflict, lots of office politics, and the ongoing investigation. All great threads and I was able to focus on them and kind of skim over that son-of-killer stuff…


Overall, a very good addition to the series and a compelling argument to move on to the next book in the series which will be released very soon.

11 thoughts on “Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Mini Review)

Add yours

  1. I quite liked this book.
    The son of the serial killer was never a suspect of mine, but i kinda though “heh, nice try!”.
    I was also surprised by the chemistry between the detective. Didn’t think it was necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is always odd to review a second or third book. I do tend to assume that the crew has read the previous on. That said, I read this review having not read the others. These series keeps enticing me and then not. Thrillers are mostly throwaway reads for me in that they are not me preferred reading material but every now and again I will read one. Interesting review. I still cannot make up me mind. Arrr!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have three or four thriller series I’m in the middle. I usually pick one of them up after a long SFF or nonfiction read. Kind of helps reset my mind after being in an epic land for awhile.

      I think I’ll continue my reviews with that assumption.


  3. I try (and think I’ve been pretty consistent lately) to talk about if it’s necessary to to read the earlier books. But even that is sort of dependent upon the reader.

    Writing about a 2nd or 3rd (or 17th!) installment of a series is tricky, no matter how you slice it. Especially if the author likes cliff-hangers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with all your points. I think I’ll continue to just make the assumption that readers have read the first books and/or point out.

      I also think series can be very different like you pointed out with cliffhangers. Others, it’s just another mission or mystery or assignment, and readers need no prior knowledge at all.


  4. I always figure your audience decreases the higher the number book of the series, and I find my self saying things like “you might want to skip this review if you haven’t read the first book!” which seems like a silly thing for a book blogger to say😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve seen this series around a lot and have yet to see a bad thing being said on it by anyone.

    As for reviews of sequel, I try to be vague in the summary as well and stick to feelings, themes, overall development of things and all instead of speaking of the story in itself since most of the time people haven’t even read the first book when they’re reading my review of the 2nd, 5th or 10th book in the series hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the Australia setting in this series a lot.

      Those are great tips! I’m reading the sequel of the RA Salvatore Child of a Mad God right now and am thinking about how to word my review.

      Liked by 1 person

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