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The Survivors by Jane Harper

The Survivors

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by Jane Harper
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Quick take

Home sweet home? Well, not exactly. This eerie seaside town is burdened by secrets, storms, and an unsolved murder.

Good to know

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    Slow build

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unsettling



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...

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Why I love it

One thing I’ve learned from reading scripts is that good writers—of screenplays and novels alike—pay attention to plot above all else. Another thing I’ve learned is that great writers introduce you to an unforgettable cast of characters at the same time. In The Survivors, Jane Harper demonstrates her ability to be a great writer. I enjoyed turning the pages of her latest watertight story, but what I really liked was getting to know Kieran, Mia, and the other characters who bring it to life.

When the book opens, Kieran, his girlfriend Mia, and their baby are staying in the small coastal town where he grew up, visiting family. The mood is already uneasy—Kieran left home after school and doesn’t return often—but then immediately becomes worse when a body washes up on the beach. When a police investigation is opened, painful memories that Kieran has long tried to suppress come roaring back. Meanwhile, a murderer remains at large, and may even be closer than Kieran and his community suspect.

This is a powerful story with all the best mystery elements: family secrets, a trail of clues, and conflicting accounts of “whodunit.” But it’s also a powerful story about forgiveness, regret, and how life-or-death moments subtly shape our identities for decades to come. All the while, the tension builds towards an unforgettable ending, like the gradual coming of an imposing tide. Make this your Book of the Month!

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