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The Survivors by Jane Harper
Mystery

The Survivors

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Jane Harper

Excellent choice

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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

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle

    Puzzle

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy

    Creepy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unsettling

    Unsettling

Synopsis

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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Survivors.
The Survivors

Prologue

She could—almost—have been one of The Survivors.

Standing there, outlined by the weak light, her back turned and the salt water lapping at her feet. Then she moved. Just a small shift in weight and the in-out of breath, but enough to break the illusion before it was fully formed.

She was still looking away, focused on something he couldn’t make out in the dark. Somewhere, a wave broke and the sea surged, fresh and cold against his own legs as it fizzed white around her bare calves. He watched as she reached down with her free hand and gathered her skirt hem above her knees. The air was filled with a fine haze and her T-shirt clung to her back and her waist.

The sea swelled again, and this time the drag of the undertow was strong enough that he took a step toward her. She didn’t notice. Her face was tilted down, the silver chain of her necklace glinting against her collarbone as she leaned forward to examine something in the water. She dropped her skirt hem as the tide rushed out again, and lifted a hand to sweep aside her ponytail, which had fallen over one shoulder. It was heavy from the sea spray. A single strand of hair had caught in the corner of her mouth and she brushed it free, her fingertips running across her lips. A tightness spread across his chest and shoulders.

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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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Member ratings (33,417)

  • John T.

    New York, NY

    “Slow burn “ & “Atmospheric” usually signal boring to me, but I took a chance with The Survivors. So glad I did. Complex, honest relationships with meticulously believable twists made this one shine.

  • Tami F.

    Newton, IA

    Moved slow at the beginning. Not creepy or scary. More of a ‘who done it’. The last 100 pages finally get pretty intense! So many suspects! Who killed these two girls 12 years apart? You’ll be shocked

  • Dylan S.

    Lakewood, CO

    I will say I’ve tried reading a previous book by this author and couldn’t get into it. But I’m so glad I gave her another shot! This book was phenomenal! So vivid. Spooky sea side mystery for one, pls

  • Sarah K.

    Hatboro, PA

    Absolutely loved this from start to finish. Great twists and turns that make you guess until the end but also not totally random to make you say “the heck did i just read?!” ⭐️⭐️✨⭐️⭐️

  • Melissa J.

    Plainview, NE

    This was a yet again another amazing read from BOTM. I was sucked into the story and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in two days. I didn’t see the ending coming at all and really felt for Kierian.

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