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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


Series: Aaron Falk #3

Narrator: Stephen Shanahan

ISBN: 978-1250235350

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Publication Date: 01/31/2023

Format: Audio 🎧

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)


“Once again Harper proves that she is peerless in creating an avalanche of suspense with intimate, character-driven set pieces...Harper’s legions of fans will exult in reading Exiles.”

—David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Federal Investigator Aaron Falk is on his way to a small town deep in Southern Australian wine country for the christening of an old friend's baby. But mystery follows him, even on vacation.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Kim Gillespie's disappearance. One year ago, at a busy town festival on a warm spring night, Kim safely tucked her sleeping baby into her stroller, then vanished into the crowd. No one has seen her since. When Kim's older daughter makes a plea for anyone with information about her missing mom to come forward, Falk and his old buddy Raco can't leave the case alone.

As Falk soaks up life in the lush valley, he is welcomed into the tight-knit circle of Kim’s friends and loved ones. But the group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, the missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge. What would make a mother abandon her child? What happened to Kim Gillespie?

My Review

Bestselling Australian author Jane Harper returns with her popular series Aaron Falk (The Dry and Force of Nature) in this third installment—EXILES A captivating mystery of a missing mother from the previous year and another possible connected case. Are the two related?

Rich in character and place, Harper fans and Falk fans will be glued to the pages!

The book covers three timeframes:

A week in the present

A year earlier

Three years later

Told from multiple POVs, mainly of Aaron Falk, the seasoned, capable Australian Federal Police financial crimes investigator.

Set in the small South Australian rural town of Marralee near Adelaide. The opening of the Marralee Valley Annual Food and Wine Festival and Falk has arrived as the godfather of his friend Raco’s son, Henry, for the christening.

There are unsolved mysteries in the town. The year before, a mother had gone missing, leaving her baby in a pram at the festival, and six years earlier, a dad was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The mother’s daughter Zara and the man’s son Joel have joined forces to try and get some answers.

Aaron was in this same town the previous year, when thirty-nine-year-old Kim Gillespie, went missing from the Marralee Valley Food and Wine Festival, an annual event.

Kim Gillespie disappeared from the festival without a trace, leaving her six-week-old daughter alone in a stroller. A staffer discovered the unattended child, and authorities initiated an unsuccessful search.

Kim was thought to be suffering from depression, and it was assumed she committed suicide by jumping into the reservoir near the rear entrance of the festival. But her body was never found.

A year later, with the festival, family and friends want everyone to come together to try and solve this mystery. Maybe someone knows something they overlooked.

Raco, the law enforcement officer with another agency and the uncle of Gillespie's teenage daughter, has continued investigating Kim's disappearance. Aaron is on leave and agrees to help.

In addition to Kim's disappearance, there is unsolved hit-and-run traffic, taking the life of another town resident, Dean Tozer. Are the two cases related?

In addition to the cases, Falk has a relationship (or working on it) with Tozer's widow, Gemma. He met her in Melbourne months earlier.

Who committed the murders? Was it the same person? Motive?

There is much going on and Exiles is a slow burn; however, the author brings everything to light through the satisfying twisty conclusion.

From past to present, we are given clues and what Falk is thinking. The past must be brought to light. Fully immersive, a complex mix of family drama, detective, murder, cop procedural, and crime suspense mystery.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Stephen Shanahan for an engaging performance for all voices. Highly recommend the audiobook.

Thank you to #MacmillanAudio and #NetGalley for a gifted ALC. #SMPInfluencers

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 31, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


“Once again Harper proves that she is peerless in creating an avalanche of suspense with intimate, character-driven set pieces that are as exquisitely engineered as the inner workings of a Steinway. Harper’s legions of fans will exult in reading Exiles.”

―David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Another all-consuming mystery from Harper...Fans will relish Falk’s intuitive “spider sense” moments here, and they will be amazed at the simultaneously shocking and tender ending.”

―Booklist, starred review

“With this book, Harper may well have given her legions of readers exactly what they have been waiting for: a beautifully observed crime novel about regional life featuring the reticent and endearing federal policeman, Aaron Falk...Quietly and inevitably, the secrets and deceptions are unraveled as Falk finds himself deftly woven into the weft of this small community. In Exiles, Falk may at last have come home.”

―Sydney Morning Herald

“Stellar…Writing at the top of her game, Harper effectively uses whodunit tropes to explore her characters’ hidden lives. Readers interested in literate and nuanced mysteries will be eager to see more of Falk.”

―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An outstanding crime novel, rich in mystery and atmosphere and full of heart. Utterly immersive, captivating and beautifully written; I lost myself completely within its pages and was bereft when it ended. Jane Harper is a rare jewel of an author and Exiles deserves to be huge. It blew me away. It's my book of the year so far.”

―C L Taylor, Sunday Times bestselling author

“Jane Harper has once again produced an ingenious, moving and hugely satisfying mystery. This is crime writing perfection.”

― C. M. Ewan, #1 internationally bestselling author

“Fine writing and addictive storytelling.”

―Ann Cleeves, New York Times bestselling author

“A truly wonderful read. Rich in detail, landscape and character and deeply satisfying on all levels.”

―Sarah Hilary, award-winning author

“The kind of crime novel you move into rather than just reading it - a wholly absorbing set of mysteries, a cast of characters that feels entirely real and a setting so vivid you can practically smell the breeze through the bushland. Aaron Falk is the still center of the novel, a quiet presence like no other in crime fiction. Exceptional in every way.”

―Jane Casey, author of the Maeve Kerrigan novels

About the Author

Jane Harper is the author of bestsellers The Dry, Force of Nature, The Lost Man, The Survivors and Exiles. Her books are published in 40 territories worldwide, with more than 3.5 million copies sold to date.

Jane has won numerous awards for writing, including the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year and the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year.

The major motion picture adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana as Aaron Falk, took more than $20.5m at the Australian box office ahead of release dates overseas.

The latest...

Jane's fifth novel, Exiles, debuted at No.1 on Australia's bestseller charts on its release in September. It will be out in the United States and Canada on January 31.

The film adaptation of Force of Nature is in the final stages of production after being filmed in regional Victoria over winter. Bana is joined by Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as Alice Russell, Deborra-lee Furness (Jindabyne) as Jill Bailey, Robin McLeavy (Homeland) as Lauren, Sisi Stringer (Mortal Kombat) as Beth, Lucy Ansell (Utopia) as Bree and Jacqueline McKenzie (Romper Stomper) as Agent Carmen Cooper. WEBSITE







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