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The Lost Man

Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781250105684. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250105691. SUSPENSE
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Cameron Bright's body is found in a remote part of his family's cattle ranch in western Australia; his car, which was stocked with supplies and in perfect working order, is parked nine kilometers away. With no sign of foul play, the police conclude that he simply chose to walk into the desert to his death. Cam's brother Nathan isn't so sure. Cam had a thriving business, employees who respected him, a wonderful family, and seemingly everything to live for. But if it wasn't suicide, what happened? The difficulties of being three hours from the nearest town are exacerbated for Nathan, who lives alone on the neighboring ranch, sometimes going without human contact for weeks at a time. The reasons for Nathan's isolation are revealed gradually and enhance readers' understanding of both the community and the individual. As with Harper's previous books (The Dry; Force of Nature), the Australian landscape looms large, and it's difficult to imagine the events in this novel playing out the same way anywhere else.
VERDICT Even if readers guess why Cam died, they're likely to be kept guessing the how and the who until the end. Recommended for fans of the author and of mysteries set in rural communities. [See Prepub Alert, 8/13/18.]

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