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The Survivors by Jane Harper

“I have enjoyed Jane Harper’s other crime fiction, and this was no different.  Although it took me a little time to adjust to the dialogue, I was soon drawn in by the story and the novel is well plotted with good characterisation.  Even when you think you know where the plot will take you, it is never quite what you think. There was just enough of the story revealed at each stage to keep me interested without being frustratingly slow to gather depth and detail, with the pace picking up as more and more facts came to light. Some very perceptive insights into the different ways in which grief manifests itself, and the consequences of leaving things unsaid. “

“An easy read although a little bit too much dialogue for me. I could visualise the scenery and the setting.  There were some good twists to the plot and I didn’t suspect the reveal. I enjoyed it.”

“There were some lovely observations and it was refreshing to have a male character showing an understanding of his partner’s fear of the dark and worries about her personal safety.  Very good description of the chaos in the lives of Kieran’s parents. The characters were well drawn but I found there were too many which reduced the sense of jeopardy a bit for me. The pace was a bit stop-start. It didn’t blow me away but it was very well-written. You could put it down and come back to it without losing your sense of the story which is a compliment to her writing.”

“I really, really enjoyed it and am now reading another novel by the same author. Wasn’t too easy a read but it was very readable and it wasn’t too predictable. I liked the setting and really got the feeling of the place – the caves, the beach, and the treacherous sea, although I found it hard to visualise the Survivors. I didn’t guess what was coming. I enjoyed the number and range of characters – felt it gave a sense of a small-town community with everyone knowing everyone and how those who leave come back to find nothing has changed. It’s quite a sad story with some very good observations.”

“I enjoyed the layers of the relationships and it very much fitted my idea of a small town resort in out of season. It made me very aware of how not talking about something can become a much bigger issue further down the line and it made me think about the consequences of all the things that were never said. It made me reflect even when I wasn’t actually reading the book. I imagined the Survivors as being like an Anthony Gormley installation so that was quite a strong image for me. Overall I thought the characters were realistic and the novel was well-written.”

“I didn’t enjoy it. The storyline wasn’t particularly intriguing – it was more depressing than anything. I read to the end just to finish but wasn’t invested at all and didn’t relate to any of the characters.”

“I really enjoyed it. I was drawn in by the whole mystery aspect and hadn’t figured it out, so that’s always a plus! I also thought the whole concept of guilt and blame and their impact on family dynamics was interesting and dealt with quite well. It didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat quite as much as some other books (e.g Three Hours), and I didn’t find it as descriptive in terms of the scenery etc. as some other books we have read, but I enjoyed the plot, thought it was an easy read and a good page-turner.”

Range: 3 – 8

Overall score: 6.8

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