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This book is the ultimate bargain thriller because it’s two mysteries for the price of one. You get the present-day story of Aaron the federal agent investigating the death of his childhood friend Luke, but you also get the twenty-years-ago story of Aaron and Luke and their mutual friend Ellie, who drowned in the river under mysterious circumstances. Now that’s what I call bang for your buck.

Even though it’s a debut, The Dry checks all the boxes for a page-turning, satisfying thriller. There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing, but by the end, all the loose ends are tied up nicely. But not in a cheap way--in a way that feels earned. Both storylines are equally compelling; you won’t want to close the book until you know what happened--and why--to all the victims.

Bonus, or not, depending on how you view arachnids: The Dry is set in rural Australia, a place where exotic spiders thrive. I couldn’t bring myself to Google the specific one mentioned because I don’t need to introduce that shit into my nightmares, but I have to admit part of me is morbidly curious what a huntsman looks like.