Crime & Beyond Wiki

On Monday, March 25, 2019, we met to discuss The Dry. Against the book club’s better judgment, I was permitted to run the book club discussion of this book. Below is my attempt to provide a summary of the discussion. My notes will be short because (1) I am not very good at taking down notes of what people said at the meeting or who said what, so I won’t try to summarize these details and (2) Kerry does such a fantastic job of summarizing our meetings that anyone else who tries will not be able to do it in the quality or fashion that she does; kudos to you, Kerry, for doing what you do, you are the gold standard of book club leaders. With that disclaimer, here goes.

It was safe to say that The Dry was well received by the book club. Everyone very much enjoyed the book, as I had suspected they would. In fact, the first question I posed to the group was who did NOT like the book, to which I don’t recall anyone raising their hand. This book was a winner in the collective view of the club.

It was brought up that this was the author’s first novel, which was impressive. It was noted that the book will be turned into a movie with actor Eric Bana playing the lead character. We all then struggled as to who Eric Bana was, though some knew. Some were disappointed to learn that the part would not go to Tom Cruise.

The novel focused on the murder of Luke Hadler and his family, who were brutally murdered at the beginning of the book save their youngest infant daughter. The book then narrated the story through the point of view of Aaron Falk, a friend of Luke’s who left the small town of Kiewarra, a dry and desolate town that screamed of desperation and angst as a result of a drought that prevented crops from growing, the drought being “The Dry” which was the title of this thriller. Aaron was haunted by the note he got from Luke’s father that “Luke lied. You lied. Be at the funeral.” With those haunting words, the reader’s minds went racing to investigated what in Aaron’s past might have played a part in this gruesome event.

Amongst the comments made in the discussion were how the author kept you off balance with the many characters in the book, where you weren’t sure if you liked this character or you didn’t like this character, and suspecting various people of being the murderer. The lone dissenter in the group this past week was a reader who commented that he didn’t like that aspect of the book, and that there weren't any clues until the very end you to who the murderer was. And that was true, that this was not the kind of book that really left you with clues to try to piece who was the murderer. I think that this was part of why people liked the book, the fact that you were taken for a wild ride and you weren’t sure where you were being taken. Also, people commented about the setting for the book, how it was depressing and it’s the drought made everybody very desperate and irritable. There was definitely a touch of sadness and drama, where in one part it was pointed out the scene where Aaron’s confronted him about whether he killed Luke or not. Also, the death of Gretchen confounded people, readers believing that perhaps she was abused by her father or had killed herself to escape that, though the unexpected manner of her death was again a ride in a different direction, one that no one really saw. People suspected various different characters of being the murderer and no one really was able to with one savvy reader, who had a slight inkling that it might’ve been the principal. People also commented about the setting, the fact that it was a small and desolate town. People liked the fact that there were various different things which led you to different directions, such as the back story of the main character which actually didn’t help at all with trying to resolve who killed Luke’s family. The point about why the baby was not killed, in my opinion, was well done by the author.

Was this unveiling of the principal as the murderer to satisfy a gambling addition a let down? Perhaps to some degree it was, but I think that most of the members (me included) were enjoying the direction of the book and the good writing. I think the fact that no one saw how the book would be resolved was what kept readers engaged.

Overall, people in the group very much enjoyed The Dry and wanted to read the other books by this author. This book garnered the highest ratings for a book that I could remember, the lowest score being an 8 and the highest being a 10, which with the use of my handy dandy calculator averaged to be an 8.6. So definitely a very positive rating for this book by the group.


Thanks to Kelly for bringing the treats. We don’t rate the treats but I think I’d give what she brought a 9, as they were very good!

The next book is called Under My Thumb, which coincidentally is a song by The Rolling Stones. Sorry, correction, the book is called Under My Skin, by Lisa Unger. Not sure who is leading it but you can be it will be better led than the efforts made by this guy.

See you later this month!


Kudos un-deserved but completely accepted!! Thank you SO much Jose. For not only leading, but for the great write up. I loved the book and was wondering what everyone else thought. I am floored by the scores!

I too am bummed that Tom Cruise won't be doing a bad Aussie accent for the movie version of the book. I guess you can't have everything.

See everyone on April 22 for Lisa Unger. Spoiler alert, I started the book and it's got a distressed female who is medicating with alcohol and pills. What? Who ever heard of that concept??? Amy is bringing snacks for April and I will be leading. See you in a few weeks!