Crime & Beyond Wiki

Hello all,

This is Kerry, I swear (I thought you might not believe it was me since I’m getting these notes to you the week of the meeting and not 2 days before the next).

Great meeting to discuss Jane Harper’s Force of Nature. We almost had an oops when Sharon Klein got the book Force of C.J. Box. Luckily she started to read and remembered that she had already read that one. Crisis kind of averted, sort of. I don’t think she had time to finish the actual book after the mix up.

This book was the second one we’ve read by this author in the last year. We all loved The Dry so much that this book was almost unanimously chosen for this year’s reading list. With that said, it was also unanimous that we liked The Dry better. That’s not to say this book was bad, but it was just hard to live up to the author’s debut novel.

For the most part, Force of Nature got decent reviews. It scored four 8s, two 7.5s, five 7s, one 6 and one 4. We had a DNR and a DNF.

The one positive that really seemed to carry through most of the reviews is that we like Jane Harper’s writing. I think the negatives stem from the identity of the murderer and how it all went down in the woods. Basically, we weren’t thrilled with the ending. Amy, for example, came up with 6 alternate endings that would have been more satisfying than the one the author chose—and full disclosure, I think one of them involved Bigfoot.

Many of the higher scores also noted that Harper had good character development. The people on the wilderness trip were not likeable by any stretch, but that was ok, they weren’t meant to be. We thought the dynamics between the characters were interesting, it was a light and fast read, it was entertaining, and the plot was good. Jeff thought the first 75% was great and Allie was enjoying it until the ending, which was “meh.” Many of us would have liked more page time with Falk.

On the negative side, we heard that it “wasn’t awful” twice, which let’s face it, is not a glowing review. But I do see the word “not” in front, so there is that. Some people were led astray by the red herring of the serial killer (and I think having the serial killer doing it was one of the alternate endings). Chris is still stuck on the fact that no group of women (or men for that matter) would go out in the wilderness without a guide, sat phone, etc. Amy thought the book was forgettable. I bet she wouldn’t say that if the author had gone with that Bigfoot angle!

I think we can all agree that we did learn two important lessons. (1) Don’t go camping, and (2) Australia is VAST!

BOOK CHOICES: May – December
We’re going to choose the next 9 books at the March meeting. You know the drill, login to, click on the tab for Possible Club Suggestions, then click Add Books. You can search by title or author and when you’ve found it, click Select This Book to put it on our list. I’m always looking for Christmas book ideas. We like to read a classic, so if you have any suggestions put them in there.

Thanks for your quick responses for the Escape Room. We have our group all set. If you are on the list and can’t make it, please let me know ASAP. If you didn’t make the list and want to be an alternate in case we get a cancellation, let me know that too. At the February meeting I will have all the names in a hat and we’ll draw teams. If you can’t be at the meeting, I will email you with your teammates’ names and your time (whether you’re in the 11 am slot or the 12 pm).

Just to give you the 2020 year at a glance, I am looking to host a book swap event this summer and a murder mystery party in the fall. Stay tuned for those dates and locations (looks like Baker Street Pub in DTC closed, so no book swap there).

See you on February 24th to discuss The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. Jay is bringing snacks and I’m leading. The author has a great backstory about why she wrote the book and what inspired her. You could look it up, but then it won’t be a surprise when I tell you. Resist the urge!

See you then,