Force of Nature by Jane Harper

The basics

Title: Force of Nature


Series: Aaron Falk #2

- The Dry (2017)
- Force of Nature (2018)

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Goodreads Summary:

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side. The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

Read a full summary of Force of Nature by Jane Harper below. If you can’t remember what happened in Force of Nature and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what happened in Force of Nature

    • There’s a company holding an employee retreat (that really doesn’t sound like much fun) during which a group of men and a group of women have to travel through the outback separately. At the end of the few days, the women return several hours late, injured, and missing one person – Alice.
    • Alice was in contact with Falk, who is investigating the company’s finances because dodgy things are going on.
    • Falk received a voicemail from Alice the night she disappeared, but her phone signal was awful and he only caught two words: “hurt her”.
    • Alice went missing in a serial killer’s old hunting ground. His son is apparently still around.
    • There is a series of flashbacks scattered throughout the book that slowly show what really happened in the outback with the women. We see that Jill put herself in charge, Alice was really bossy, Lauren knew Alice from school, and the twins Beth and Breanna are at odds.
    • On the first night, the men and women mingle and Alice talks with her boss, Mr. Bailey. After this talk, she tells Jill that she wants to return home to her daughter, Margot.
    • The women seem to have gone off track on the second day.
    • The cops hunt for the cabin where the women said they spent the night. This takes a while because the area they have to cover is huge.
    • Lauren leaves the site to return to Melbourne to be with her daughter, Rebecca.
    • We learn that Alice led the women in the wrong direction on the second day. They have to camp outside that night.
    • Carmen and Falk bond a bit. He shows her the maps his father annotated.
    • Carmen and Falk go to Alice’s house, where they find Margot on her own. She’s upset because her ex has shared photos of her with his friends, and they’re making the rounds at school. This ex-boyfriend is Mr. Bailey’s son.
    • Falk drops Margot off with Lauren and Rebecca. Rebecca is also clearly going through some difficulties, which seem to be to do with the school.
    • Falk goes to talk to Mr. Bailey about his son. He and his wife insist that his son didn’t distribute the photos.
    • In the flashbacks, we see the women arguing a lot. They finally come across a cabin. Alice wants to keep heading north to try to find a road, whereas the others want to stay put and wait for help.
    • Finally, the cops find the cabin. There’s blood on the floor, and a dead body buried nearby. It’s not Alice, though.
    • Falk talks to the twins. Beth becomes quite irate, and reveals that she hid Alice’s body to protect Breanna, who fought with Alice the most. She says she found Alice’s body slumped against a rock, so she moved it away from the path. Beth blames Breanna for trying to pin the murder on her (although that’s not what Breanna was doing), as she thinks Breanna is unstable.
    • The cops find Alice’s body. It turns out that Lauren killed her during an argument. Alice was trying to leave with the phone and Lauren wanted to stop her. The two wrestled, and Alice hit her head. Lauren went back into the cabin, telling Alice that she could leave if she wanted to.
    • Falk has to talk Lauren out of jumping from a cliff. He doesn’t manage it, but he dives in after her and saves her life. She’s arrested.
  • Breanna gives Falk and Carmen the files about BaileyTennants that they were after.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Force of Nature by Jane Harper. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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  • Kay says:

    There is the watcher.
    The watcher zips ups their pants after peeing.
    This implies a man.
    The flashlight is found under alices head.

    Was it Daniel that was the watcher,
    After Laura. Left, did he finish the job and kill Alice with a blow to the head with the huge flashlight?

  • joy says:

    Correction to the plot summary by this website:
    It was Beth who sent Falk the files at the end. Not Briana.

  • Katie says:

    I am curious to know who this person was too! Any insights?

  • Erin says:

    It’s absolutely killing me about the watcher in the woods. Who is it? Who’s buried at the cabin?

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