The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Our recommended tea to accompany The Lost Man: Lemongrass and Coconut
January and February are my least favourite months in the UK. Christmas is over, the weather is unrelentingly grey, damp and cold, the days are still short, and spring is a long way in the future. To top it all off, January 2021 sees us once more in a hard lockdown due to Covid-19. Wrapping up and hibernating inside with a good book and a cup of tea seems like the only sensible thing to do!
The Lost Man provides escapism from January-itis in spades. Set in rural Queensland amid searing summer heat, buzzing flies and the ever-present danger of death by dehydration, snakebite or spider bite, a man from a remote farming community has died suddenly and brutally.
First Impression: I was completely hooked by this book before the end of the first chapter. Jane Harper’s amazing prose easily enables the reader to imagine the taste of dust in their mouth, feel the blistering heat from the sun, and sense the growing dread that all is not as it should be for the central characters as they struggle to come to terms with Cameron Bright’s death.
One key theme to The Lost Man is that of isolation. Farms in this region of Australia lie across vast tracts of land, often covering several thousand hectares each, with the closest major cities located thousands of kilometres away. Even popping over to the closest neighbour necessitates considerable planning and a lengthy drive. Flooding can completely cut these properties off from one another, requiring them to always have emergency supplies on hand.
Does the thought of feeling isolated sound familiar? Unfortunately, isolation has become commonplace during lockdown this past year. People have felt cut-off from loved ones, friends, even from medical help and there have been concerns about grocery supplies. So how can we stay positive during this time? While it is difficult to plan too far ahead with so much uncertainty, we can still make time to enjoy simple pleasures such as a lovely cup of tea and a fabulous new book. It’s all about the little things right now, isn’t it?
The verdict: Read it! And then read Jane Harper’s other books. The first I read was Force of Nature, followed quickly by The Dry. I am eagerly awaiting her latest, The Survivors, to be released later this month.
The Twist? Although I’m guessing that no-nonsense farming people would prefer a straightforward brew such as Twenty Four Seven, in the spirit of dry January, I recommend that the Bright family try a Twist Tea cold brew, made with chilled water. The blue of Lemongrass and Coconut would contrast nicely with the red soil while the all-natural ingredients would completely refresh them. Don’t forget the ice!
Written by Nicky Kavanaugh, Founder and Director of Twist Teas