Jane Harper (born 1980) is an Australian author known for her crime novels The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man.
Born in Manchester in the UK, Harper moved to Australia with her family when she was eight. There, she lived in the Melbourne outer suburb of Boronia, and eventually acquired Australian citizenship. As a teen, Harper returned to the UK with her family and resided in Hampshire. Later, she attended the University of Kent and studied English. After spending time working on her career, she moved back to Australia.
After graduating with an entry level journalism qualification, she got her first job at the Darlington & Stockton Times as a trainee in County Durham. Later in her journalism career, she earned the title as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail. In 2011, she became a journalist for the Herald Sun. Harper worked as a print journalist for 13 years before writing her first novel, The Dry, which was published in 2016.
The Dry, Harper's first novel, is a thriller set in a fictional town five hours west of Melbourne. A Federal Agent, Aaron Falk, returns to his old hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke. Falk teams up with a local detective and tries to uncover the truth behind Luke's sudden mysterious death, only to find more questions than answers.
Force of Nature
Harper's second thriller is set in the thickly forested mountains north-east of Melbourne, again featuring Federal Agent Aaron Falk. A group from a Melbourne company go on a retreat in the mountains, where one of the women disappears. Falk has been investigating the company for financial irregularities, and the woman was his secret informer.
Harper's third murder mystery is set in south-west Queensland on a large cattle station. The police find nothing in Cameron Bright's death from dehydration to suggest foul play, and the investigation is carried out informally by the dead man's elder brother Nathan.
In 2014, Big Issue published one of Harper's short stories. Soon after, in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2015, Harper won an award for an unpublished manuscript (The Dry). In 2017, Harper won the Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and the Davitt Award for The Dry, and the Gold Dagger awarded by the Crime Writers' Association of the United Kingdom for the best crime novel of the year. Harper became a New York Times bestselling author for The Dry. Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to The Dry to turn it into a movie, which will be released in August 2020. The Lost Man was shortlisted for the 2020 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.