The Survivors by Jane Harper – Book Review

Title: The Survivors

Author: Jane Harper

Genre: Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Little Brown

Publication Date: 21st January 2021

Rating: 4.5/5



Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…


I really enjoyed this one which I read as part of a readalong – I am a huge fan of Jane Harper’s books so I had high expectations going in and I’m pleased to say they were entirely met! The Survivors is very much about secrets, lies, trauma and guilt, I feel. The small community aspect works beautifully here, as it does in many books in the genre. It creates an insular feeling as small communities begin to suspect and turn on each other which I just love. We follow main character, Kieran, as he returns to his childhood home with his new family in tow and is pretty much immediately thrown into the middle of a criminal investigation whilst also being constantly reminded of another tragedy over a decade earlier on the night of a now infamous and terrible storm. As ever, Harper is particularly fantastic at building a sense of atmosphere and setting. The location always plays a huge role in her stories. The Survivors also focusses on the relationships and psychological aspects of its characters as opposed to being more of a police procedural which I think works beautifully. I was completely drawn into the lives of these people and I was desperate to know what had happened both in the present and in the tragic deadly storm from years before. I didn’t see the resolution coming at all. I was incredibly suspicious of quite a few characters but was knocked sideways by the end reveal.

The only thing I am in sort of two minds about is the ending. The book ends pretty abruptly and I was left wanting to find out a little more about the aftermath – mostly because I was enjoying the book so much and just wanted it to go on and on, which is a sign of how well written and compelling The Survivors is! However, whilst it did leave me a bit shell shocked, I can’t deny that the ending has a powerful impact in its decisiveness which I admire. Overall, this was yet another brilliant thriller from Harper who has yet to disappoint in any way! I think my favourite book of hers remains The Lost Man which I thought was exceptional but I also loved The Survivors from start to finish and I cannot wait to read whatever Harper writes next! She is absolutely an auto-buy author for me.


I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

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