Harper handles these relationships with delicacy ... Like the country it describes, this is a 'big' book, and one likely to cement Harper's place as one of the most interesting Australian crime writers to emerge in the past decade. Her sense of place is acute, but it is her attention to the relationships that are shaped by this unforgiving, magnificent landscape that will linger long after the mystery of stockman's grave is finally revealed.
One of those books that actually start around Page 75 — a bit dull, then all at once enthralling ... Harper’s books succeed in part because she conveys how even now, geography can be fate. Heat and empty space in her work defeat modernity, defeat logic, technology and even love, throwing us back upon our irreducible selves. By the time she reveals the (brilliantly awful) back story about Nathan’s banishment from the few human comforts of Balamara — the pub, for example — the reader feels frantic for their restoration ... The final pages of The Lost Man are somewhat predictable, but Harper is skillful enough, a prickly, smart, effective storyteller, that it doesn’t matter. She’s often cynical, but always humane. Book by book, she’s creating her own vivid and complex account of the outback, and its people who live where people don’t live.
The atmosphere is so thick you can taste the red-clay dust, and the folklore surrounding the mysterious stockman adds an additional edge to an already dark and intense narrative. The truth is revealed in a surprising ending that reveals how far someone will go to preserve a life worth living in a place at once loathed and loved.