I have to admit that I would never have picked up Crimson Lake by Candice Fox if not for the repeated recommendation from a bookstagram friend. Candice Fox is an Australian crime writer who has about eleven books under her belt, including a few co-written with publishing superstar James Patterson.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like reading crime novels by Australian authors — Jane Harper is my favourite — but I don’t read this genre too often and I have a “to be read” pile bursting at the seams. But my husband found me a second-hand copy of Crimson Lake and I was then out of excuses. I had to give Candice Fox a chance.
And my verdict? Crimson Lake is one of the best books I’ve read for ages. Every bit of it was entertaining and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. I sped read this in 24 hours and then sung it’s praises back to my friend and everyone else who would listen. It hooked me from page one!
Crimson Lake is set in a remote Queensland town of the same name. It’s a place crawling with heat, crocodiles and eccentric locals. Into this place comes disgraced ex Detective Ted Conkaffey. He was wrongfully accused of a heinous crime involving a young girl and sent to prison. But then his conviction is overturned and he is released to an Australian public who wants him gone. His marriage has broken up and he can’t see his baby daughter. He has little left to live for and runs as far north as he can to escape his notoriety.
There he is put in touch with an odd ex-con turned private investigator named Amanda Pharrell. She knows all about what he is going through and is prepared to give him a chance working for her. Their first investigation together involves a high-profile local author who has gone missing.
There was so much going on in this book. A great mystery about a missing author, Amanda’s shady past in Crimson Lake and whether she is innocent of the murder which sent her to jail, and Ted trying to live in a world where everyone thinks he is evil and deserves to die. I loved the pairing of Amanda and Ted who are both two wildly different people who just happen to need each other (as friends). I really enjoyed all the twists and turns in the plot. But it was the characters who made this such a great book.
Candice Fox is a superb writer and I’ve already read the next book in the series Redemption Point (review to come). If you’re looking for a new crime author to read, I highly recommend picking up a book from Candice Fox.
Verdict: A superbly written Australian crime novel which hooked me from page one.