book reviews

Book Review: Crimson Lake


Crimson Lake
: Candice Fox
Published: 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
My Rating: 5/5

I’m not a huge reader of crime fiction, but when I do, I have to be drawn in from the very first chapter. Candice Fox’s Crimson Lake had me from the very first sentence.

This book has everything a crime fiction connoisseur looks for; suspense, flawed yet compelling characters, complex and multi-layered story lines, metered tension, and the ability to evoke every emotion across the spectrum. Fox’s skill as a crime writer shines with an intricate plot that has been minutely dissected and put back together unraveling at the perfect pace designed so the reader won’t be able to put the book down. – (And believe me, you won’t!)

There are really three story lines unfolding throughout Crimson Lake. At first they seem to have little in common, but as the main investigation of missing author Jake Scully develops, the three story lines intersect. Piece by piece clues are glued together and by the end of the novel, after a thrilling climax, answers will be revealed. Mostly.

Both main characters, have complex histories and stories to tell. There’s Ted Conkaffey, an ex-cop and accused but not convicted pedophile, now seeking refuge from his ruined life. And then there’s Amanda Pharrell, the Crimson Lake local weirdo slash convicted murderer turned private investigator. Both unique and quirky characters will imprint on your brain and throw you into a washing machine spin cycle of emotions throughout the book as they untangle with the plot.

The setting is a character in itself in this novel. Fox captures the humidity and the heaviness of the tropical Northern Queensland setting weaving it and around the characters weighing on their every move. And then there’s the crocs, lurking in the darkness, hiding beneath the cover of by the mangroves and vines, watching, waiting – just like the dark characters within the pages. I’m not surprised the novel has been optioned for TV, it will make for an amazing visual feast.

This is my first Candice Fox novel, but her talents in this genre will ensure I will be back for more. I’ve heard that Ted and Amanda will be revived for another novel – I really hope so.

If you are new to crime fiction, or a wide reader of the genre, Crimson Lake will surpass all your expectations.