Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

‘I was having some seriously dark thoughts when I found Woman.’

Ted Conkaffey’s life has been ruined. A former detective accused (but not convicted) of kidnapping and attacking a thirteen-year-old girl.  He was gaoled but was then ‘no billed’ meaning that he could be charged if sufficient evidence comes to light. A particular form of hell.  So, he’s escaped, sort of, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake in the far north of Queensland.

He meets Amanda Pharrell, a private detective, who’s done time for murder.  She enlists his help to try to track down Jake Scully, a missing author.  Jake’s wife Stella doesn’t know whether Jake has disappeared or been kidnapped.  Ted agrees to help because he needs the money.  And so, the two most notorious residents of Crimson Lake band together, with their every move observed. Ted thought he could lose himself here, but it is not that easy.

I quickly became absorbed in this novel.  Yes, I wanted to know what happened to Jake Scully, but I was much more interested to learning more about both Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell. These are two of the most intriguing fictional characters I’ve encountered recently.  The stories (for there are more than one) unfold in pieces: we learn a bit about Ted, a bit about Amanda and about Jake Scully.

This is the first of three (so far) novels in the Crimson Lake series.  One advantage of picking this novel up in 2019 was that I could read the other two straightaway.   And now I wait, patiently, hoping for more.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


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