Former Sydney Detective Ted Conkaffey is a free man - accused but not convicted of the brutal abduction of a 13-year-old girl. To flee from the continued publicity surrounding his case, Ted heads to north to Australia's Crimson Lake. There he meets Amanda Pharrell, a private investigator and herself a convicted murderer. The unlikely pair team up to solve the case of missing author Jake Scully, whose own life in shrouded in secrets even more than their own.
CRIMSON LAKE, by Candice Fox, is a dark read that is suspenseful and mysterious. The two main characters, Ted and Amanda, apart are damaged individuals, but when together make for a quirky, if not unusual team. These characters are the book's biggest strength. They are compelling, and you can't help but feel sympathetic for Ted in particular who has been convicted in the court of public opinion despite never having been convicted in a court of law. Amanda, as well, is a character that this reader found more and more interesting with every page turn.
Fox is an incredible wordsmith when it comes to creating visual imagery that drops the reader right in the middle of the action. The detail in her descriptions makes it seem as if the reader can touch, smell, and see the landscape, as well as sense the tension as the plot grows deeper, more dangerous, and more mysterious. Fox is masterful with the fast-paced suspense as she builds the plot to its riveting climax.
CRIMSON LAKE contains multiple plot threads that weave almost effortlessly through the book, intertwining just at the right moments to heighten the numerous twists. Interestingly, the main mystery of the missing author is often overshadowed by the mysteries of Ted and Amanda's backstories. That is not meant to a slight against the book, but more of a praise on the true strength of these characters.
CRIMSON LAKE is the first in a series and a fantastic introduction to Candice Fox as an author.
For more information about Candice Fox, check out my interview with her from 2019.