Fox writes a dark, twisted murder mystery filled with convoluted
Ex-police officer turned PI, Ted Conkaffey, has moved
north from Sydney to a small town in the Australian rainforest trying to hide
from his past. Although innocent and never prosecuted due to lack of evidence,
accusations of child rape plastered his name and face all over the news and the
internet and completely disrupted his life—lost job, broken marriage, strangers
who react to his familiar face. He lives with a family of geese that he brought
into his yard to rescue from the crocodiles.
Ted’s partner, Amanda Pharrell, has no emotions, but strangely
possesses the ability to read other people. When she was a teenager, she
accidentally killed a girl and spent time in prison, which she refers to as the
best time of her life. She’s an upbeat, smiling personality who rides her bike
everywhere, refusing to drive a car.
Pip Sweeney, on her first assignment as Detective Inspector,
hooks up with Ted and Amanda to investigate the murder of two young people at a
rundown bar. She’s fascinated by Amanda. Pip carries guilt from when, as a
child, she sat and watched her father die of a heart attack and did nothing to
save him. She’s young and naïve and relies heavily on Amanda’s quirky insights.
The author adds excerpts from the diary of the perpetrator
of the crime of which Conkaffey was accused. Another weird character, sick and
There are other off-beat minor characters—the father of the
raped girl, who comes after Ted, then turns to looking for the real offender; the
owner of the bar where the two bartenders were killed; a crime kingpin in
Sydney; some of the neighbors around the bar; the girlfriend of the young man
murdered in the bar. Almost every character is quirky, strange, or dark.
This second book in a series about Ted and Amanda covered
the previous story thoroughly enough that I don’t feel I need to go back and read
it. The plot kept my interest, there was even some humor here and there, and
the setting in the rainforest felt real. But I didn’t connect at all with the scenes
in Sydney; I couldn’t picture the city. The weird characters kept me reading.
Definitely a character-driven book.