‘Crimson Lake’ is set in and around Cairns in Queensland’s tropical north. It is a small and quiet place surrounded by crocodiles.
And it is where Ted Conkaffey has come to hide. Ted was working as a police detective in Sydney when he was accused of a terrible crime – the kidnap and rape of 13 year old Claire Bingley. The case against Ted was dropped for lack of evidence, but he was never cleared of the crime either. His wife has left him and he misses his baby daughter. He tries to stay under the radar but as the story progresses, more and more of the town’s vigilantes want him gone.
Ted find himself working with a local PI Amanda Pharrell. Amanda spent 10 years in prison for murdering a school friend. She is almost as unpopular as Ted and is very fragile and extremely eccentric.
They take on the case of Jake Scully, a local author who has gone missing, presumed to have been eaten by crocodiles. His wife hires Amanda and Ted to find out what happened, but she’s probably most interested in his inheritance and insurance.
While investigating Jake’s disappearance, Ted and Amanda can’t help themselves from investigating each other. And all through the story they are being harassed by two thuggish local police who seem unusually determined to drive Ted out of town and break his partnership with Amanda.
The results of all three investigations are surprising.
This was an intricate story but still moved at an excellent pace. Ted and Amanda were both fascinating and damaged characters, but they weren’t the only ones. There was a complete cast of excellent support characters.
While some issues in the story reached a satisfactory conclusion, for others there was still a lot left unsaid. I’m not sure if this is leading to a sequel or if we are being left to use our imagination.
In either case, I look forward to my next Candice Fox novel.
2018 update – The 2nd novel in the series is ‘Redemption Point‘.
Book Published 2017