Title: Redemption Point
Author: Candice Fox
Published: January 29th 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Australian, Crime, Thriller
Rating: 4.5 stars
When former police detective Ted Conkaffey was wrongly accused of abducting thirteen-year-old Claire Bingley, he hoped the Queensland rainforest town of Crimson Lake would be a good place to disappear. But nowhere is safe from Claire’s devastated father.
Dale Bingley has a brutal revenge plan all worked out – and if Ted doesn’t help find the real abductor, he’ll be its first casualty.
Meanwhile, in a dark roadside hovel called the Barking Frog Inn, the bodies of two young bartenders lie on the beer-sodden floor. It’s Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney’s first homicide investigation – complicated by the arrival of private detective Amanda Pharrell to ‘assist’ on the case. Amanda’s conviction for murder a decade ago has left her with some odd behavioural traits, top-to-toe tatts – and a keen eye for killers.
For Ted and Amanda, the hunt for the truth will draw them into a violent dance with evil. Redemption is certainly on the cards – but it may well cost them their lives . . .
The queen of Australian crime fiction, Candice Fox, is back with a bang, issuing her readers with another addictive novel. Redemption Point is the second book to feature disgraced police detective Ted Conkaffey and his private eye partner in arms, Amanda Pharrell. A double murder in Crimson Lake keeps our duo, Ted and Amanda on their toes, as they try to crack this case. Simultaneously, Ted is forced to confront the case against him, fuelled by the appearance of a figure determined to seek retribution.
Redemption Point returns to the fictional Australian town of Crimson Lake. After Ted Conkaffey was accused and later released in connection to the abduction and rape of a thirteen year old girl, Crimson Lake in tropical far north Queensland has been his hideaway. Ted’s rainforest hideaway is soon exposed when Claire’s father Dale, discovers Ted’s whereabouts and is hell-bent on revenge. Ted needs to find the real perpetrator of Claire’s crime, quick smart, before he becomes a victim of Dale’s deadly plan. Meanwhile, the sleepy town of Crimson Lake is not so serene, it becomes the scene of a double murder of two bartenders. Ted and his private eye partner, Amanda Pharrell are called in by the father of one victim’s to investigate this terrible robbery gone wrong at a local jaunt called The Barking Frog Inn. As Ted and Amanda work together with the local police of Crimson Lake to solve this homicide investigation, truths pertaining to both their pasts also come to light.
A round of applause to Candice Fox, I was mesmerised by start to finish by her latest crime offering. I consider Fox to be at the very top of the ladder in terms of quality Australian crime writing. You cannot go wrong with any of her novels and her latest, Redemption Point, reminds of us of why Fox is at the top of her game.
For those who have not read Redemption Point’s predecessor, Crimson Lake, be assured that although these two books do connect, Redemption Point can be read as a standalone novel. Fox gives enough background early on in Redemption Point, so any new reader to the Crimson Lake based novels will not feel confused. For me, it was a most welcome return to Crimson Lake. As well as reuniting with Ted and Amanda, we also connect again with local detective inspector Pip Sweeney. Fox also introduces some colourful extra characters to the mix. A few of these are connected to Ted’s past, which I found very interesting.
Redemption Point allows us to get to know both leads, Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell just that bit more. I appreciated the chance to glean more from these characters and their pasts. Amanda in particular seemed to come into her own in this novel. We soon pick up on the state of the relationship between Amanda and Ted. It seems to have settled into comfortable territory. They know each other’s quirks and respect each other’s boundaries. This is relationship where there is absolutely no sign of romance even entering into equation, instead, it is simply one solid partnership. Fox presents this relationship very well in her novel.
Another alluring voice emerges from the pages of Redemption Point. Interwoven within Amanda and Ted’s investigations are diary entries from a source that we soon learn is connected to Ted and his case. I found these aspects of the narrative the most compelling, as well as chilling. Fox did an excellent job of getting inside the warped mind of this protagonist. Her ability to explore the psyche of a troubled mind such as Kevin’s is second to none. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, in the hope that this depraved figure would be apprehended and things would be put right for our lead.
Fox is quite the expert in police procedures and investigations. Her prose in these sections of the narrative is addictive and succinct, so we are placed at the grassroots level of each of the cases presented in Redemption Point. It is very easy to get swept up in cases of both our lead Ted and the double homicide that takes place in Crimson Lake, thanks to Fox’s absorbing writing. True to form, Fox serves up plenty of diversions, twists, revelations, suspicious characters and a cesspool of corruption to keep the reader on their toes.
As with Crimson Lake, I was taken aback by the setting descriptions of the main setting of the novel, Crimson Lake, based in tropical far north Queensland. Fox knows her setting and is adept at describing the sultry and dripping heat of the area. The rainforest is portrayed extremely well by Fox and the insertion of local wildlife such as the cassowary and crocodiles add more to this well fleshed out locale. Fox also makes us aware of the small town politics that exists in Crimson Lake. Reminding us of the type of people Ted, Amanda and co are dealing with in on a day-to-day basis.
Fox seems to have wrapped up her latest novel very well indeed. With a sense of finality to both the double homicide investigation and Ted’s ongoing case, which was carried over from Fox’s previous novel, Crimson Lake, most threads were tied up by the close of Redemption Point. I am keeping all things crossed in the hope that we will get a return visit to Crimson Lake, which has proved to be fertile ground for plenty of crimes to take place, with the dynamic duo, Ted and Amanda at the helm.
Redemption Point by Candice Fox is published on January 29th 2018 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Redemption Point, Candice Fox, visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.