Title: The Chase
Author: Candice Fox
Published: March 30th 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4.5 stars
When more than 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out from Pronghorn Correctional Facility into the Nevada Desert, the biggest manhunt in US history begins.
But for John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence, five years after the murder of his wife and child.
He just needs to stay one step ahead of the teams of law enforcement officers he knows will be chasing down the escapees.
Death row supervisor turned fugitive-hunter Celine Osbourne is single-minded in her mission to catch Kradle. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading . . .
‘Man, this is some extraordinary business, ‘Keeps said. He shook his head. ‘All those guys running around at the same time? I’m kind of glad I’m still in here where it’s safe.’
‘The world is upside down today,’ Celine said.
‘Yeah, inside out.’
The Chase is a book spurned from author Candice Fox’s first-hand experiences and fascination for the prison system. From growing up reading true crime, to absorbing her father’s experiences as a prison warden, to Fox’s recent visits to a maximum-security prison interviewing a prisoner on death row, The Chase is an inspired new title from the talented crime author. Dramatic, ocular, piercing and enslaving, The Chase plunges the reader deep into this action piece from the opening sentence.
The Chase follows the fallout of a terrible act, the release of six hundred prisoners from a maximum-security correctional facility. Fleeing across the expansive Nevada Desert, the inmates try their hardest to avoid recapture in this deadly quest to save the general public from these dangerous criminals. One of the escaped inmates is a man named John Kradle, a criminal known for killing his wife, her sister and child. Kradle is determined to prove that he is innocent of this terrible crime. Kradle is on a mission following the breakout, but he must avoid detection from the law enforcement team sent to ensnare all the escaped prisoners. One such figure who is determined to cage John Kradle again is Celine Osborne, the supervisor of Kradle’s ward. Celine has a private connection to Kradle and this is her central motivation for locking him up again.
Candice Fox is a household name both internationally and in Australia. Fox is known for her popular crime fiction novels, along with her collaboration with James Patterson. I am a big fan of Candice Fox and I have to say she returns with a explosive bang with this latest crime action-based configuration. The Chase was a truly excellent read, that kept me glued to my reading chair for almost a full day!
I love the television shows Prison Break and Criminal Minds. I feel like The Chase is a mish mash of both these two great shows in the form of a novelisation. The Chase reads extremely well as a fiction novel, but I could easily see it adapted into a screenplay. The Chase has some great visual and cinematic qualities that I would love to see beamed in theatres across the globe. The initial scenario of releasing six hundred deadly maximum-security prisoners back into the world was such a gripping and original concept. It was scary too! I could see this as a completely plausible situation playing out in the US. Fox taps into some of the issues that are placing a great strain on prison system in America. These problems include, tight budgets, release systems and innocents placed on death row. I enjoyed these insightful sequences on the flawed and pressure filled incarceration system in the US.
There are so many players that fill The Chase that I did find it a tad overwhelming in the early stages of this book to keep up with each personality, their background and relevance to the unfolding story. I did think a cast list could have helped, but this may have been too expansive. After some time I developed a good handle on the main players of the story. Fox has a knack for creating great tough as nails female leads and we have a fantastic primary character in Celine, the death row supervisor. I appreciated dipping in and out of Celine’s world. Fox takes her time to unfurl Celine’s past and her connection to Kradle, the central target of the manhunt to track down all six hundred escaped inmates. We have some other very important players in The Chase, including Keeps, an intriguing con man who signs up to find some of his past fellow inmates. But the character who stole the show for me was John Kradle, the escaped inmate who is hell bent on proving his innocence while at large. John initially made me nervous and I was horrified by his crime. But as the novel progressed, flashbacks illuminate the truth to John’s tragic past. Eventually I turned a sympathetic eye to John Kradle and I rooted for him. I also looked forward to any interactions between Celine and Kradle, this was a true highlight of the novel.
We have some other colourful escapees that grace the pages of The Chase. We also follow a number of different escape routes and we gain an insight into the past lives of these prisoners. I liked how Fox managed to weave in these separate little stories to the overall set piece. It was clever, engrossing and nail-biting.
The close of the book was what I was waiting for and it offered a solid curtain call. There is a possibility that Fox could continue this story further in the future, I do hope so. The Chase is yet another high calibre novel from a skilled writer in the crime genre. I’m already lining up for my next Candice Fox fix.
The Chase by Candice Fox was published on 30th March 2021 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Chase, Candice Fox, visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
The Chase is book #33 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge