- published by Pan Macmillan Australia 2014
- ISBN 978-1-74261-232-4
- 389 pages
- review copy supplied by publisher
- #7 in the Anya Crichton series
When a girl's dead body is found in a toy box, forensic physician and pathologist Anya Crichton joins the police hunt in her home state of Tasmania for the child's missing mother and sister.
Staying with her increasingly erratic mother, Dr Jocelyn Reynolds, Anya fears the long shadow of her sister Miriam's disappearance has finally driven her mother past the brink of sanity. But Anya soon discovers that Jocelyn is keeping a deadly secret.
When tests conclude a virulent strain of food poisoning was responsible for the child's death, the outbreak begins to spread. Anya pairs up with Internal Affairs detective Oliver Parke to unravel the sinister connections between the fatal epidemic, a covered-up study, the shady deals of a multinational corporation and the alleged murder of a local scientist. Anya has strayed into a high-stakes game so dangerous the players will kill to keep it quiet. With time running short, Anya must uncover the truth before she is silenced - permanently.
I've long been a fan of Kathryn Fox's work, and this novel did not disappoint me. As always Kathryn has combined interesting issues, excellent research, and a well plotted mystery that makes the pages just fly past. Although the character of Dr. Anya Crichton has now been developed over a span of seven novels, there is nothing to stop a reader from beginning with this one.
The setting of the novel is Tasmania with the issues of genetic modification of stock and products and foreign ownership of Australian land and industries running strongly in the background. Anya initially goes to Tasmania to give an address at a conference and then intends to pay a quick visit to her mother who lives near Launceston. She first of all gets caught up with the disappearance of a mother and her child, and then her father's wife becomes critically ill. Her visit to her mother is extended when she finds her mother is not well, and then her mother's neighbour dies.There is lots going on and the writing is fast paced.
My rating: 4.8
I've also reviewed
4.6, DEATH MASK
My mini-review for MALICIOUS INTENT - my rating 4.7
Dr. Anya Crichton has recently struck out to work on her own as a freelance forensic pathologist.
Work is a bit hard to find but she is gaining a reputation as a credible courtroom authority. She is not without friends in the police, the New South Wales State Forensic Institute, and among the criminal barristers. Something about the apparent suicide of Clare Matthews doesn't sit quite right: the fact that, a nun, she disappeared shortly before she was due to take her vows, that she suicided by jumping off the Gap, that she was 6 weeks pregnant, and that she had strange fibres in her lungs. And now another case with similarities crops up: Fatima Deab overdoses on heroine after being missing for some days and her lungs contain the same fibres. Debut publication by Australian author. It is obvious to the reader that Kathryn Fox has a lot to say, lots of issues that she wants to make us aware of, and sometimes this novel takes on a bit of a didactic tone. But the plotting is so good, the tension so well built that by the end I could forgive her anything!
About the author:
Kathryn Fox is a medical practitioner with a special interest in forensic medicine. She has worked as a family physician, medical journalist and freelance writer. Her debut novel received international acclaim and won the 2005 Davitt award for best crime novel. This is her seventh novel following Malicious Intent, Without Consent, Skin and Bone, Blood Born, Death Mask and Cold Grave.