Tag Archives: #candicefox

2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox -a review

2 sisters detective agency2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson & Candice Fox

The exciting new collaboration from James Patterson and Australia’s own Candice Fox, following the recent bestselling success, both here and internationally, of The Inn.

From the creator of the #1 bestselling WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB

Two sisters go into the family business they didn’t know they had – catching killers.

Attorney Rhonda Bird returns home to LA to bury her estranged father, and discovers that he left her two final surprises.

The first is a private detective agency.

The second is a teenage half-sister named Baby.

When Rhonda goes into her father’s old office to close down the business, she gets drawn into a case involving a young man who claims he was abducted.

The investigation takes Rhonda and Baby to dark and dangerous places. Soon they are caught in the crosshairs of an angry criminal cartel and an ex-assassin seeking revenge.

A thrilling new novel starring a captivating sister-detective duo.

Published 28 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s |  QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Truth to tell, I haven’t been reading much of James Patterson’s books as I just haven’t been interested in any of them BUT when it comes to Candice Fox, well, I’ve just GOT to. Her name is like a siren call to me, “Read Me!”. 2 Sisters Detective Agency has got the Patterson’s hallmark of short chapter bursts and Fox’s offbeat cast of characters which made the book to be a very entertaining page turner.

The book description is rather succinct and yet, the book is so much more. There were so many interesting characters and there were just so much packed into this 352 pager that I’m finding myself at a lost on how to describe it. The story wasn’t just told from Rhonda’s or Baby’s views but a number of others as well. With that consideration, I’m so surprised that I wasn’t troubled or confused with keeping up with who’s who.

I think I see Candice Fox’s fingers in Rhonda Bird’s characters where she can just mouth off straight-faced and gets away with it; reminds me a bit of Amanda Pharrell. Her mouthing off isn’t to the point of rudeness but just a very creative way to circumvent whatever situation she happens to be in. The fact that she’s super strong, confident, and generous was just icing on top. Baby, despite her young age, complements Rhonda and together, they are a delight to read.

While we move from chapter to chapter with different characters, it was very easy to follow the story. Even as it felt a little bit all over the place when I was in the middle of it, at the end, when everything falls into its proper place, I really felt that it was all one big circle and I think it was neatly done. The ending itself was rather hairy and… somewhat unfinished so I hope to see more of these sisters.

The pace and tone of the book was set by the very first sentence, “She was a killer”, and I was hooked. Tension gripped me and it just kept on going til the very last chapter. The short chapters probably didn’t help because I keep thinking, “just one more [very short] chapter…”, and suddenly, one hour had past and I really had to run for the ladies’… So yes, this is a fantastic read! Do yourself a favour, read this before lockdown ends because you don’t really want “life” to interrupt your reading.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

Review: The Chase by Candice Fox

The Chase by Candice Fox

The new novel by New York Times #1 bestselling author Candice Fox is an electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller set in the Nevada desert.

Candice Fox has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘one of Australia’s finest new gen crime writers’ and her latest novel is another thrilling ride, as a mass prison breakout lets loose 650 of the country’s most dangerous prisoners.

‘Are you listening, Warden?’

‘What do you want?’

‘I want you to let them out.’

‘Which inmates are we talking about?’

‘All of them.

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 . . .

Published 30 March 2021 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  |  QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

I’m going to be upfront and state that this is so totally going to be a very bias review. I have read all of Candice Fox’s books and loved every one of them. I especially love the quirky Aussie flavour her books are steeped in. And yet, even as this one is far away from our shore (Nevada desert) and did not include any Aussie characters ):): it did not detract from my enjoyment of this novel. 

The book description described of a prison break (not one, not two, but ALL of the inmates) and the subsequent hunts to put them all where they belong. It is such intriguing & thrilling concept (even if a little bit outlandish) and the story did not disappoint. The Chase was a compelling read with a well-sustained suspense to pull the reader to continue reading right through to the end.

There is a large number of casts in this novel and while at first I struggled with the names and remembering who they are, a couple of the characters are very memorable and after a few chapters, I found that the flow of switches between characters to be quite smooth and easily followed. Add to this, there were twists and turns peppered throughout each chapter that keep readers flipping pages.

I do believe that Fox specialised in crushed down but loveable and strong female characters but in this particular novel I also feel that she’s got the creepy psycho vibes down pat. It’s hair raising stuff! I guess visiting serial killer on death row paid out! I was amazed by how many baddies in this story and each with his own brand of monstrosity; they are all so brilliantly crafted. 

The Chase is a fast-paced, high-octane thriller that you can’t help but want for more. I’d highly recommend that you have set aside hours to read this because it’s not one you’d want to stop even for a minute.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back to back. Her subsequent novels – FallCrimson LakeRedemption Point and Gone by Midnight – were all shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number one on the New York Times bestseller list in the US, and also to the top of the charts in the UK. Their later novels – Fifty FiftyLiar LiarHush Hush and The Inn – have all been massive bestsellers across the world.

Bankstown born and bred, Candice lives in Sydney.

Find Candice on:  

goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram |  facebook

Review: Redemption Point by Candice Fox

Redemption Point (Crimson Lake #2) by Candice Fox

#1 New York Times bestselling author Candice Fox delivers a compulsive new crime thriller, which sees Ted Conkaffey once again teaming up with an unlikely partner – this time the father of the girl he was accused of abducting . . .

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 . . .

‘Definitely a writer to watch’ Harlan Coben

‘A bright new star of crime fiction’ James Patterson

My Blurb (5 stars)

Wishes do come true! Well… sort of! I wanted more of Ted & Amanda and I also wanted to hear a bit of from Amanda (my wish was in my review for the first book, Crimson Lake, so if you’re reading this, Candice, my thanks x). Redemption Point gave me both though Amanda Pharrell is still just as excruciatingly elusive. Excruciating in the sense that I just couldn’t see how she thinks but she’s just as entertaining and frustrating as ever!

How do you solve a problem like Amanda?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Amanda?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

In this book, Ted and Amanda spent quite a lot of time on their own so it made sense to have multiple perspectives even though that mean we barely see them interact however there were a couple other perspectives and one of which gave me the willies. It was in the form of diary entries and was, therefore, very intimate and confessional. I was very uncomfortable with this, at the beginning, due to the character’s thoughts but halfway through I could just appreciate the additional thrills and suspense this perspective add to the book.

Ted, despite his best effort to bury himself, was forced to face up to the Claire Bingley’s abduction that he was wrongly accused for. He had resisted looking into the matter but he could no longer shy away. A confrontation with Claire’s father, Dale, combined with Ted’s own generous heart may just come to end the matter once for all… but for whom?

Amanda mostly had to investigate the murders at Barking Frog Inn (don’t you just love this name?!) without Ted though that did not mean she didn’t have any assistance. In the form of Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney who carried her own dark shameful secret. Ted may be missing in action but Amanda & Pip were just as on point. And that ending! Gah! *gagging myself from spoiling everything!*

Aside from amazing characters, I love the vivid descriptions in this novel. It’s one thing to have a vivid imagination but to be able to write them down without boring your reader, that’s skill. I feel and ‘see’ the humid lush isolated Queensland town. I love to live there in my imagination but not IRL lol

Between the houses on the other side of the creek lay thick tangles of rainforest, impenetrable by the eye, walls of crossing vines and elephant ear leaves wet and dripping…

Redemption Point is an amazingly crafted crime thriller. Tension was taut right from the very beginning and it just gets tighter; so strung up that by ending you don’t know whether to cry from heartbreak or relief. These poor characters get no break whatsoever especially Ted. And can I get back to that ending?! Just spectacular… I need book 3 (I’m hoping there is one…).

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Hades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back to back. Her third novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ned Kelly and Davitt awards. She is also the author of the bestselling Crimson Lake, which introduces a new series character, Ted Conkaffey.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was a huge bestseller in Australia and went straight to number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in the US and also to the top of the charts in the UK. Its sequel, Fifty Fifty, was released in August 2017 and she is currently working on their third collaboration. They have also co-written a prequel novella, Black & Blue, as part of the James Patterson BookShots series.

Bankstown born and bred, Candice lives in Sydney.

Find Candice on: goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook

Candice Fox: Q&A

Thank you so much for your time, Candice! I absolutely adored Archer & Bennett and gobsmacked at the opportunity at a Q&A with you.

Warm-Up Quick Qs:
Tea or Coffee?   Coffee.
Green cordial or Red Cordial?  Red.
Red Wine or White Wine? Both.
Vegemite or Nutella? Vegemite.
Cats or Dogs?  Both.
When did you first start writing and what was the road to publication like for you?
I started putting serious words down at about age 12. I’d been writing before then, but on the family computer, which was vulnerable to invasion by my brothers. When my mother got me a computer for my room, I felt like I could write without it being read by anyone I didn’t want to have access to it.

I started submitting manuscripts at 18, and had four failed works rejected by over 200 hadespublishers before hitting on a winner with Hades. The manuscript was originaly accepted by an independent publisher in the UK before that venture collapsed, and I sent it around again in Australia, heavily edited. Gaby Naher decided she would represent me, and she did the hard yards finding someone to take a chance on me at Random House.

Are you a planner? Do you know the ending of your book when you started writing and how it will get there?
I am a very loose plotter for my own work, but working with James Patterson requires me to do extensive planning – 15,000 word outlines and alike. I generally don’t start writing my own work until I have the first quarter worked out in my mind, and then I’ll keep ahead of myself by three or four plot points just so I don’t hit a wall. I never like to know much about the ending. I like it to unravel organically, so that I don’t accidentally foreshadow it along the way or get bored before I get there.

How do you find inspiration for the crime / mystery? Is there a particular publications you read or do you trawl through police reports for past crimes etc?
Basically everything I consume is true crime related, when I have a choice in the matter. I’m married to a very gentle and sweet-natured man, so I have to balance out my gruesome night-time viewing sometimes with lighter content. But I keep up to date with all the latest true crime docos and the dodgy ones from the eighties and nineties, too, for their nostalgic value. I read true crime, I listen to true crime podcasts.
The Neddies list is a good starting point for anyone wanting good quality true crime, but of course, there are great publications from the US which aren’t necessarily well written but valuable nonetheless – sometimes the books are written by FBI agents or profilers etc so they’re not arty but they are packed with useful tidbits.

Which one of Australia’s true crimes fascinate you and why?
the-fallOh, there are so many. I was deeply interested in the Daniel Morcombe investigation – not so much for the processes but for the suspects involved. What a bunch of evil people. And the mystery surrounding the famous blue car still niggles at my mind now and then. There are great lesser-known crimes being reassessed through podcasts right now by The Age etc – the one about Phoebe Hansjuk is great, and the one about Rachael Antonio. I always plug my good friend Amy Dale’s book The Fall about Simon Gittany’s murder of Lisa Harnum. I read the book before we became friends, so I’m not biased. It’s very difficult to move me emotionally – I’m very desensitised to violence. This book disturbed me very much.

How do you find collaborating work? And not just with any author but with one of the biggest names in the publishing industry!
never-neverIt’s great. In some ways it’s very useful that he’s the most powerful author in the world, in that I can lean on his experience and wisdom whenever I need to – if anyone’s going to know what will work in a sticky spot in a manuscript, or foresee a problem long before I will, it’s him. Yes, of course, it also made the whole endeavour very intimidating in the beginning, because I didn’t want to fail at such a rare and wonderful opportunity. But I’m over that now. We’re onto our third work together at the moment. I think we fit together like Lego pieces.

Has writing changed you as a person? Is it therapeutic? Or is thinking about crime all the time make you a little more paranoid?
On the contrary, before I got to write for a living I was as voyeuristic and weird as I am now, I just didn’t have a ‘legitimate’ excuse for it. I’m that person who will interject into an otherwise everyday conversation with anecdotes about serial killers or facts about dead bodies. People used to think I was the ugly duckling in that way, but now that they realise I was a swan the whole time, I feel free to be me.

What can we expect from you next? Is Crimson Lake a stand-alone novel or is it meant to be a serial too? Any more Archer & Bennett books?
Crimson Lake was meant to be a standalone, originally, but it’s caused such a stir that my publishers across the world all agreed I needed to do another one. I’ve just finished editing Last Chance, the second full novel in the Detective Harriet Blue series with James, so now I’m onto the Crimson Lake II first draft. I don’t know if there will ever be any more Bennett/Archers. I don’t rule it out, but at the moment I have to chase what is best for my career, and it’s moving on with Ted and Amanda, and Harriet and her guys.

You can check out my thoughts on Crimson Lake, here

About the author

candice-foxHades, Candice Fox’s first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back-to-back. Also, in the 2015 Davitt Awards, Hades was Highly Commended in the debut category. Her third novel, Fall, was recently published to critical acclaim.

In 2015 Candice began collaborating with James Patterson. Their first novel together, Never Never, set in the vast Australian outback, was released in August 2016. They have also co-written a prequel novella, Black & Blue, as part of the James Patterson BookShots series. They are currently at work on the sequel.

Candice is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney’s western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of a parole officer and an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil as her father relayed his work stories to her mother and older brothers.

Bankstown born and bred, she failed to conform to military life in a brief stint as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy at age eighteen. At twenty, she turned her hand to academia, and taught high school through two undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees. She lives in Sydney.

Find Candice: website | facebook | twitter | goodreads

Review: Crimson Lake

crimson-lakeCrimson Lake by Candice Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was soooo excited to see Candice Fox was to release a new book. I must admit to being a teeny weeny disappointed to find out that it is NOT an Archer & Bennett but still… It’s a must-read. If you love crime novels, Candice Fox’s books are must-reads!

Despite being told that this is her best book yet, I can NOT make this distinction. I love ALL her books fairly equally and they are ALL my favourites. The mysteries are terrific but the characters and what she made them go through are just mind-boggling. They are fragile. They are broken. They are survivors.

The main difference in Crimson Lake to the Archer & Bennett books to my mind is that it’s cracking hilarious. Wait a minute, Amanda Pharrell is horrendously hilarious. I can see some people might find her annoying and if she’s someone I know IRL, I’d probably want to kill her myself but seriously the stuff she said were Lough Out Loud Funny. Err, yes, I’m most probably that crazy lady on the train… Here’s one of the things she said that cracked me up to no end & I kept going back to it:

“… I’m dead fascinated with your case. I’m so fascinated, someone should pin me in their hair and wear me to the races.”

We don’t know very much how Amanda’s mind works as the novel is told from Ted Conkaffey’s perspective but one thing we do know is that she’s full on contradictions. She’d slunk away for certain confrontations and yet,

“…doesn’t anything scare you anymore?”
“Not really,” she said brightly…

Ted Conkaffey is hiding. He’s tired and he’s sad. He has had no choice but to accept what fate has dealt him to date. The geese found him. Amanda baffled him. Her cases interest his mind and his brain geared up to put these puzzles together. Maybe there is something else he could do even now… Despite being told from Ted’s perspective; Amanda completely took over the whole book. Maybe we’ll have her perspective in the next book?

Aside from these amazing characterisation, I also love Fox’s prose; the way she draws you to the characters then the setting and then weaves tangled weave of mysterious circumstances which leave you guessing ‘til the end. Crimson Lake, with its tightly developed plot, unique characters and a snapping end, is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Fall

fallFall by Candice Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of Book 3 in Archer & Bennett series and there may be spoilers in respect of earlier books.

Wow-Wee! Candice Fox delivers once again! This series is one that I would gladly re-read again and again. It is THAT good. I’ve rated all 3 five stars as each were unputdownable; I couldn’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next from one page to the next much less from one book to the next. I am hopping from one foot to another in impatience for the next instalment of Archer & Bennett.

Eden ends with a threat hanging over Eden’s secret identity. I was truthfully anxious to find out how this will pan out; I was afraid of what this will mean to Eden’s nocturnal activities, her ‘relationship’ with Bennett, and also afraid for the safety of the person who’s about to blow it all out. And just how did it turn out? Well! You really must read it for yourself since I couldn’t believe what happened & had to read it a few times over before it actually sunk it that she did it… when a few minutes before I was wailing, ‘No… No… Noooo…’

Eden, as the antiheroine, has a void insider her when it comes to empathy. This was highlighted very much in this novel. Bennett, on the other, appears to be a desperate case but there’s a little light of hope for him… What’s happened in this novel though dimmed what little hope there was and I’m not sure exactly whether I’m excited or nervous as I believe we are about to witness the dark-side of Bennett. Or are we?

If you love antiheroines, if you love your crime novels, you MUST read Candice Fox. I highly recommend this series, Archer & Bennett, to everyone. There are baddies and there are baddies. There’s the twist and then there’s THE twist. This series has utterly won my heart and Candice Fox my loyalty.

Thanks Random House Australia for eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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Review: Eden

edenEden by Candice Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of the second book of Archer & Bennett and there may be spoilers in respect to the first book, Hades.

I didn’t know this book was a sequel when I first picked it up. Thankfully, I had thought to look it up first on Goodreads. I tracked down Hades and was absolutely blown away –such an amazing debut! Happily, I then had Eden ready to go and jumped right on it.

I’ve heard that Eden Archer is basically a female version of Dexter. I’ve not read Dexter though I’ve seen parts of the series so I think, this concepts works quite well in describing her. What an amazingly complex character –so damaged yet so aware of it! She also kicks some serious ass so what can I do but fall in love with her.

The story is told from 3 perspectives: Eden’s, Frank Bennett’s (Eden’s partner), and the infamous Hades Archer (Eden’s ‘father’). Despite the multiple POVs, it was quite easy to differentiate which POV you’re reading and as the story took place in a wide ranging situations, I’d appreciate the many point of views as it really gives the story the depth it requires. I really love that we get to read Hades’ background and how parts of this novel took place in a different time.

Whilst I expected the ending (that character is an intelligent one & I expected her to connect the dots), it still did NOT stop my heart from missing a beat as it skipped in excitement for the next instalment. What an utterly brilliant end!! Both Hades and Eden were un-put-down-able and I just cannot wait for more Archer & Bennett.

Thank you, Random House Australia via The Reading Room for copy of book

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