Award-winning Australian crime writer, Candice Fox, is back with her new novel, Redemption Point. And I have a bone to pick with Ms Fox which is: ruination of my respectable bed time. It’s eleven pm AT THE LATEST, Ms Fox. Not whatever wee small hours I am able to pry your book from my hands! Please stop being so gosh-darn good, cause I’m tired. But don’t, really. Just keep being awesome.
That about sums up Redemption Point, the sequel to Crimson Lake. It is another expertly plotted crime novel, full of quirky characters who are all shades of good and bad.
If you’ve read Crimson Lake, you’ll have already met protagonist detectives, Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrell. In the follow-up, Ted is still battling with the stigma of paedophile charges that were dropped mid-trial, leaving him as Australia’s most hated man. Only now, he also has to contend with the irate father of Claire Bingley, the girl Ted was accused of kidnapping and leaving for dead. Claire’s father wants Ted to find whoever really attacked his daughter and if he fails, he’ll do away with Ted regardless. Throw in some powerful drug lords set to protect Ted, whether he wants them to or not, separation from his wife and baby daughter, and new media interest in his case, and Ted is having a pretty tough time.
Meanwhile, Amanda is investigating the murder of two young adults in a Cairns pub. It looks like a robbery gone wrong, but as usual in Ms Fox’s world, things are never that simple. The tattoo-covered eccentric is joined by newly-minted Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney. It’s her first case and Detective Sweeney has some of her own long-buried secrets to contend with.
What stands out about this novel is the development of Amanda’s character. More scenes from her point of view allow the reader insight into her particular way of viewing the world and her issues relating to normal human emotions. She blossoms in this novel, compared to the first book where she was more of a mysterious, shadowy figure. And topic je dour—trial by media—continues as a strong theme. In a world where accusations of impropriety are increasingly enough to end careers and reputations forever, it’s a confronting and enlightening exploration of the effects of unproven accusations upon an individual and their family.
A word of warning: this does contain a gritty sub-plot from the point of view of a paedophile, which is quite confronting. It, too, is carefully handled but beware some readers may find it tough going. Also, this sequel does give away some of the plot points in Crimson Lake, so do read them in order for maximum enjoyment.
As usual, if you think you can predict how this all ends, you’re likely wrong. Redemption Point is another amazing, addictive, insightful and utterly bedtime-destroying read from Australia’s Queen of Crime.
Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Rating out of 10: 9
Distributed by: Penguin Australia
Released: January 2018
RRP: $32.99 trade paperback, $12.99 eBook