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Redemption Point: A Crimson Lake Novel

Review

Redemption Point: A Crimson Lake Novel

You may be at least somewhat familiar with Candice Fox from her recent collaborative efforts with James Patterson. Truth be told, though, Fox has been active for a few years, having published several critically acclaimed and commercially successful novels in her native Australia. CRIMSON LAKE, the first of a series bearing the same name as the title, released in the United States in 2018. We have just been blessed with the publication of REDEMPTION POINT, the second installment, and it’s even better than its predecessor. It will take up rent-free space in your head long after you finish reading it.

The Crimson Lake series pairs up a couple of damaged and star-crossed characters who more or less stumbled into each other and formed a detective agency that is even greater than the significant sum of its parts. Ted Conkaffey is a former police detective with significant personal and professional problems. He was unjustly accused of, but never tried for, abducting and raping a young girl. While the case remains open, he is living proof of the adage that no one has had their life improved by being the subject of media scrutiny. With his police career having come to an end and his life in ruins, Ted has retreated to Crimson Lake, a Queensland rainforest town, in the hope of living quietly.

"REDEMPTION POINT has two intriguing mysteries --- one each for Amanda and Ted --- and plenty of unforgettable characters, not all of whom make it to the last page."

During the events of CRIMSON LAKE, Ted met Amanda Pharrell, a local woman with a criminal history that she loves to call her own. By any definition, Amanda is a delightful piece of work. One never knows what cringeworthy masterpiece is going to fall from her lips in the next moment. Her background is such that it is remarkable she is able to function at all. Function, though, she does, and quite well, to the extent that she is often the quickest and smartest person in the room by default.

As REDEMPTION POINT begins, Ted is confronted once again by his past, while Amanda is brought sideways into the double murder of two employees in a dive bar. The killings occurred after the place was closed for the night, and to Detective Inspector Pip Sweeney, robbery appears to be the motive, at least at first. That changes when Amanda arrives on the scene. Sweeney finds it difficult to keep up with Amanda, who makes Sherlockian observations and conclusions with rapid-fire aplomb. The bar, known as the Barking Frog Inn, and its immediate surroundings come loaded with secrets, and a great deal of the book’s enjoyment is watching how Amanda peels back the wrapping on the deceptively quiet atmosphere to reveal the secrets beneath while solving the double murder in the bargain.

Meanwhile, Ted is sent reeling when he has to deal with a new set of allegations that seem to confirm he is guilty of the heinous crime with which he was originally charged. As this is occurring, the real doer of the original act is revealed to the reader in the form of a diary that is about as chilling as anything you are likely to read this year. However, Ted is not entirely alone, given that he is supported by Amanda as well as a podcast audience and a Lebanese drug dealer who supplies him with two bodyguards named... You’ll have to read the book to find out how everything comes together --- and falls apart --- in a conclusion that will stay with you far beyond the final sentences.

REDEMPTION POINT has two intriguing mysteries --- one each for Amanda and Ted --- and plenty of unforgettable characters, not all of whom make it to the last page. But it is the unpredictable Amanda who will put you in the mind of a more accessible (and smarter) Lisbeth Salander and for whom you will come back as long as Fox sees fit to keep writing this series, which hopefully will be a very long time.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 5, 2019

Redemption Point: A Crimson Lake Novel
by Candice Fox

  • Publication Date: March 19, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0143793365
  • ISBN-13: 9780143793366