Goose – Dawn O’Porter
- Murder in Mississippi – John Safran
- Elianne – Judy Nunn
- Divergent – Veronica Roth
- Insurgent – Veronica Roth
- Allegiant – Veronica Roth
The Messenger – Markus Zusak Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
- The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
NOS4R2 – Joe Hill Hades – Candice Fox Eden – Candice Fox
- Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher The Maze Runner – James Dashner The Scorch Trials – James Dashner The Death Cure – James Dashner A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby More Than This – Patrick Ness Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead – Rebecca James Solitaire – Alice Oseman
- Trouble – Non Pratt
- The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
- The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare et al
I think Candice Fox has officially changed my opinion of crime fiction. Or at least Aussie crime fiction. Nothing about Eden, or her Ned Kelly award-winning debut Hades, has fallen into the stereotypical formulaic storytelling that I have come to expect of the genre. Instead, I have been pleasantly surprised by labyrinthine plots that twist and turn and lead your down false corridors and have an unexpected burst of light when the answers finally reveal themselves.
I seriously did not see the last few bombshells coming. As I read the last line, I actually exclaimed “oh my God!” aloud and immediately began hoping and wishing and praying that the next Fox instalment comes around quickly.
After the stellar Hades, I was expecting a bit of a letdown with the structure of Eden. The way the flashbacks and multiple POVs worked seemed unique to that one particular story. But I was wrong. Fox managed to take her dazzlingly complex story structure and apply it to her second novel. Instead of getting Eden’s backstory, we got Hades’. Plus we got two mysteries for the price of one: Eden going undercover to discover who had been making transient, down-on-their-luck girls disappear from this one farm owned by prime suspect Jackie Rye, and Frank Bennett trying to discover who killed a woman named Sunday White back in the 1970s. Again, Fox conducted these stories and POVs like a master. I never once got confused or felt lost. In fact I found myself impatient for the next chunk of each mystery when one of the other POVs got in the way. Well done, Fox, well done.
One little complaint I have is that I wasn’t sure of the timeframe for Hades’ backstory. There are multiple mentions of “‘Nam” but that didn’t necessarily anchor the story in the ’70s for me. I feel like there could have been a mention of the Prime Minister at the time, some bands, some clothing, or something that would have given me more of a context. Around three quarters of my way through the book, the timeframe was confirmed, but I still found myself confused. I’m really no good at maths, and trying to figure out Hades’ age backwards to try and figure out when he would have been in his prime was something I just couldn’t wrap my head around.
Also, in Eden, we had three main POVs: Eden, Frank, and Hades. There were also a few fringe POVs, such as the cop psychologist Dr. Imogen Stone and the tech consultant Juno. These two made sense. However, there was one POV that made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, and that was one of Eden’s “marks”, or “kills”, or whatever you want to call them. If you’ve read Hades, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, I’m just going to say that Eden has a fairly gruesome extracurricular activity for a cop. This particular POV went for only a few pages and I felt that it didn’t add much to the story. I didn’t care enough about this character to worry about what Eden was going to do to him. I feel like these few pages could have either been cut or written from Eden’s POV.
What I love most about Fox’s writing is her ability to get inside her character’s heads. Frank is living with the emotional consequences of leaving his girlfriend Martina [SPOILER FOR HADES] during the Jason Beck case for a tiny while and having her end up dead. Similarly, Eden is living with the consequences of [ANOTHER SPOILER FOR HADES] shooting her brother, Eric. And Hades is living with the more tangible consequences of his rise to infamy during his cold and terrifying reign in the ’70s. We get more than a quest for answers in Fox’s stories. We get real people who have to deal with extraordinary scenarios that Fox somehow makes believable.
Furthermore, for 95% of Eden’s POV, Eden doesn’t refer to herself as Eden. Rather, she calls herself “Eadie”, her undercover name (all of the POVs in this series are in third person except for Frank’s, which is in first person). It’s this one tiny detail that helps us to understand that Eden isn’t acting like Eden, but rather as a person who is completely different from her policewoman/daughter-of-an-Australian-crime-lord self. And whenever Fox uses “Eden” instead of “Eadie”, we know that Eden has slipped back into her usual persona. And all from simply changing her name. That is one beautifully subtle stroke of genius, Fox.
This is going to be a short review today, folks. As much as I would like to take apart this book in exquisite detail with lots of gushing and praise and envy and awe, I think that you guys may get bored. So I’m just going to say this: if you need to read one Aussie author this year and haven’t quite found the right one? Choose Candice Fox. Because you definitely won’t be disappointed.