Detective Harriet "Harry" Blue has just had the rug pulled out from under her feet - her brother has been accused of murder and she has been sent to the middle of nowhere to escape the media circus that is about to descend on her. The case is an excuse to get away, but it soon turns out to be more than she expected. A miner has gone walk about from the mine, nothing that unusal for an isolated mine where people spend three weeks at a time with very little to do but work, but this time his severed foot was dragged into the camp by a dingo. No one at the mine wants Detective Blue and her temporary partner there, the hostility is subtle for some and more open for others - and the mine bosses seem determined to put roadblocks in the way for the Detectives.
As they investigate it soon becomes clear that there is definitely more than one potential victim - other people have allegedly walked away from the camp, victims of the isolation in most peoples minds. Harry knows there is more to the case and throws herself into the investigation, and there are some good suspects, and when others are targeted Harry is somewhat vindicated. A killer is hunting in the mine, a killer with the weapon and skill to take out any opponent they want. Time is running out for Harry, not only with the killer but also with her game of cat and mouse with the media. With a partner she doesn't know if she can trust or not, and the odds stacked against her this is a case that will have deadly consequences if Detective Harry Blue can't untangle the truth.
Black & Blue was a tempting taste of Detective Harry Blue, a "tough as nails" cop who doesn't let anyone or anything get to her. In Never Never we get to see beneath the surface a little, a glimpse of the emotional scars she carries, and the genuine confusion and self doubt about not seeing the truth about her brother. The setting of the mine creates a tense and somewhat surreal environment, they might as well be on the moon with the isolation and quirks that everyone has. People under pressure display weird behaviours and can crack, and that is what you see in so many of the characters in Never Never - including Harry herself in many respects.
This is a book series that has real potential to not only blow away some of the stereotypes about female detectives, but to also explore the land Down Under. I have said before that it is nice to have something set in my "neighbourhood" and while Australia is across the "Ditch" from New Zealand we share a lot of the same language and history and it was nice not to have to puzzle over some of the things that Americans take for granted (like what dos a bear claw look like without resorting to Google).
This is a great series, and James Patterson and Candice Fox have created a seamless story without any stuttering or hesitation - a smooth writing style that blends their ideas together seamlessly. Some reviewers have grumbled about the book being written to a formula, but that is true of most genre fiction and Patterson and his co-authors take you on a familiar yet exhilarating ride that challenges you to figure out whodunit before the end of the novel. Here's hoping Patterson can find time in his busy schedule to add to this interesting and enjoyable series.
If you like this book then try:
- Private Oz by James Patterson and Michael White
- Private Sydney by James Patterson and Kathryn Fox
- Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
- Behind closed doors by B.A. Paris
- Black ice by Leah Giarratano
- Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
- The edge of normal by Carla Norton
- City of fear by Alafair Burke
- The slaughter man by Tony Parsons
- The surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
- City of the lost by Kelley Armstrong