March 27

Catch Us the Foxes by Nicola West

Well hi there Readheads, long time no blog. It’s been quite the year already right, so while my dedication to reading hasn’t suffered, my time to blog about it has.

Tell me, is it June already because for the love of Rapid Antigen Tests, it sure feels like it.

Anyhoo, I’ve been seeing this on more and more bookstore shelves so I thought I should share my two cents pronto. If you liked The Dry, you might just like this one because murder mysteries – when good – can get the phones turned to silent and the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your face for anyone asking ‘what’s for dinner?’

Marlowe Robertson is desperate to leave her hometown Kiama, NSW and works at the local newspaper doing some photography and any professionally-meaty thing they’ll throw her way. While shooting pics at the Kiama show, she rushes to meet her father for their annual firework viewing from the bonnet of his car and short-cutting through the carnival’s back-alley, she discovers the mutilated body of her best friend, reigning showgirl Lily Williams.

Seven strange symbols have been carved across Lily’s back and after Marlowe reports the grisly discovery to the local chief of police (who also happens to be her father left waiting on the car bonnet), she asks about the symbols. Suspiciously he tells her not to say anything about them. Horrified and sickened, Marlowe becomes a heat seeking missile about the symbols and the truth behind them and Lily’s death and what she discovers is truly revolting involving some of the most respected members of the Kiama community. Think cults, think human sacrifice, think the worst.

Then double it.

But is it all true? Or was Lily actually deeply disturbed and tried to bring her delusions to life through art, through diaries and through a confidante who also may have their own axe to grind? Marlowe sets to find out …and does, or so she thinks. But the truth morphes again and again, until you are left rather bamboozled with each page and you think everyone in Kiama needs to be arrested.

And then, at the very end of the story, you are just left with What The Actual Hell?

I really liked this book a lot, until it made me queasy. There is a relief-filled line where you think you finally, f.i.n.a.l.l.y think you know the answer. You relax a little. Breathe out. Feel a little let down that the hype may have just been that and people sometimes just behave badly and sometimes people actually are a little insane.

AND THEN… the very last paragraphs, boom. None of it is what you think and you will be looking for the nearest toilet and removing Kiama from any holiday list while you’re at it. It’s not what you expect at all and I’d like to say you feel better knowing, but I’d be lying. You won’t.

And that is just my two cents worth.