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07 December 2014

Candice Fox: Eden

Compelling gritty story about evil
Last year Candice Fox made a stunning debut with HADES which emotionally flogged me with the pace of the action, the violence, the body count and episodes of pure fear. It is always hard to follow up on such a performance but IMHO she has done this with EDEN - quite a different story but just as gritty, heavily based on savagery but showing some signs of humanity that was missing from her first book.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. It is a story about an imaginary savage underworld that most people cannot envisage - murderers, rapists, peodophiles and even a cannibal. Some even come from respectable society and the police force. This time we hear the story of how Hades Archer became a monster whose main profession is disposing of dead bodies. Once again, as with his "adopted" children, Eric and Eden, he became what he was because he was taken in as a child by a monster.

At the end of HADES Candice Fox left us with Detectives Eden Archer and Frank Bennett both under traumatic stress following the death of Eden's brother Eric and Frank's girlfriend Martina. They were taken off active duty until they complete a full psychological program.

Frank is still stunned by what happened and uses alcohol and pills to placate his sorrow but Eden's upbringing covers any personal reactions. Eden tries to get Frank back to work to take him out of his misery. She asks him to do some work for father, which he surprisingly accepts and he finds that even Hades has his vulnerabilities.

When they are back in the force as homicide partners Eden risks her life by accepting an undercover assignment in the company of with the worst of low-life to uncover a possible serial killer of three missing young women. While Eden's upbringing leaves her emotionally cold and unfeeling, this time we get the feeling that deep down there may be some good among the evil as she takes enormous risks to find the killer.

While EDEN lacked the stunning impact of HADES it was still a brilliant work of creative writing about an underworld that begs imagination. Well done Candice Fox, you have shown that you can keep up your creativity and change it sufficiently to keep things absorbing, At the end you left us with a fascinating clue to keep us on tenterhooks until the next book.

My thanks to The Reading Room and Random House Australia for providing a copy of this book for review.

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