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Book DetailsISBN: 9781760857479
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Book Review: Catch Us the Foxes by Nicola West - Reviewed by CloggieA (04 Jul 2021)
3.5?s Catch Us The Foxes is the first novel by Australian author, Nicola West. When intern journalist Marlowe Robertson stumbles on the body of the 2008 Kiama Showgirl, she’s understandably shocked. But it’s the mutilations on Lo’s best friend’s back that truly shake her up. There are strange symbols cut into Lily Williams’s back. Even stranger, when she alerts her father, Kiama’s Police Chief, he makes her promise not to reveal this detail.
Lo begins to wonder if the murder is related to the incident in the ghost train ride from which Lily fled in terror shortly before her death. Lily’s favourite crystal seller indicates she had fears for her own safety and that there would be a truth for Lo to uncover.
Lily’s secret diaries, when Lo gains access to them, are disturbing, revealing the existence of a local cult involving the town’s movers and shakers, something awful that Lo is reluctant to believe. They also reinforce a recent warning that no-one in Kiama can be trusted.
The police immediately target a carny from the Show, an outsider, as the murder suspect, but Lo learns that they have withheld certain evidence apart from the mutilations, and isn’t convinced by their case. Does her investigation make her a target for a murderer?
In the days following the murder, Lo is told she is suffering from PTSD, and certainly her paranoia will lead the reader to question her reliability as a narrator. Apart from the prologue and epilogue, set seven years later, the story plays out over just the five days following the murder, but manages to include a lynch mob, a fire, a mountain hike, a funeral and a suicide.
West’s portrayal of Kiama as a town plagued by small-minded provincial xenophobes/homophobes might not meet the approval of current locals, but she does capture the setting fairly well. The plot is imaginative, with several twists and red herrings to keep the reader interested, but West’s page-turner gimmick of cliff-hanger chapter last lines does become a tiny bit irritating. Despite some plot holes and a not-quite-convincing ending, this is an impressive debut novel. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.
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