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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reading : Skin and Bone by Kathryn Fox

Similar to Michael Robotham’s tendency of taking minor characters from his previous books and featuring them as protagonists in the next, Kathryn Fox has promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Farrer from bit player in the Anya Crichton books (Malicious Intent, Without Consent) to lead in Skin and Bone.

Kate Farrer is returning to work after recovering from a hellish ordeal a few months earlier and is determined to carry on with her usual high quality efficiency. However she’s hampered by side-effects from being held captive, battling panic attacks and claustrophobia and has to go through the added aggravation of breaking in a new partner. Then there’s the rampant chauvinism thrust at her by some of her fellow detectives.

Skin and Bone starts with an arson that is complicated by one victim found in the ashes, making it a possible murder investigation. The dead woman has also recently had a baby but there is no sign of it in the wreckage, so there’s also a missing child to worry about. Finally, she is assigned to a missing person case when the daughter of a wealthy businessman, and friend of the police commissioner – the father not the daughter – vanishes without a trace.

This is proving to be a strong, character driven police procedural novel with just as much interest coming from the interaction between Kate and her new partner (non-romantic, praise be) as there is in the way they go about solving the respective cases.


Anonymous said...

I have to confess to reading but not enjoying the first of these books (Malicious Intent). I didn't find the Anya character that sympathetic, or the book particularly well=written or plotted. So I haven't been tempted to read any more. You are clearly a fan, so can you tell me if in your opinion they improve, or if they pretty much stay at the same level as the first?

Damien said...

Hi Maxine

I suspect that if you didn't enjoy Malicious Intent you probably won't be too keen on Without Consent either because it runs along the same theme (i.e. forensics) with the same central character (Anya Crichton).

With Skin and Bone, Fox heads off in a new direction and has used Detective Kate Farrer as the central character. It's your typical police procedural mystery that begins with the discovery of a dead woman with many unanswered questions surrounding her. As the case unfolds the story is hampered somewhat through its dependence on coincidence to explain events - not to mention one scene that was entirely far-fetched (high eye-rolling factor).

While I wouldn't describe the book as a page-turner, it's a story that has merit. Also it will be appreciated more by an Australian audience with themes that have obviously been pulled from a well-publicised recent real-life trial.

Anonymous said...

Have you finished it? What was the final wash-up?