Review: Catch Us The Foxes by Nicola West

 

Title: Catch Us The Foxes

Author: Nicola West

Published: 7th July 2021, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status: Read July 2021 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

 

Catch Us the Foxes is a dark, enthralling thriller from debut Australian novelist, Nicola West.

The novel opens with a prologue where Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson, is being introduced to an audience at the Sydney Opera House. She is to speak about her best selling true crime book, ‘The Showgirl’s Secret’, an account of the tragic death of a young woman, Lily Williams, seven years previously.

Marlowe was a 22 year old intern at the local paper when she found Lily’s body in the stables of the town showground. When her father, the town police chief, asked Lo to lie about some of the details of the crime, including the symbols carved into the young woman’s flesh, she reluctantly agreed, but then she is given Lily’s journals which suggest Lo’s father, and other prominent citizens, may have a reason to have wanted Lily dead.

West presents a compelling, intricate mystery where the truth is shockingly elusive to the very last page. Lily’s diaries suggest a frightening cult is operating in their small coastal town, and while the allegations seem absurd, Lo is prompted to dig further when a carnival worker is arrested for Lily’s murder on threadbare evidence. If what Lily has written is true, there are plenty of possible suspects among the townsfolk, and West cleverly portrays them with an interesting ambiguity. Suspense builds as trust is eroded, and Lo attempts to ascertain the truth.

Lo presents as smart, resourceful and ambitious but there is an edge to her character that is disquieting. Doubt is thrown on the validity of her investigation when other characters suggest Lo is suffering from PTSD, and the possibility is a nag as she continues to piece information together, so that her reliability as a narrator is in question. It’s a clever conceit that West manages well.

The plot makes good use of the setting, small towns seem capable of hiding secrets behind their bucolic facades. I’ve been to Kiama (on NSW’s south coast) where Catch Us the Foxes takes place, and it’s a pretty coastal town, not so different from the one I live in now, but West successfully paints it as a claustrophobic, corrupt community.

With its clever structure and twisting, gripping plot, Catch Us the Foxes is an impressive read. The stunning final reveal seems to divide readers, but I thought it was terrific.

+++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    Jul 15, 2021 @ 12:10:16

    It is a great read. I thought the final reveal was a step too far, but that simply means I was very much caught up in the story:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  2. Stephanie - Bookfever
    Jul 15, 2021 @ 18:50:15

    Ooooh this sounds really good! And the cover is pretty creepy as well. I’m definitely intrigued!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Carol Evans
    Jul 16, 2021 @ 03:20:53

    Sounds great. And I love the title.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. WendyW
    Jul 16, 2021 @ 07:22:19

    Terrific review! This book does sound exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Mystica
    Jul 16, 2021 @ 14:58:57

    Sounds good. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Theresa Smith Writes
    Jul 16, 2021 @ 16:47:51

    Yes! Me too! I loved the ending as well.

    Like

    Reply

  7. allthebookblognamesaretaken
    Jul 18, 2021 @ 01:07:11

    This sounds deliciously suspenseful, I will be on the lookout for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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  9. Trackback: Crime Fiction Round-Up: July-August 2021 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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