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Fox, Kathryn - 'Skin and Bone'
Paperback: 384 pages (Feb. 2008) Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks ISBN: 0340933089

Australian author Kathryn Fox burst onto the scene and into the best sellers back in 2004 with MALICIOUS INTENT, the first of the Dr Anya Crichton series. One of Anya's friends and a significant character in that book was Detective Kate Farrer who has now been given her own book in SKIN AND BONE.

Kate has been on sick leave for a few weeks but is called back to work early due to staff shortages and her first assignment is to a house fire in which there is a dead body; the cause of death is soon confirmed as murder - but not as a result of the fire. To complete the horror, Kate and her new partner Oliver Parke soon realise that they have a missing baby to track down but have no idea who the mother is or even how old the baby is, if indeed it is still alive.

Kate and Oliver begin to get their teeth into the case but are then sidelined to track down the missing daughter of a wealthy family who want it all done on the quiet. Frustrated about being given this sort of work whilst there's a baby missing, the pair do their best but soon it becomes clear that all is not what it seems and the case assumes a greater significance when blood is found in the missing girl's car.

SKIN AND BONE is an easy, entertaining and informative read and one that I found myself keen to get back to at every opportunity. As Oliver is a newcomer, Kate is forced to explain to him and thus the reader various bits of procedure and other pertinent information which I found interesting but maybe does slow the pace a little. The focus is mostly on the police-work with very little time spent on the officers' home lives. The two cases are solved in a satisfactory and logical manner with a couple of unexpected twists. The setting, to me, felt like a big city but I would be hard pressed to identify it as Sydney from the references made, though it's probably more obvious to the original target audience.

Kate is a prickly character who doesn't fit in well with her colleagues and reminded me of Cindy Decker in STREET DREAMS by Faye Kellerman and Eve Dallas in the J D Robb 'In Death' series. I hope the author writes more about her.

Karen Meek, England
August 2008

Karen blogs at
Euro Crime.

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 30/08/2008 21:44