Book Review: Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
This is the first full length novel in the new Detective Blue series by Patterson and his Australian co-author, Candice Fox. (There is a prequel ‘bookshot’ called Black and Blue.)
Harriet ‘Harry’ Blue is a police detective from Sydney who, due to her personal involvement in a high profile case there, is sent to investigate a death in a Western Australian mine.
Once there she and her newly assigned partner for this case from Perth soon realise that it’s not just a death, but a murder, and that there might be more than one.
I loved the Australian mine setting.
Patterson and Fox take full advantage of the location’s isolation. The whole being cut off from civilisation, in a place where the normal rules of society don’t seem to apply, with people getting killed off one by one, will always be a fantastic trope. In this case, the only escape from the murderer is the unforgiving heat and barrenness of the Australian desert. (Don’t expect any lengthy poetic descriptions of the outback, however. I don’t think that’s either writer’s style.)
I think they probably could have utilised the whole fish-out-of-water theme much more. Although from the city, Harry seemed to have no trouble fitting in with the lifestyle at the (mostly male) mine or the nearby small outback town pub.
On this note, I was quite skeptical at the extent of the depravity displayed by the miners. Especially the drug dealer who demands a toll from visitors to the area. Of course some of these things do go on, but I have friends (both male and female) who work in mines and they do so without any big hassles or such tall tales of life there, so I’ll say Patterson and Fox have exaggerated here somewhat.
I also think they used a little licence when it came to the mine bosses and the power of their corporation. Trust me, there aren’t that many murders in Australia to think that the mine wouldn’t be instantly forced to cease operation should a body be discovered.
Like the prequel book shot, I did enjoy Never Never. In neither book, however, did I fall instantly in love with Harry. She isn’t the most likeable character I’ve ever read. There are a few things about her that I find rather grating and perhaps a tad cliched. There can be no denying the attraction of the book’s fast pacing and action packed plot though. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed in this respect.
I was a little disappointed at the identity of the murderer. I thought it was pretty obvious quite early on just who had dunnit. Not so when it came to the reason why they did it, however, so I was still given a surprise ending.
The ending isn’t completely tied up, of course. Patterson and Fox dangle out enough bait for the reader to purchase the next in the series when it is released. This could quite possibly include me.