never never

One person, then another, and another goes missing in an isolated outback uranium mine in Western Australia. Did they leave, or is there a killer on the loose? That’s Never Never…

I’m a huge Candice Fox fan, and that gave me the expectation that the thriller would be smart and contemporary. Add to that world renowned author James Patterson at the co-writing helm and you know you’re in for a solid thriller. The main character is badass female detective Harriet ‘Harry’ Blue who was raised in and out of foster homes with her beloved brother. She made it to Detective, but her brother fell on the other side of the thin blue line and is accused of appalling sex crimes. To escape the media frenzy surrounding a sex crimes Detective who apparently had no idea her brother was the Georges River Killer, her superior packs her off to outback WA to follow up on a missing persons case on a Uranium mine and to lay low until the media frenzy dies down.

Once at the mine things take an immediate dark turn. There seems to be more than one person missing, with more falling off the face of the earth right under Harry’s nose. What is happening out there on the seemingly lawless mine? What do the environmental terrorist group who live on the fringes know? Why are Harry and her partner, Whitt, met with such animosity? Is big money worth more than a human life? At what point does being out in an isolated mine on a sunburnt, scorching plain start to mess with your head?

The book sets the scene pretty quickly and jumps right in, which must be the ‘Patterson’ influence. From there, the pace is fast, so if you like your thrills full of adrenalin, then Never Never should be your next read. There is one particularly unsettling scene involving a huntsman spider that gave me a restless nights sleep  waking in a cold sweat at 4.30am, not good times.

The last third of Never Never is frenetic, there seemed not to be much character development and depth built up throughout the book and so there was little between action scenes and body count. It did feel it was a bit ‘all action and no brainwork’ towards the end and I did get a little bit annoyed with Harry’s hot, reactionary head at times too. I’m unsure those traits would get her as far on the career ladder in the real world, but maybe the reasoning behind that will be revealed later in the series.

I did guess the ending before it was revealed (I read far too many thrillers, so it has to be good to get me!) but it didn’t spoil the end and I love how the book is set up for a sequel without leaving you hanging too much. I read it over two nights as I had to find out what was going on and with a book written at such a pace, it won’t be one that hangs around unread for while.

Solid A-grade action thriller, which plays with your mind and then with a menacing laugh, leaves you. Looking for the next in the series where I hope to find more detailed character development as reflected in Hades and Eden.

3.5 out of 5 for me.  Out now! Buy at Booktopia

NetGalley copy in exchange for an honest review – Book published by Penguin Random House


The Book Jacket

A chilling thriller set in the Australian Outback, from the pen of the world’s bestselling writer, James Patterson and co-written with award-winning crime writer Candice Fox. The Australian Outback is the perfect hunting ground . . .

Detective Harriet Blue needs to get out of town, fast.

With her brother under arrest for a series of brutal murders in Sydney, Harry’s chief wants the hot-headed detective kept far from the press. So he assigns her a deadly new case – in the middle of the Outback.

Deep in the Western Australian desert, three young people have disappeared from the Bandya Mine. And it’s Harry’s job to track them down.

But still reeling from events back home, and with a secretive new partner at her side, Harry’s not sure who she can trust anymore.

And, in this unforgiving land, she has no idea how close she is to a whole new kind of danger . . .