By: Candice Fox
Series: Archer & Bennett #1
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: 1/27/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
Compelling. A chilling read.” —Sydney Morning Herald
Twenty years ago, two children were kidnapped and left for dead. Raised by a master criminal, they grew up to become cops. Very unusual cops
Homicide detective Frank Bennett has an intriguing new partner. Dark, beautiful, coldly efficient, Eden Archer is one of the most enigmatic colleagues Frank has ever worked with—that includes her brother Eric, who’s also on the Sydney Metro police force. All of them are tested to the core when a local man discovers a graveyard of large steel toolboxes lying at the bottom of the harbor. Each box contains a grisly trove of human body parts.
For Frank, the madman’s clues are a tantalizing puzzle. For Eden and Eric, the case holds chilling links to a scarred childhood—and a murderous mentor named Hades. But the true evil goes beyond the bloody handiwork of a serial killer…
A special thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. HADES, a spine-chilling debut, by award-winning Australian author, Candice Fox is a dark, twisted, violent, gruesome psychological, crime, cop procedural, suspense thriller all rolled into ONE "Bloody-Good" mystery. Like NO other - Good versus evil mostly, evil. It all began one night, a kidnapping gone wrong, five evil men, murdered millionaire parents, half- dead brother and sister-ages three and five, two privileged children, the junkyard; Hades, the junkyard king in Sydney, “The Lord of the Underworld,” intelligent, artistic man, a sculptor, known for disposing of bodies, for a mere price of twenty grand. HADES: “His first thought would be to bury the children there together and dig the stranger in somewhere, anywhere, with the dozens of rapists, killers and thieves who littered the grounds of the dump. He closed his eyes. Too many strangers were coming to his dump these nights with their bundles of lost lives. He would have to put the word, NO new clients were welcome. The ones he knew his regular clients brought him bodies of evil ones. But these strangers. He shook his head. These strangers kept bringing innocents.” Until he realizes, they are NOT dead. He WILL allow the two children to live; raise them as his own. Their new names will be Eden and Eric. There was nothing in Hades’ past that he could use as a model for a healthy childhood. He had learned about respect by beating it into people and fairness was something he’d rarely witnessed. Some part of him feared that one day they would be gone from his life as abruptly as they had come. Though villains of every nature still arrived at his door seeking help, the little ones gave him a reason to believe that not all of his life was dedicated to evil. He fell in love with them, with a complete and undeniable love of a father. He wanted the best for these two brilliant students. The first time the children killed they were eight and ten. The best he could do was try to turn their killer instincts on those other monsters out there in the night who deserved it, and in a twisted and sickening way, maybe they would be making the world safer from the same darkness they each carried. Flashing back from past to present, some twenty years later, homicide detective Frank Bennett meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. Her brother, Eric, is also in the homicide squad and immediately makes it clear that he has real problems with anyone chosen to be Eden's partner. While they are experienced detectives, it is soon clear to Frank that there is something very unusual about Eden and Eric. Made even more difficult when their first case together turns into a bizarre serial killer scenario- a killer who seems to be harvesting of organs. A lot of organs. “No matter how much Hades fantasized about the two of them being children, moldable, and teachable and eager for love, they had stopped being children the night they were given to him, the night their parents were killed. Hades had fallen in love with two chimeras, two monsters in disguise, incapable of feeling the way he felt, of loving the way he loved. The horror they had experienced had cut a hole in them and they would be driven in vain to fill that hole for as long as they lived. Dogs with a taste for blood, enslaved to the need. “ Hades is unsure the children know "right from wrong", but he is hoping they can learn. The junkyard is a place for the evil ones, and never for the innocents. Then, Eden: Age five, when the murder of her family occurred. She as a child then, and never was again. Present, Eden: “A monster removed from the earth. The world was a little if safer for sons and daughters, mothers and fathers sleeping and laughing and holding each other in millions of houses and streets all over the world. One fiend at a time over and over, Eden and her brother had made the world a little bit safer. The job made it easy to find them, to pick them out and examine them like the lice they were, to choose them and crush them before they were safely bottled. Child molester, wife beaters, pimps, and psychotics and thrill killers. Snip, snip, snip. She was cutting away the ragged edges of a net and wholesome world. Tonight would be the last. To end a story. To kill for justice, and not for vengeance. However, she cannot stop the voices.” What a debut! I could not go to bed until I finished the novel, as scary as it was to read, you are pulled in with Hades, who loves the brother and sister, and at the same time your heart goes out to damaged and troubled children experiencing great psychological trauma and pain. All they know is violence and revenge. I was blown away by the author’s inspiration for the book, and her vast background. I listened to a hang out session with the author, discussing the book, and was fascinated, as why this novel was so enthralling! Fox seamlessly balances the horrific past with the present investigations, perfectly paced, and what an imagination, keeping you glued to the pages. This could be a TV series... Not for the faint-hearted; however, if you love a compelling crime psychological thriller with a wicked evil twist….HADES is for you. Cannot wait to read EDEN, (have to wait until Aug 25, 2015 for release in Kindle format US), the next in the series, as we continue the saga with Eden and her partner Frank. Well done, an author to follow! Fans of Jennifer Hillier, Paul Cleave, and Karin Slaughter will enjoy this one. Candice Fox is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney's western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of a parole officer and an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil as her father relayed his work stories to her mother and older brothers.
About the Author
Hades, Candice Fox's first novel, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association. The sequel, Eden, won the Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel in 2015, making Candice only the second author to win these accolades back-to-back. Also, in the 2015 Davitt Awards, Hades was Highly Commended in the debut category.
Candice is the middle child of a large, eccentric family from Sydney's western suburbs composed of half-, adopted and pseudo siblings. The daughter of a parole officer and an enthusiastic foster-carer, Candice spent her childhood listening around corners to tales of violence, madness and evil as her father relayed his work stories to her mother and older brothers.
Bankstown born and bred, she failed to conform to military life in a brief stint as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy at age eighteen. At twenty, she turned her hand to academia, and taught high school through two undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees. Candice lectures in writing at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, while undertaking a PhD in literary censorship and terrorism.