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Hades (An Archer and Bennett Thriller Book 1) Kindle Edition
Sydney homicide detective Frank Bennett has a new partner—dark, beautiful, coldly efficient Eden Archer. Frank doesn’t know what to make of her, or her brother Eric, who’s also on the police force. Their methods are . . . unusual. But when a graveyard full of large steel toolboxes filled with body parts is found at the bottom of Sydney harbor, unusual is the least of their worries.
For Eden and Eric, the case holds chilling links to a scarred childhood—and the murderer who raised them. For Frank, each clue brings him closer to something he’s not sure he wants to face. But true evil goes beyond the bloody handiwork of a serial killer—and no one is truly innocent . . .
“Compelling . . . A chilling read.” —Sydney Morning Herald
Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Novel
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About the Author
Visit her on Facebook or at www.candicefoxauthor.com. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01MRB5EZU
- Publisher : Pinnacle Books; Reissue edition (January 31, 2017)
- Publication date : January 31, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1110 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 334 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #47,527 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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What Fox really excelled in as far as Hades' setting goes is her chilling descriptions of two of the serial killer's body dump sites. Although neither graphic nor gruesome, those descriptions made my blood run cold. I really love it when writers can make me break out in goosebumps without drowning scenes in buckets of gore.
It took me a long time to warm up to Frank Bennett, the man who tells us what's going on. He's needy. He becomes fascinated with Eden, originally because she's so pretty (yawn) but then the fascination grows when he realizes that there's something not quite right about Eden and her brother Eric. It took time, but I did warm up to Bennett finally when I learned about his relationship with an elderly man after chasing a burglar out of the man's house. That was the tipping point for me.
There were a couple of secondary characters whose deaths were inevitable, and I did find the serial killer (dubbed "The Body Snatcher" by the media) to be over the top and not really believable, but the linchpin of Hades is Eden Archer. When she was five, she and her brother were kidnapped, left for dead, and then raised by a fixer-- a killer for hire who "fixed" other criminals' problems. When Hades realizes what young Eden and Eric are doing in their spare time, he ensures that the two will use their skills only for good, and in this, it's impossible not to compare Eden Archer to Jeff Lindsay's Dexter. This comparison has everything to do with my reaction to this book.
I read the first Dexter Morgan book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and appreciated the author's originality and writing style. I thought it was a well-written, absorbing book. But. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?) I never read another book in the series. There's something about someone taking the law into his or her own hands that offends me even when the person is taking vicious criminals off the streets permanently. Consequently, I have the same problem with Eden Archer, and although I did find the story compelling, I'm satisfied with reading just one. The good news is that I have the first book in Candice Fox's other series waiting to be read. I look forward to Crimson Lake because one thing I know for sure is that I like the way this author writes.
My Review Four Stars****
This kick-off to the author’s trilogy of “Archer and Bennett Thrillers” won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Novel, given by the Australian Crime Writers Association. The description sounded intriguing and right down my alley.
This crime fiction thriller features a chilling malignant narcissist (to be more accurate at least two characters who could be categorized as such). The story unfolds with its events filtered through the lens of a first person POV from the novel’s unsympathetic protagonist Frank Bennett. He is the newest member of the homicide squad in Sydney, Australia and is assigned to partner with the enigmatic dark and beautiful Eden Archer. Frank is immediately smitten with the much younger and exotic Eden, while simultaneously confronted by the malevolent presence of her brother Eric who is also a member of the team of detectives. The character of Eric is viewed by Frank as intrusive, intimidating, and controlling. The “Captain” of the homicide division and all of its members are perceived by Frank as being in the sway of the dominant alpha dog Eric and his mysterious sister, if not downright afraid of the pair.
In addition to first person POV with Bennett, the author employs shifting timelines and alternating chapters which serve to introduce an intriguing seriously prolific serial killer to the story, and to provide the back story of Eden and Eric through the eyes of the fascinating dark character of “Hades” (Heinrich Archer). This first novel by Fox has a vigilante theme which is obvious by just reading the teaser description. Surprisingly though, the entire book is populated by antiheroes and punctuated by the inclusion of a couple sadistic sociopaths for good measure. The homicide squad becomes aware of an active serial murderer in their midst by sheer accident. Jason (the name of our self-appointed annihilator who strives to rid the world of the unfit and unworthy) decides one day that chaining a hapless junkie to a large steel chest and dumping him into the ocean will be the end of a petty inconvenience. The junkie exhibits an impressive degree of ingenuity to escape his fate that would make Houdini proud, and astutely observes that he is sinking into a veritable graveyard of similar large steel chests on the floor of the sea below him.
The police send in their divers and they indeed find the veritable graveyard of uniformly generic large steel toolboxes that were observed by the junkie. Retrieval and opening the boxes reveal that they are full of body parts. It is in this manner that the population of Sydney learn that a killer has been active for years. This much of the plot line can also be gleaned from the description of this inaugural novel featuring the homicide team of Frank and Eden. The character of the serial killer that I will anoint as the “primary” villain is a narcissist with a “God Complex” which is a bit of a dichotomy since he is a fervent believer in Darwinism and survival of the fittest. He believes that he is a handsome specimen with the physical attributes and superior intellect that sets him apart from mere mortals. Jason would have felt very much at home in the company of Hitler and his elite Gestapo during World War II albeit perhaps more drawn to the likes of Josef Mengele in his laboratories. It is somewhat ingenious that the author develops Jason as the product of both his megalomania and his obsession with Darwinism to create an original serial killer who combines his compulsion to rid the earth of its unfit and weak specimens while in his need to play God, he gives life to those he perceives as worthy.
There are not many “taboos” for me as a reader, and I am an avid fan of dark psychological thrillers, graphic crime fiction, and serial killer thrillers that describe wide ranges of pathology and psychopathy. That said, there is a single “trigger” that will put me off in a New York second. It is cruelty to animals. That said, I managed to make it through reading portions of Jason’s back story that made me inwardly cringe. The genesis of Eden and Eric as the reader follows the course of their development from young children to their teenage years is rough in spots due to Eric’s propensity for sadism and targeting of innocent creatures. It would have been easier for me to read about more setting fires and bedwetting (maybe bed-wetting and then setting the bed on fire). No, I gave Fox a “pass” on her unapologetic portrayal of the makings of a killer, and in this book, we are talking about multiple killers.
The element I enjoyed most in this debut novel was the portions dedicated to Hades, the criminal mastermind who both literally and figuratively ruled “the Underworld”. He was a passionate monster and an unscrupulous crippler and killer, but also a sociopath who could experience empathy. The back story of Eden and her brother Eric while they were in the care of Hades was compelling, chilling, and memorable. He was my favorite anti-hero in the book.
Insofar as Frank, his character never inspired sympathy nor admiration. The author made an attempt to redeem a few of his more despicable qualities toward the end of the book, and a sympathetic victim was deployed to effect this change. I couldn’t “feel it” but it did make me get past the only other “taboo” I have as a reader (the cold-hearted dispatch of a character in the book that has been sympathetic enough to engage the reader’s investment in their fate).
In the case of Eden and Eric, the ending was essentially a foregone conclusion to me. It was evident that despite their similarities in tutelage by Hades, there was a fundamental difference in their disturbed psyches and the way they were hard-wired. Eric is nothing if not a malignant narcissist and remorseless sadistic psychopath with no boundaries. It remains to be seen whether Eden has any capacity for empathy, but it is clear that she has a line she will not cross.
Overall, I feel like that this debut book was damn good. Vigilantism isn’t for everyone, that is every reader. I’m a die-hard fan of Dexter thus it is pretty obvious where I stand. All of us would like to believe in the justice system, and those among the throngs who have never had evil to reach out and touch their lives, never been violently victimized, or (I believe worst of all) had someone they love be plucked from their life at the whim of a heartless killer may continue to believe. Conversely, victims of senseless violent intrusions that scar them for life, render their heart a bleeding wasteland of loss…well, they may have that belief challenged.
Ironically, I was just reading in the TV Guide about Lawrence Bittaker being featured in a 2-Hour Special tonight wherein he gives an interview about his and partner Roy’s killing spree in Southern California in the late ‘70’s (“The Toolbox Killers”). He was described by the legendary FBI Special Agent John E. Douglas as the most disturbing individual for whom he had ever created a criminal profile. Bittaker was sentenced to death by a California jury in March 1981. He died of natural causes 38 years later at age 79 in San Quentin’s Death Row, just 3 months before his 80th Birthday. What’s wrong with that picture?
I plan to do a “first” for me and that is to buy Book 2 (EDEN) and read it back-to-back. I am genuinely interested in what happens moving forward with the homicide detective team of Frank and Eden. I would have rated this debut Five Stars but for the explicit excursions into animal cruelty.
Top reviews from other countries
If you like a good thriller with twists then give her a go ,I’m loving this author.