Review: Malicious Intent by Kathryn Fox

Thursday, 13 August 2015
Title: Malicious Intent
Author: Kathryn Fox
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 7th November 2005
Pages: 484
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Dr Anya Crichton, a pathologist and forensic physician, finds that work is sparse for the only female freelancer in the field. Between paying child support, a mortgage and struggling to get her business off the ground, Anya can't yet afford to fight her ex-husband for custody of their three-year-old son, Ben. When Anya is asked to look into the seemingly innocent suicide of a teenager, Anya notices similarities between the girl's death and several other cases she is working on with her friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Kate Farrer. All the victims went missing for a period of time, only to be found dead of apparent suicide in most unusual circumstances. As Anya delves deeper, the pathological findings point to the frightening possibility that the deaths are not only linked, but part of a sinister plot. Nothing can prepare her for the terrifying truth...


Kathryn Fox's books have been on my TBR for a while and I immediately moved Malicious Intent to the top when I found out that she was the co-author of James Patterson's Private Sydney. I have been searching for crime fiction set in Australia for a while but only recently have I started to read some of the books that I found. Malicious Intent is an enjoyable read and a great introduction into what I hope will prove to be a series worth reading through to the end.

Dr. Anya Crichton is a pathologist and forensic physician and she is one of the only female freelancers in the field. The fact that she works freelance kind of makes her role in the book make more sense given that she becomes almost like an investigator as the case progresses. The story carries great authenticity because Kathryn Fox is a doctor herself and so the whole story is believable and written in a knowledgeable way. Anya is asked to look into the suicide of a teenage girl and she soon notices similarities between the girl's death and a number of others that she is working on with friend and colleague DS Kate Farrer. The police are reluctant to pursue the links that Anya believes she has unearthed and so she is forced to investigate alone to uncover the full, sinister truth.

I was expecting Malicious Intent to be a little bit more gory than it was, but given the nature of the cases involved that wouldn't have been necessary. This is something I hope to see in future novels though as readers of my blog will know that I am a fan of the gore. The characterisation in Malicious Intent is brilliant, especially Anya who I liked from the word go. Her home life plays a role in the story and influences how she thinks and acts. She is in the midst of a custody battle with her ex-husband and it was different to read a story where it's the mother fighting for custody of her child. The fact that money is sparse is a deciding factor in the kind of work that Anya accepts. There's enough going on in the story to keep readers guessing but I think seasoned crime fiction readers will work things out far sooner than they are revealed in the story. That said the finale of the book is a thrilling one and has left me eager to read more from Kathryn Fox.

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