Cold Grave

Book Summary
Kathyrn Fox
Pan Macmillan Australia
No of Pages: 
Review By: 
Vikki Petraitis
Book Synopsis: 

As a reward for the work she did in her last case, forensic physician, Dr Anya Crichton is offered a holiday on a luxury cruise ship. Her ex-husband Martin and son Ben accompany her. Of course, death plagues Anya, and on the first morning, she and Martin find a teenage girl slumped in a supply cupboard on the ship. They try unsuccessfully to revive her. Anya is quickly drawn into the suspicious death, while her ex is surprisingly (and refreshingly) supportive. While Ben happily goes off to the on-board kids’ club, Anya and Martin are free to help the ship’s head of security solve the mystery. But as usual, things are a lot more complicated than they first seem and Anya uncovers a much deeper mystery than the dead teen. Adding to the tension of having a killer on board the ship, Anya is not quite sure who she can trust.

Like a lot of reviewers of Cold Grave, I read it in a couple of days and really enjoyed it. A crime series is only as strong as its characters and the broader story arc. While we have watched Dr Anya Crichton being tormented by her ex-husband and their custody battles over their son, it was refreshing to see a more human side to Martin in this book, reminding Anya why she fell in love with him in the first place. Another thing that was good was that little Ben was happily occupied in the kids’ club while Anya solved a bunch of crimes. Too often, the reader feels a vicarious ‘mother’s guilt’ along with any female protagonists who are trying to juggle a duel role. What is really enjoyable about the character of Dr Crichton is that she always retains a very analytical approach to her investigations, and she is always the voice of reason. Another thing that Fox does really well is intertwine her research with her narrative, so that in this case, the reader gets a bird’s-eye view of the inner workings of a giant cruise ship, the living conditions of the poor workers who earn a pittance, and even the amount of waste generated by a week at sea with 3,000 people. It is this additional information that makes Fox’s novels even more interesting.
A page-turner! (or if you read it on Kindle like I did, it’s a button pusher!)