Sydney police detective Ted Conkaffey had had a fight with his wife, and decided to go fishing. He pulled over at a bus stop to adjust his poles to stop them rattling. He was there 6 minutes, during which time he adjusted his fishing gear and waved hello to the girl waiting for a bus. Then he drove off. But when the bus drove by 2 minutes later, the girl was gone. Abducted, raped and strangled, she nonetheless managed to survive. Several witnesses placed Conkaffey at the scene, and he was arrested and imprisoned, unable to prove that although yes, he had stopped, he had then driven off without abducting the 13-year-old.
When he’s released, not acquitted but not brought to trial, he’s public enemy number one, his wife divorcing him and keeping his one-year-old daughter from him, lots of people calling for his head. He heads north, settling in a tiny out-of-the-way town where the crocodiles outnumber the people and he hopes to remain anonymous. He rescues a geese and 6 goslings, all of which bond with him and follow him from room to room. He drinks too much and is forced to deal with vigilantes abusing him and his property. And his lawyer sends him to talk toAmanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer, a skinny tattooed free soul who works as a private investigator.
Amanda is looking into the disappearance of an author who writes extremely popular mash-ups of Biblical characters and dystopian lit, who is missing and presumed dead. As Amanda and Ted begin to poke deeper into his past, Ted begins to also look more closely at Amanda’s story. They both have unique ways of pursuing leads, and although they’re an unlikely team, they’re a good one.
Crimson Lake is a gripping read, tightly-plotted and hard to put down. Even though it’s not a typical character-driven book, nonetheless the people in it are well-developed and memorable. I found myself really caring about both Amanda and Ted, as well others who come into their orbits. It’s an enjoyable book, and would be a great addition to your summer-reading list.