Review: Hades

Hades by Candice Fox

Two children are kidnapped after their parents are brutally murdered in front of them. They are nearly killed, but are rescued and raised by a man named Hades: a criminal mastermind that specializes in ‘fixing’ others’ messes (i.e. bodies). They grow into very unique individuals, as well as very unique cops.

Hades focuses on Eden Archer and her new partner, Frank Bennett. While Frank is immediately drawn to his partner, Eden is very withdrawn and closed-off to people. It doesn’t help that her brother, Eric, is the type of over-protective brother with a violent streak running deep, thereby tending to frighten people. Candice Fox gives the readers snippets of Eden and Eric’s childhood being raised by Hades, and so we can understand before Frank does, that while Eden and Eric are cops, they are the type of people that can quite easily cross the line and become dangerous. In fact, they may voluntarily cross the line in order to ease particular urges that became ingrained during their traumatic childhood.

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This is a debut novel for Candice Fox and it’s bloody fantastic! Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for debut crime novel, Fox has created a series examining the dark natures of individuals. She has developed such well-rounded characters with very strong, multi-faceted personalities. I love stories in which characters have that duality within their personalities. Everyone has a dark side, and it simply takes the right combination of events to force that dark side out. Eric and Eden are perfect examples. Readers are never quite sure what to make of the two; Eric has some very latent violent tendencies and it’s always a possibility that said tendencies may manifest themselves later on. Eden is seemingly withdrawn, but her partner is aware that something isn’t quite right with her; that she is also trying to hide something, and often times doing so unsuccessfully.

Along with her characters, Fox has written a story that readers are gripped by from the very first page. It is dark, gritty, and holds you on the edge of your seat. It is part thriller and part police procedural, and as such, readers are given the entire picture of a police force trying to catch a killer. Also refreshing, while Hades is a violent story, it is not in-your-face violent and gory. It is suggestive, which gives the readers’ imagination a chance to fill in on what is provided. What a mind can imagine is almost always more horrific than what can be written. Fox utilizes that to enhance her story, and allows the readers to make it horrific in their own minds. Hearing a bump in the night is not scary if someone immediately tells you the source of the noise; but let your mind wander? You’ll have all the lights on and a makeshift weapon in your hand in no time. Hades is dark and disturbing in part because of the story line and Fox’s writing, but also because she knows that readers will take what she has provided and create the horror show with their imagination.

It’s a great novel; it engages the reader, and terrifies you with the potential of where the story can go. I immediately went out the next day and purchased the sequel, Eden. I want to read it immediately, but I know that then I’ll have to wait until the third is published in North America. Hopefully, I can pace myself.

I doubt it.

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