It feels like the safest place on earth. A family-friendly, floating palace. But, as Anya Crichton soon discovers, cruise ships aren’t all that they seem…
Statistics tell us that a woman is twice as likely to be sexually assaulted on a cruise ship than on dry land. Customers aren’t screened, so the ships are a haven for sex offenders and paedophiles. With no policing, and floating in international waters, sexual assaults and passengers ‘disappearing’ are uncommonly frequent…
So when a teenage girl is discovered, dead on the deck of the ship that she is holidaying on, Anya feels compelled to get involved. There’s no apparent cause of death, but Anya’s forensics expertise uncovers more than the ship’s doctors can… or want to.
With the killer still on board, and subsequently a crew-member found shot, it becomes clear that the safe haven of the cruise-ship is actually anything but. And, as Anya comes under increasing pressure to abandon her investigations, will she continue? Or do whatever it takes to keep her own family safe?
Cold Grave represents the sixth book in the Anna Crichton series by Kathryn Fox and the second I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reading in just two days, another case of not wanting to put the book down due to a gripping storyline and fast paced narrative.
One of the things that intrigued me about this book – long before I’d had chance to read it – was the fact that the book was set – in its entirety – on board a cruise ship. Many years ago I sailed from Australia to the UK in just seven weeks and fell in love with the idea of travelling the world in comfort. Apart from that one cruise I’ve never had the chance since but reading Kathryn’s book I’m beginning to question whether I really want to! If I’d read this book before boarding in Sydney I don’t think I’d have made it aboard!
The author takes us from bow to stern and port to starboard – seamlessly – as we discover the inner workings of a modern day cruise ship. Finances, charges, waste management, the questionable eco system and how little housekeeping staff are paid are all brought to our attention. In fact the amount of research gone into this book is impressive to say the least and it really does make you question the true intention of these cruise holidays and the people behind the companies.
The book – brutal at times – leaves no stone unturned as the author tackles rape and paedophilia and the brazen attitude of some of the passengers. It does make for some uncomfortable reading in parts as I just couldn’t understand what made these people tick.
Characterisation is superb and save for the leading protagonist two characters stood out for me – Anya’s son Ben and a young lad she meets called Wes. I loved how Kathryn brings Ben to life and his personality really shines through. Any scene with Ben and I could guarantee reading with a wide grin thanks to his mannerisms! Wes on the other hand – without giving anything away – is an infectious character who when you first meet him you know you’re going to like his quick witted banter and his ability to have an answer for everything!
The book keeps you guessing throughout and you never quite know who’s responsible with the author taking you one way and then another.
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (30 Aug 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444709534
- ISBN-13: 978-1444709537
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