Kathryn Fox’s Anya Crichton Series

Kathyrn_FoxAbout the author:

Born: Sydney, Australia

Education: M.D.- University of Newcastle School of Medicine, Newcastle, Australia

Website: http://www.kathrynfox.com/

Thriller Sub-genre: Forensic

Publisher: Hodder publishing

Future of the series:  Fox just published her latest novel Fatal Impact in the summer of 2014 and I don’t get any indication that she plans to end the series anytime soon.

The Simon Review:

Kathryn Fox’s Anya Crichton series comes to us from the Land Down Under. Kathryn Fox is hailed as Australia’s version of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs and some critics say that she is even better, but I would have to say that is a bit of an exaggeration, in my opinion she is different, not better. The character Anya Crichton is a forensic pathologist and a forensic physician. The forensic physician is unique to Australia, which is a physician that specializes in identifying wounds and injuries that are related to a crime in a living person, and Fox is trained as a forensic physician specializing in rape victims which is reflected in her character, Anya Crichton. So like Kathy Reichs, Fox brings her experience and knowledge to a fictional setting.

Like many thrillers, there is usually a lesson to be learned as well as being entertained which makes for a useful platform for an author to express their knowledge as well as their opinion on major issues. Fox realizes this and takes an advantage of this opportunity to bring the reader’s attention to issues such as rape and domestic abuse which is a good thing.   I enjoy reading novels and learning something at the same time, this is why I read thrillers especially those that have an element of science attached to them. What I don’t like, however, is when the lesson turns into a sermon and this, unfortunately is what occurs in Fox’s series particularly in the last few novels of the series.

In Death Mask, Fox takes a stand on corruption within the NFL, yes that is right, the American National Football League. I thought it was interesting that an Australian physician would know so much about what was occurring in an American institution. Now, I have no real love for the NFL and with all the problems they are having recently, one might say they deserve it, but Fox goes after them with a vengeance. Fox portrays the NFL as a den of sociopaths, with players’ regularly gang raping women with a devious scheme to cover it up. There is no question that there are bad apples within the NFL as is true with any major institution and cover-ups do occur, let’s not forget Penn State for example, but to give the impression that everyone is involved and the crimes are so severe is wrong. Fox doesn’t stop with the NFL but decides to pick on the luxury cruise line industry in her next novel, Cold Grave, and then in a corporation that manufactures evil genetically modified plants in her latest novel, Fatal Impact. The corporate ‘evil empire’ is a common theme throughout many thrillers but usually the focus in is on a fictional company that was designed to unleash evil on the world, but Fox focuses on real life companies or institutions, even though she doesn’t give out real names, it is very clear to whom she is referring to, and I have a problem with this. I am not defending the corporate demigods and in fact there are a few corporations that I wouldn’t mind going down in flames, but Fox uses fiction unfairly to go on the attack. In fictional writings it can be difficult to tell what is fact and what is fiction, and this is one of the reasons that I write this blog, to help readers to tell the difference between science fact and science fiction especially when the science is portrayed in a factual manner.   Fiction is a great way to teach a moral story but when an author uses it to pursue a personal crusade, then they have crossed over the line, there are plenty of other venues to achieve that goal.

Fox’s series starts out well, with some great characters, such as Detective Kate Farrer, who made appearances in the first, third and fourth novel in the series, but the preaching with the latest novels, leaves a bad taste. In general, the series should be read in order but it is better than others to read as standalones.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series-Skin and Bone, because this novel primarily features Kate Farrer, who is a great character and I wish that Fox would include her more.

Least Favorite Novel in the Series-Fatal Impact, but it is a close toss-up with Death Mask because of all of the preaching.

What about the science? Kathryn Fox is a physician with a specialization in forensics especially the forensics involved in rape victims, so her knowledge in this area is sound. However, as I have noted in the ‘Technical Word in Review’, some of the science of GM plants may not be sound. The controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms is not without merit, as regulation and oversight is not as it should be, but Fox uses emotions when she discusses the science behind GM foods instead of true facts.

The Anya Crichton Technical Word in Review: LeptinIs a hormone that is involved in a number of complex functions including a significant role in energy balance, neuroendocrine and immune functions as well as the metabolism of glucose and lipids. With the growing problem with obesity, considerable amount of research is being pursued on the functionality of this hormone. The hormone is primarily released from white adipose tissue (fat cells) and one of its primary functions is to give the body a sense of satiety and suppression of food intake. There is a strong correlation with the levels of leptin in our blood to the amount of fat stored in the body with low levels resulting in obesity; however, in some obese individuals leptin levels can be high indicating a resistant to the effects of leptin.

Although leptin has an important role in maintaining an appropriate body weight, it is not the only player involved in the regulation of energy balance and it is unfortunately not the ‘magic bullet’ to weight loss that many unscrupulous “nutritional experts” might lead you to believe. Additionally, leptin is a protein and easily digested when taken orally which makes dietary supplements useless, so don’t spend your hard earned money buying them.


‘Look,’ Madison said, sliding down from the bench. ‘Don’t get me wrong. It’s possible that GM wheat with increase fibre and lower glycaemic index could be a good thing, and prevent things like bowel cancers. My thesis,’ she pointed to the bottles of drink, is looking at GM sugar inserted with leptin.’

Oliver interjected, ‘Isn’t that the hormone that switches off hunger?’

Madison’s face brightened. ‘Right . In theory, it’s a great idea. We need to find out more about how it affects consumers. People I know who drink these are weight conscious, but never drink just one. They’re supposed to be full, but they guzzle at least two to three a day.’

Anya thought of her mother drinking the iced tea from a bottle. In preference to almost anything else.

‘Clever marketing?’ Oliver offered.

‘It has to be more than that. So far, people are going back for the drinks containing GM sugar. It’s as if it’s addictive. At least, that’s my hypothesis. I have a year to prove or disprove it.’-Fatal Impact


In the passage above ‘GM sugar’ is referring to genetically modified sugar beets. The sugar that comes from these beets are just the same as any sugar that comes from any non-GM sugar beet which are the basic sugars such as glucose, sucrose, fructose and starch. There is no bizarre man-made sugar that acts like an addictive drug that is being produced by these plants. The addiction to sugar is a whole different topic and it is unfair to point the finger at genetically modified sugar beets as being the cause of our love for sweet things.   Also, as I mentioned above, leptin is a protein that is digested when we consume it, so it would not be to any advantage for a genetically modified plant to produce leptin.

Books in the Series by Order:

Vote for your favorite Forensic Thriller on the Forensic Fiction List on Goodreads Listopia.

Goodreads Forensic Fiction Best List

Most Favorite in the series: Bloodborn with a score of 3.86

Least Favorite in the series: Fatal Impact with a score of 3.69

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing, and Amazon

Malicious_Intent#1-Malicious Intent- 2005

Winner of the 2005 Davitt Award for Best Adult Novel

A Sample Clip of the Audiobook

First Line:

Clare Matthews was cold, wet and late for dinner-again.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton: A freelance forensic pathologist and forensic physician

Det. Kate Farrer: A homicide detective and friend of Crichton

Peter Latham: A forensic pathologist that is friends and colleague with Crichton

Dan Brody: A criminal defense lawyer

Ben: Crichton’s young son

Martin: Crichton’s ex-husband


The Setting

Sydney, Australia


A gripping and powerful new thriller — the debut of a stunning new voice in suspense fiction — and the first appearance of a tough and remarkable investigator, pathologist, and forensic physician, Dr. Anya Crichton.

The only female freelancer in the male-dominated field, pathologist Dr. Anya Crichton will take any work she can find to pay child support and her mortgage, get her new business off the ground, and battle her ex-husband for custody of their three-year-old son. Things turn around rapidly, however, when her expert forensic evidence is instrumental in winning a high-profile case — and new work offers start pouring in.

But Anya’s investigation into the drug overdose of a young Lebanese girl is raising troubling questions. Startling coincidences between this sad and tragic death and a series of seemingly unrelated suicides that Anya is also examining at the urging of her friend and colleague, detective sergeant Kate Farrer, suggest that there’s a monumental evil at work in the shadows. With each scalpel cut, Anya Crichton’s forensic prowess and deductive brilliance are pulling her relentlessly toward a sinister plot and a devastating truth — and once she enters the lethal darkness, she may never again see the light of day.


Looking for review on Malicious Intent?  Check out:

Reviewing the Evidence

Booklover Book Reviews

Aussie Reviews

AustCrime

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

Fair Dinkum Crime


Amazon Rating-US: 3.99 out of 5 stars based on 26 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 3.98 out of 5 stars based on 52 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.78 out of 5 stars based on 820 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 3.88 out of 5 stars based on 8 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.68 out of 5 stars based on 39 ratings

Total Score 3.79  (updated 6/1/16)

skull

 

Without_Consent#2-Without Consent- 2006

First Line:

Temporarily blinded by the flashing bulbs, Geoffrey Willard stepped through the gate.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton, Peter Latham, Dan Brody, Ben and Martin

Hayden Richard: Police detective that worked in homicide and then moved over to the sexual assault investigation unit

Geoffrey Willard: Ex-con just recently released from prison after serving a 20 year sentence for murder


The Setting

Sydney, Australia


Forensic pathologist and physician, Dr. Anya Crichton does not just examine the dead. She also treats survivors of sexual assault, and the women she now sees compel her to follow the trail of a violent serial rapist–who is becoming more brutal with each attack. When two new victims are stabbed to death, suspicion immediately falls on Geoffrey Willard, recently released from twenty years in prison for the vicious rape and murder of a teenage girl.

As the community demands justice, Anya faces the greatest ethical dilemma of her career. If Willard is innocent, her forensic evidence will destroy a respected pathologist’s reputation. If Anya is wrong, she has ensured not only that a seasoned killer goes free, but that he remains unstoppable.

Only the killer knows a mistake has been made. One that is about to prove fatal . . .


Looking for review on Without Consent?  Check out:

Aussie Reviews

Blood Rose Books


Amazon Rating-US: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 21 reviews

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.17 out of 5 stars based on 18 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.83 out of 5 stars based on 638 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.60 out of 5 stars based on 5 reviews

Library Thing Rating: 3.55 out of 5 stars based on 20 ratings

Total Score 3.84  (updated 6/1/16)

stab

 

Skin&Bone#3-Skin and Bone- 2007    

Listed #69 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

A Sample Clip of the Audiobook

First Line:

Kate Farrer struggled to open the car door.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton, Kate Farrer, Hayden Richard and Peter Latham

Oliver Parke: Rookie homicide cop and Kate Farrer’s new partner


The Setting

Sydney, Australia


Homicide detective Kate Farrer took a four-month leave from the force when the stress of the job threatened to crush her. Now she’s back, at a crime scene as brutal as any she’s ever witnessed. The charred corpse of a young woman, burned beyond recognition, smolders on a bed near a bag full of baby items. An autopsy reveals that the victim had recently given birth. Yet no child has been found.

Teaming up with a new partner, Oliver Parke, Kate struggles to hold her own demons at bay—while also pursuing leads in the seemingly unrelated affair of a missing teenager who was keeping secrets that may have cost her life. But as disturbing clues begin linking their two investigations—and another unspeakably cruel murder secures the knot—Kate and Oliver realize with horror that a desperate killer’s next victim might be the most innocent one of all.


Looking for review on Skin and Bone?  Check out:

Eurocrime

Crimepieces

Red Bluff Review

Reactions to Reading


Amazon Rating-US: 3.85 out of 5 stars based on 13 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 3.69 out of 5 stars based on 16 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.74 out of 5 stars based on 553 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 1.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 reviews

Library Thing Rating: 3.48 out of 5 stars based on 21 ratings

Total Score 3.73   (updated 6/1/16)

skeleton

 

Bloodborn#4-Bloodborn- 2009

Listed #94 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

Listed #161 out of 164 on Goodreads Best Science Thriller Book List

First Line:

Doctor Anya Crichton prepared to face the violent offenders.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton, Kate Farrer, Hayden Richard, Dan Brody, Ben and Martin


The Setting

Sydney, Australia


For pathologist and forensic physician Dr Anya Crichton, the death of a gang rape victim hours before she is due to give evidence at trial is a double tragedy. The violent Harbourn brothers, the girl’s accused attackers, now look like they will escape prosecution. But the Harbourns’ trail of destruction doesn’t end there. When two sisters are brutally assaulted and one of them is killed, Anya begins working round the clock to catch the Harbourns and nail their ringleader, the deviously clever Gary. With the help of Detective Kate Farrer and the surprise involvement of star litigator Dan Brody, she begins to discover just how twisted this family really is, and what they’re capable of. In Dr Anya Crichton’s most difficult case yet, she must piece together the evidence before a killer’s attention is turned on her…


She decided to perform a literature search on the latest research to help her better understand criminal families. In the Harbourns’ case, she had a gnawing feeling that evil and violence were quite likely bloodborn.”


Looking for review on Blood Born?  Check out:

Reactions to Reading

Mysteries in Paradise

The Bookbag

A.B. Shepard

BookBanter

Fair Dinkum Crime

WoollyMuses


Amazon Rating-US: 4.06 out of 5 stars based on 19 reviews

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 17 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.84 out of 5 stars based on 505 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 9 reviews

Library Thing Rating: 3.90 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings

Total Score 3.86   (updated 1/20/17)

blood

 

death_mask2#5-Death Mask- 2011

First Line:

Hannah spun around in her dress, still unable to believe this day had arrived.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton

Ethan Rye: Special investigator assigned to work with Crichton


The Setting

New York City


When the victim of a violent gang rape accuses five premier sportsmen of being her attackers, she has no idea that her suffering has only just begun . . .

It’s a scandal that rock a nation of sports fans. But, in spite of a huge amount of evidence, no one seems to believe her.

So when Dr Anya Crichton, a forensic expert in sexual assault, is asked to become involved by the team managers, she knows she can’t say no.

But as she investigates further, Anya realizes that the scandals, violence and abuses run much deeper, and much further into the past than she could ever have imagined.

And it’s down to her to find out exactly who’s responsible, before it happens again.


Looking for review on Death Mask?  Check out:

Reactions to Reading

Milo’s Rambles

Mysteries in Paradise

TasBookLover

Fair Dinkum Crime


Amazon Rating-US: 4.11 out of 5 stars based on 9 reviews

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.19 out of 5 stars based on 16 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.79 out of 5 stars based on 347 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: Not reviewed

Library Thing Rating: 3.72 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings

Total Score 3.81  (updated 6/1/16)

insect

 

cold_grave2#6-Cold Grave- 2012

A Sample Clip of the Audiobook

First Line:

Ben pulled back the double bed sheet.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton, Ben and Martin


The Setting

Aboard a cruise liner


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 pedophiles. 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?


Looking for review on Cold Grave?  Check out:

Fair Dinkum Crime

Reading, Writing and Riesling

SassiSam

Aussie Reviews

Book’d Out


Amazon Rating-US: 4.06 out of 5 stars based on 18 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.20 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.74 out of 5 stars based on 367 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: Not reviewed

Library Thing Rating: 3.80 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings

Total Score 3.77   (updated 6/1/16)

fingerprint

 

Fatal_Impact#7-Fatal Impact- 2014

A Sample Clip of the Audiobook

First Line:

The technician anchored the small pack to her waist band and clipped the microphone to her jacket lapel.


Characters

Dr. Anya Crichton, Oliver Parke, Ben and Martin

Jocelyn Reynolds: A physician and Crichton’s mother

Len Dengate: Jocelyn’s neighbor and owner Livelonger Organics, an organic farm


The Setting

Tasmania


When forensic pathologist Dr Anya Crichton finds a dead child in a toy box and a room covered in blood the answer is like nothing she has come across before. The post mortem reveals that the girl died from a deadly bacterial infection brought on by food poisoning. But does that mean there isn’t a murderer?

Anya was only meant to be in Tasmania for a conference and to visit her mother, but when more people fall sick, including her father’s cousin, Anya becomes intimately involved in the case. At the same time, her mother – with whom Anya has always had a difficult relationship ever since her little sister Miriam went missing thirty years ago – is acting strangely, talking about conspiracies and exhibiting classic signs of dementia.

As Anya deals with her increasingly paranoid, intractable mother, she is also racing to discover the source of the fatal bacterial infection before more people die. But Anya’s investigations into the close-knit Tasmanian agricultural community where the contaminated food originated soon put her in grave danger as someone tries to kill her.

As the deaths pile up, Anya’s search leads her to an old murder case, and soon it becomes clear that her own family is closer to danger than ever before. But will Anya be able to discover the truth behind the poisoning and unmask the killer in time to save them, and herself?


Looking for review on Fatal Impact?  Check out:

Fair Dinkum Crime

tasReadSmania


Amazon Rating-US: 4.29 out of 5 stars based on 18 reviews

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.07 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.56 out of 5 stars based on 210 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 1.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 reviews

Google Books Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings

Total Score 3.69   (updated 6/1/16)

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