Book Review – MALICIOUS INTENT by Kathryn Fox

Malicious Intent by Kathryn FoxMalicious Intent Synopsis: 

While investigating the drug overdose of a teenage girl, pathologist and forensic physician, Dr Anya Crichton, discovers striking similarities between the case and a number of apparent suicides. All of the victims disappeared for a period of time before taking their lives in desperate circumstances.

As Anya delves deeper, the pathological findings point to the frightening possibility that the deaths are not only linked, but part of a sinister game. Nothing can prepare her for the role she is forced to take in the deadliest play of all…  (Booktopia)


I set myself a couple of reading objectives for this year, one of them to make time for more contemporary (and commercial) mysteries and thrillers. I’d heard great things about Kathryn Fox’s medical thriller series, and so decided to find out for myself whether this homegrown talent was worthy of the publisher comparisons to Reichs and Cornwell.

Firstly, I began listening to this book in the audio narrated by Jennifer Vuletic, but I soon transferred to an ebook copy. Was the audio narration that bad? No, I just wasn’t getting through the novel fast enough. Waiting for my next car trip to find out what happened next just wasn’t going to cut it.

Dr Anya Crichton is a wonderful character to base a series on. Her traumatic life experiences haunt her but she exudes confidence in her professional expertise in a field dominated by men and is dogged in her pursuit for the truth for victims of violence. These characteristics make for an appealing female lead, but Fox takes Anya from stereotypical to credible by balancing her forensic investigations with day to day life and her insecurities of being a single working mother.

In addition to a strong lead, the many secondary characters in this novel, male and female, are really quite well developed for what would be categorised as a plot driven novel. Fox’s own medical expertise shines through as she weaves considerable forensic detail and discussion within the investigation, along with legal and ethical debate. In less skilled hands the story line and emotional connections between the characters would have drowned under the weight of such complexity. I think what stands this medical thriller apart is the fact that rather than simply being a prop, the scientific inquiry remains key to solving the case.

Through the crimes involved in the case Fox explores some big societal issues, such as unseen ethnically endorsed domestic abuse occurring within a country that pride itselfs on personal rights and freedoms for all. While pertinent to Australia’s multicultural society, these topics will have international resonance.


Much better than the Cornwell I’ve read, and for my mind just as good as Reichs, Kathryn Fox is an author who’s works I will certainly be making time for in the future.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.25 / 5

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BOOK DETAILS:  Malicious Intent by Kathryn Fox ( Booktopia | Book Depository | Kobobooks | Amazon)

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Drama, Audio

* This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge, the Australian Women Writers Challenge and the Eclectic Reader Challenge (Medical Thriller).

Author Information: Kathryn Fox is a medical practitioner with a special interest in forensic medicine. She has worked as a family physician, medical journalist and freelance writer. Her debut novel, Malicious Intent, received international acclaim and won the 2005 Davitt award for Best Crime Novel. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages. The seventh title in this Anya Crichton thriller series will be released in March 2014.

– Check out Kathryn Fox’s website.

Other reviews of Malicious Intent: AustCrime; Fair Dinkum Crime; Blood Rose Books; Reviewing the Evidence