12.46: Thirteen-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop
12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her
12.52: The girl is missing . . .
Six minutes – that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.
Amanda Pharrell knows what it’s like to be public enemy number one. Maybe it’s her murderous past that makes her so good as a private investigator, tracking lost souls in the wilderness. Her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own – so she enlists help from the one person in town more hated than she is: Ted Conkaffey.
But the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. And for Ted, a man already at breaking point, this town is offering no place to hide . . .
Ted Conkaffey, the very damaged narrator is a truly original take on the disgraced cop; and his equally damaged offsider Amanda Pharell, an ex-con turned private investigator, is also an original. The crisp writing, the crocodile-infested Queensland setting and the ambiguous friendship of the protagonists make Crimson Lale an outstanding crime novel.