From the author of ‘No Witness, No Case’ comes a prequel – the origin story of the mysterious Fox. Bill Robertson is a retired Assistant Police Commissioner who writes crime fiction, his previous novel, No Witness, No Case – delved into the Victorian underworld. Mafia bosses, environmental crime and an introduction to the hero of his new novel, Colin Fox.
The backstory or Colin Fox is a little unusual. Half aboriginal and half Scottish, he found himself taken from his mother in Turkey Creek as a young child. He was strong and brave, even then acting as protector of his sister from those who exploited the system for their own gain. The reality is heinous – along with the torment of separation the children are abused by their new ‘protectors’ with hound girls targeted for their bodies. It’s a horrible part of our history and the events of the story and unfortunately informed by historical fact.
As Fox grows older his innate sense of justice only grows stronger. He is considered a lost cause, headstrong and fierce, quick and powerful – he cannot be controlled by the brutality of the system. Fox soon makes his own way, joining the army and then the elite SAS. He seeks to know his heritage, forming a strong bond with his adoptive family in Perth and traveling to the other side of the world to know his Scottish heritage.
Fox’s life is littered with tragedy but it is the death of his adopted family that embroils him in a whole new game – bikies, dog fights and drug running and its here the Fox of ‘No Witness, No Case’ is truly born.
As a character, Fox’s history is rich and immersive. However it’s presented in a very chronological way – his early life flowing into adulthood. Were the background woven into the key plot points of the narrative, revealing the enigma that is Colin Fox as the story was told it would have captured more of the reader. More can be done with a story within a story, and while the history and backstory was rich and interesting, it could have been a discovery by the reader as they made their way through the story. As it happened, the best part of the narrative played out through the last third of the book – I wanted more Colin being badass, more bikies, drugs and coppers and more twisted villains the whole way through!
Fox is indeed an interesting character. The reader feels for him and wants justice for this impeccably just man. The only query with his character tends to be how can he be so damn perfect? It’s more noticeable in fight scenes where you want him to fake a blow or show a weakness, just to know he’s as human as the rest of us. Alternatively there was opportunity for Fox to face a similarly impervious fighter – could we not have seen Fox take on someone who matched his abilities? There’s no doubt it would be an epic battle were it to occur.
Book Conversation Points:
- Fox raises interesting discussions about the nature of a main character – do you prefer yours to be Fox-esque – almost superhuman in their abilities with a little bit of mysticism?
- Or do you prefer the ordinary person, better than the rest of us sure, but with faults and weaknesses you can relate to?
The only character I couldn’t get my head around was Heidi – the English temptress Fox meets while training in the UK. Without ruining the storyline, her plot left me feeling a deep unease. How do you feel about writing on this topic?