Review: Never Never (Detective Harriet Blue, #1) by James Patterson & Candice Fox



Century | 2016

Filed Under: More like Sometimes Sometimes

Literally, two of my three book-related New Years’ resolutions for 2018 were to stop reading James Patterson and I’ve already failed. It’s only March! What is wrong with me?!

Don’t answer that.

My only consolation is that this wasn’t totally fucking awful.

Candice Fox is an excellent writer on her own. She’s obviously the reason this book is at least relatively well written, but it’s still an emotional flatliner that is full of logic-holes.

It maintains the typical Patterson style of short chapters and colourful characters who lack depth, plus the usual “detective chasing a serial killer” plot that doesn’t attempt to bring anything new to the genre.

But what this book does have, which other Patterson novels don’t, is more realistic dialogue and a female lead that doesn’t irritate me when she calls everyone “butterfly” and has to hug her friends because she hasn’t seen them for a whole five minutes *cough Women’s Murder Club cough*

Detective Harriet “Harry” Blue has a more uniquely drawn personality; something fun and feisty, independent and purely reactionary at times, which lends some emotion to her scenes.

Also, this series is set in Australia.

giphy (5)

That’s cheap gif usage. I apologize.

Harry, from Sex Crimes, has a bit of a Debra Morgan from Dexter vibe to her which works for me – both non-sexually and sexually. Seriously if I was into girls, I’d be into Debra Morgan.

All the characters around Harry, however, were entirely washed out and under-developed. Perhaps that was an artistic choice to allow her to shine more brightly? But I highly doubt it and it didn’t work anyway. Harry had nothing to play her attitude against. Isn’t that the whole point of that kind of personality the friction it causes with other people?

In the Outback, miners at a Uranium sight are going missing. Harry is sent out to investigate in order to get her away from the media shit-storm about to engulf her life when word hits the proverbial streets that her brother has been arrested – he’s the worst serial killer in Australia’s history.

That’s some luck.

At first, the local police aren’t sure there’s really a problem at the mining camp. With all the drug usage and sex workers just doing their thing and doing their drugs while they do their thing high on drugs and the miners do drugs and pay sex workers, the just cops turn a blind eye… like they would?

Chalking it up to employees who just didn’t give a shrimp-on-the-barbie’s ass anymore, the company also doesn’t pay too much attention to the missing miners. The mining work being done is tough. Sometimes their employees quit without a word. But when one young man disappears from the camp and never makes it home to his family, that family wants some answers, mate!

It’s likely he just disappeared into the Never Never – a stretch of barren, sweltering desert near the mining camp that is easy to get lost in and difficult to survive. But when the bodies of three other missing miners turn up dead, the realization occurs – there’s more than just one serial killer in Australia to worry about.

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My biggest problem with this book is that the storyline of Harry’s brother being a serial killer was wayyyyyyy more interesting than some boring miners and snipers in the desert. And unfortunately, it’s more of a plot device to get Harry into the Outback than it is an actual plotline. The actual plot unfolds with a pretty obvious sense of being contrived; nothing organic or natural about it.

It’s a super flat book in spots, with Harry’s attitude being the only saving grace. The investigation into the missing miners is all-around boring and seemed to require a lot of filler scenes that were mostly pointless. So while this definitely is a typical James Patterson read in terms of length and chapter size, the scene quality was pretty bland, creating a sedate pace.

And if I had to hear the word donga one more time, I might have developed a twitch. I’m sorry.

I’m split on this one, so I’m just going right down the middle at 3 stars. It’s not as bad as the usual Patterson fare, but it also isn’t as good as what Candice Fox is capable of. Overall it kind of feels like a talented female writer had to dumb herself down in order to produce something that fit the quality that the Patterson Machine is known for.

The feminist side of me is taking a half star away just for that.


When Sydney police department sex crimes detective Harriet Blue is called into her boss’s office, she never imagined it would be to tell her that her brother is the prime suspect in the brutal murders of three women.

Shocked and in denial, Harry is transferred to Perth to avoid the media exposure this case will attract. Harry is sent into the outback – the never never – to investigate the disappearance of mine worker Danny Carter. The mining town is a seedy place, full of money and immoral ways to spend it. As Harry delves deeper into the murky lives of these miners, she finds that Danny isn’t the first to go missing.

2 thoughts on “Review: Never Never (Detective Harriet Blue, #1) by James Patterson & Candice Fox

  1. As an Australian I feel like I have to see a few things ahaha
    We don’t say shrimp on the barbie, we call them prawns.
    Also from what I have heard from family who grew up in small towns is that the police really are slack when it comes to, you know, policing.
    And I have never heard anyone use dongo before, so either it’s an old term that nobody uses or maybe it’s more of a country thing??? God Knows where the authors got that from!
    Either way this book sounded… not very good at all! I think I’ll steer clear of James Patterson, I’ve yet to read any of his books and I think it might have to stay that way. So, thanks for the heads up aha.


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