Malicious Intent is a novel set in Australia and focuses on Forensic Physician Dr. Anya Crichton. I found her interesting and she was easily the most well rounded and likeable character in the story. Her own struggles throughout her life made her seem more believable.
The subject matter she has to deal with, especially when she is called to assess and collect evidence of rape victims is quite traumatic and I couldn’t quite engage with it. Perhaps because Fox had to write Anya as detached from what she was doing, while still being sympathetic, it also left me unable to invest emotionally in the story, feeling as if it was mainly analytical.
I also didn’t connect with Kate the cop at all, I thought she was brash and the explanation that she rubbed everyone up the wrong way didn’t quite cut it. Her decision to betray Anya’s confidence was, in my opinion, reckless and stupid and more importantly didn’t enhance the story for me.
The pace was very slow and it seemed to take a long time to get to important pieces of plot, and the gaps were sometimes filled with technical and procedural descriptions that didn’t really add much to the story. When it was focussed on Anya’s life, it became a lot more interesting, and I wonder if Fox got lost in the technical detail.
The plot itself was quite clever and the need to find out what on earth was going on, combined with liking Anya as a character, were the two things that kept me reading. The way Kathryn Fox sent her characters through identifying and then eventually finding how the victims connected to each other was really well done and I didn’t spot the bad guy at all; it was a complete shock and surprise.
The psychological research must have been extensive, and it was well incorporated into the story allowing Fox to give us a truly disturbed and disturbing killer. As the author is a GP with an interest in Forensic Medicine, the medical side of things was pretty spot on but again I couldn’t quite engage with it, that same feeling of detachment.
A sign for me that I wasn’t totally engrossed is that I kept putting it down to do other things. I did want to finish it though so kept reading and in the end my impression was that Malicious Intent isn’t an amazing book but is a decent enough read with a very interesting, if disturbing plot.