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Catch Us The Foxes – Nicola West

Get ready for a Twin Peaks meets The Dry story because Nicola West is back with her BRAND-NEW dark and twisted novel, Catch Us the Foxes.

In this story, ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape her hometown. While covering the annual show for the local paper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of Lily Williams, the reigning showgirl and her best friend. Seven strange symbols have been carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her find to the police chief, he makes her promise not to tell anyone about the symbols. Lo obliges, though it’s not like she has much of a choice – after all, he is also her father.

When Lily’s murder makes headlines around the country and the town is invaded by the media, Lo seizes the opportunity to track down the killer and make a name for herself by breaking the biggest story of her life. What Lo uncovers is that her sleepy hometown has been harbouring a deadly secret, one so shocking that it will captivate the entire nation. Lo’s story will change the course of her life forever, but in a way she could never have dreamed of.

The wonderful Nicola West tell us about the not­-so-true crimes that inspired Catch Us the Foxes:

Set in the bucolic seaside town I grew up in, Catch Us the Foxes is a gripping psychological thriller that follows a young journalist’s gruesome discovery at the town’s annual show. The journalist must decide if she wants to help keep a dark secret or break the biggest story of her career. The novel was inspired by a number of true (and not-so-true) crime stories that I’d heard over the years.

    1.    Kiama urban legends:

Growing up in Kiama, I’d long heard stories of dark and nefarious things taking place in the area’s sprawling rainforest. In hindsight, these stories appeared to be precisely that – just urban legends used by parents to keep children out of the treacherous landscape – but when I eventually moved away from the town, I was shocked to find out that these stories had a life of their own. In fact, if you Google certain locations in Kiama (such as Saddleback Mountain, where a large portion of the book is based) and ‘satanic’, you can find references to bushwalkers finding strange symbols carved into trees, blood, and animal sacrifices.  

     2.    Child hunting cult claims:

Years before I began writing Catch Us the Foxes, I was half-listening to an episode of Media Watch that name-dropped my hometown. I pricked my ears up at the mention and was shocked to hear someone allege that they were taken to the rainforest in Kiama as a child and hunted for sport by a satanic cult. Of course, this was being presented on Media Watch, so the story’s veracity (and other conspiracy-based claims made by the same person) were being called into question. That being said, it did eerily mirror the urban legends I’d grown up hearing.

     3.    The murder of Frank Arkell:

I grew up in the ’90s. And while I largely missed out on the bulk of satanic panic scandals that rocked the country in the late ’80s and early ’90s, one case sticks out from my childhood ­– the ritualistic slaughter of former Wollongong mayor (and alleged paedophile), Frank Arkell. Arkell was bludgeoned, strangled, and had pins stuck into his eyes by his nineteen-year-old killer. The story was inescapable, with gruesome and sensationalist headlines gracing every newspaper, magazine, and news bulletin in the Illawarra for months.

It was an unfathomably messed up case, and its legacy still haunts the area. Not just because of the gruesome crime itself but also because of the questions it raised about the young killer’s potential ties to the high-profile paedophile ring Arkell had allegedly belonged to. That being said, no connection has ever been proven, just as there appeared to be no rhyme nor reason to the satanic elements of the crime. But the kind of darkness that inspired 
Catch Us the Foxes (and permeates its pages) has been a part of the Illawarra for a very long time – and things like the Arkell case show that it’s not always just urban legends or conspiracy theories.


To purchase “Catch Us The Foxes” by Nicola West, you can visit the QBD Books website or your local QBD Books store!

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