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“Devil’s Kitchen” by Candice Fox – April Fiction Book of the Month

We are so ecstatic to introduce our April Fiction Book of the Month to our QBD Books readers, “Devil’s Kitchen” by the crime fiction writing queen, Candice Fox. 

Candice is a prominent and original voice in the Australian crime-fiction novelist world, all of her books have been shortlisted for the prestigious Ned Kelly Literary Award, which she has also won multiple times. 

In this article, we will spring into the synopsis of Candice’s new addictive novel, and we have an exclusive author insight into her fascinating research process for this novel.

Let’s dive in!

New York’s brave firefighting crew Engine 99 has fearlessly put themselves in danger to protect the city’s citizens from fiery blazes. However, the crew has also stolen millions of dollars from banks and high-profile jewellery retailers. With their specialist equipment and insider knowledge, they have promptly become the most successful heist team on the East Coast.

But then Andrea ‘Andy’ Nearland joins the squad, working as an undercover operative to bring the men of Engine 99 to justice for a myriad of crimes.

As the countdown begins for the crew’s most risky heist yet, Andy begins to realise infiltrating the group of Engine 99 might be her deadliest mission yet.


Candice never fails to expertly incorporate complex characters, high-stakes situations, and a gripping plot for an unmissable crime thriller read. We highly recommend adding “Devil’s Kitchen” to your autumn reading list if you are looking for a title to get your blood pumping.

Authors note regarding the research process for “Devil’s Kitchen”. 

You can’t get in contact with firefighters in firehouses in New York unless it’s in person. They don’t have email addresses, and you can’t call the firehouse directly. The answer from all of the brass was a flat ‘No’ about me talking to these guys, so there was no other option: I had to just walk into fire stations in the city and present myself.

And that’s hard, because by the time I’ve explained I’m not a groupie, or a journalist, or a buff (a firefighter wannabe), but I am writing a book, and they can talk to me on the condition of anonymity – these guys are like ‘HUH?!’ So I hit about three firehouses without any luck before I managed to get a lead on one firefighter who might tell me about the game, and he was able to introduce me to a crew who was happy to let me hang around. 

It was a chief from a place north of NYC who sat down with me and gave me the best material, his experience in the job for more than thirty years. He had lost a crew member when the young firefighter got lost inside a burning movie set. He had also been there for the clean up after September 11, digging for the remains of his colleagues. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff this guy was pouring out. He was vulnerable, emotional and heart-breakingly honest, and he wanted nothing in return. 

I’d come to the novel wanting to know the dark underbelly of firefighting in America. Because there’s such an ingrained sense of the men and women who perform this job being unfailingly good people. But of course, firefighters are human. And humans as a race aren’t unfailingly good. I was looking for stories of bad people and bad behaviour that hides behind the badge, and I found what I was looking for.

There are firefighters who are thieves, liars, corrupt individuals. Cowards and abusers of their power. There are some who are drawn to the job for all the reasons, for the privilege and prestige and the adrenalin fix. I was nervous depicting these people, and asking firefighters both in Australia and in the US about these types of people, but I was met with a willingness to share the dirty truth which is kind of heroic in itself. Because for every dirty firefighter, there’s a thousand good ones.  

Along with all the talking there was a lot of fun to be had. While I researched for this book I bled and blasted hoses, rode around in fire trucks, hefted and swung their tools. I wore the uniform, felt the frightening suction of the oxygen mask on my face, heard the terror of all firefighters – the sound of a personal safety alarm going off, meaning a firefighter has gone down. I was all but thrown out of a fire engine on a lunch run so the crew could attend a real life house fire. What can I say? It’s a tough job, this writing thing, but somebody’s gotta do it. 

You can watch our QBD x CH7 Book Club review of Devil’s Kitchen here. 

To follow Candice’s crime-fiction writing journey you can follow her on Instagram here:

@candicefoxauthor

On Key

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