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Nicola West on the 'deeply personal' story behind her gripping debut



My name’s Nicola, and I’m the author of the debut Australian novel, 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. With national interest in the murder of the reigning showgirl growing by the day, the journalist must decide if she wants to help keep a dark secret or break the biggest story of her career.


The novel is inspired by my love of small-town murder mysteries (I’m obsessed with Twin Peaks), as well as my desperation to escape my former hometown, and my experience as the daughter of a third-generation police officer. It also explores the horrifying yet well-documented rumours of ritualistic slayings that allegedly took place in the area’s sprawling rainforest (seriously)!


It feels strange to admit this, given the novel’s content, but the story is deeply personal to me – some may even say semi-autobiographical (minus the murder, of course)! In fact, prior to writing the novel, I was actually working on a memoir about my experience of developing a debilitating medical condition at the age of twelve and ultimately having to fight for my right to receive a medically necessary hysterectomy as a teenager. At its core, Catch Us the Foxes is the fictionalised version of that memoir.


It captures the same feeling I felt of being trapped in my hometown due to my health problems but in a heightened and distorted way – as if being viewed via a funhouse mirror. The story is peppered with my own memories (everything from being penpals with Ivan Milat to being trapped inside a ghost train when it blacked out) that blur the lines between fact and fiction. But, more than anything, the book captures how desperate a person can feel to get out of the place that shaped them and asks what they’d be prepared to do to escape.


Thank you so much for your interest in my weird little murder book – I’d love to hear from you if you read it. You can contact me via or find me @nicolawestbooks on Twitter and Instagram. To showcase a slightly less murderous side of my hometown, I’m posting a photo of the region every day on my Instagram in the lead-up to publication on July 7.


Happy reading!



Catch Us the Foxes

Some secrets you try to hide. Others you don’t dare let out …

Twin Peaks meets The Dry in a deliciously dark and twisted tale that unravels a small Australian country town

Ambitious young journalist Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson would do anything to escape the suffocating confines of her small home town. While begrudgingly covering the annual show for the local newspaper, Lo is horrified to discover the mutilated corpse of her best friend – the town's reigning showgirl, Lily Williams.
Seven strange symbols have been ruthlessly carved into Lily’s back. But when Lo reports her grisly find to the town’s 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 home town 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.

Introduces a bold, headstrong yet vulnerable protagonist in Marlowe and the pages spark with cracking dialogue, packed with unexpected twists…’ Books+Publishing

‘Addictive … West has a clear ability to spin a complex and compelling thriller. One to watch.’ The Australian