Book Club: Fatal Mistake

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Author: Karen M. Davis
ISBN: 9781925368321
RRP: $29.99

Karen M. Davis is a talented author who spent decades as a police officer and her experience and on the job knowledge certainly shines through in another gripping police procedural set on Australia’s own East Coast.

There has been a much larger gap between books this time round, which means my chances of remembering Deadly Obsession are about zip. This is the third book in the Lexie Rogers series, and I have read the first two books, but it’s been that long that I might as well have been new to the characters so I have no doubt that those meeting Lexie and the rest of the cast for the first time will be perfectly comfortable reading this as a stand alone (though they may want to go get the earlier volumes after they finish).

Lexie Rogers is a detective at Bondi Junction who has already faced more than some officers do in their entire career. I love Lexie as a character; she is tough, smart, driven and good at her job but she has also suffered PTSD and debilitating episodes of fear. Lexie has learned to trust her instincts and they have kept her alive more than once.

Fatal Mistake sees Lexie take on a job deep undercover as Lara Wild to help bring down a drug syndicate. She is moved out of her house, changes her appearance and tells her colleagues she’s away on holidays while her parents still think she’s working at Bondi Junction. There are only three people outside the UC Branch that know what’s happening; her best friend, her partner and her boyfriend.

We have multiple narrators and the whole story is told in a third person voice which certainly makes it easier to keep track of the storyline. Multiple simultaneous plot arcs have us jumping around a lot, and wondering if it’s all connected.

Lexie is getting prepared to go deep undercover as a drug distributor and expose a drug dealing ring working out of a Sydney club. She is working with Rex Donaldson, an undercover officer who has had opportunity to save her life in the past, also another officer from Bondi Junction is bought in late in the preparation stage.

Her partner Brad is working the day a bomb is detonated at a bikie club open day killing or wounding a police officer, bikies of 2 rival clubs and civilians. He could well have been injured in the blast had he not been on his way back to the car with his temporary partner Berni.

Berni gets a bit of page time because after the bombing she takes some stress leave and we follow to get to know her a little better. A decent period of stress leave sees Brad gain a new partner, Lexie’s best friend Dani and we can see a great dynamic playing out between Brad and Dani, who are both good cops with great instincts.

Josh Harrison is Lexie’s boyfriend, currently working in Byron Bay as part of a task force targeting drugs in the area. Their main focus has been marijuana plantations that are not always easy to trace as they are on Crown land.

There is also a mystery character, we get to watch what they’re up to and listen in on their life but we don’t actually find out who they are. There are clues and suggestions but sometimes even great detective skills won’t take you straight to the right answers.

Fatal Mistake has a lot going on, and none of it good. There are bikies, betrayal, sex, lust and power plays as well as drugs, contracts and crooked cops. The action is page to page with not a dull moment and imaginations running overdrive. To be honest, I’ve never been involved in the seedy underworld of Sydney’s sex and drugs clubs and I never even watched Underbelly so I have no actual knowledge of crime syndicates, undercover operations and police procedures but Davis writes a compelling and convincing tale that had me believing this was all completely possible.

Lexie is still only quite young so with all she has already faced in her career it’s no wonder her mother is forever trying to convince her to find a slightly less dangerous line of work.

The tension is palpable throughout; Lexie has been shot, stabbed and lost her brother in the line of duty and still she is determined to be the best officer she can. She’s tough and she’s learned to always listen to her instincts, not listening nearly got her killed. She is up to the challenge of undercover work but she needs to be very careful, having your cover blown is a very dangerous outcome.

I loved the pacing, the characters, the tension and the tangled web of the underworld. Davis certainly kept me guessing and the journey to the reveal was nail-biting. I needed an early night but Lexie wasn’t going to let me go that easy.

Lovers of the Lexie Rogers series, lovers of police procedurals, lovers of crime fiction and thrillers are going to love this book. It won’t matter if you have followed Lexie’s career or you just meet her now; I’m sure you will love Fatal Mistake.

I am hoping for more books in this series but Davis has tied things up quite well at the end of this one so I fear that it may have only been a trilogy. If this is the end of the road for Lexie I look forward to what’s next from Davis, she will definitely be on the watch list.

Fatal Mistake is book #30 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Karen M. Davis can be found on Facebook and

Fatal Mistake is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reviewing Fatal Mistake so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.


9 thoughts on “Book Club: Fatal Mistake

  1. “Fatal Mistake” is the story of Detective Lexie Rogers, undercover as a drug dealer in an attempt to entrap some particularly nasty criminals in Sydney. Undercover work is dangerous and nerve wracking; but soon Lexie discovers that there is a price on her head. Being Lara Wild, drug dealer, may actually be safer than being herself.

    This is a good solid crime novel. There’s credibility to much of the action, no doubt coming in part from the author’s experience as a police officer. The plot is believable and well constructed.

    The characterisations are strong and realistic. I particularly liked the depiction of workplace relationships – while I’d hope few workplaces would have quite as many idiots as the NSW police seem to have (according to the novel), most do have at least one or two, and a few people who simply don’t get on with each other. It was interesting to see that acknowledged; many crime novels only do that in the context of corruption, but here it was (also) an issue of simple human dynamics.

    The writing flows well, keeping the pace up without ever becoming so frenetic that you start to wonder when the characters breathe. It’s a straight forward writing style that suits the novel well.

    For me, this novel lacked the extra something that would make it really compelling, or memorable over the long term. However, it’s an enjoyable read with no real flaws. It’s positioned firmly in the crime genre, and most fans of the genre will enjoy it, and probably consider it a very good novel. It doesn’t have as much to offer non-genre readers, but it’s also not trying to.

    In short, a very good, strong read for fans of the crime genre.

  2. I am not really a crime reader however I have to say I enjoyed this book.

    Lexie Rogers is a detective working undercover as a drug dealer who finds herself (as a detective) with a price on her head. The character development draws you in and I often found my heart beating faster over the problems, issues and situations the characters find themselves in.

    The plot and story line are well written with a logical flow to the events that unfold. This enables you to fully experience the story through the eyes of the characters. There is a fine line between providing too much detail in describing the environment that you become bored with the details and not enough that you can not picture what is going on. This book nails the detail and enables you to truly picture what is happening and why.

    I loved the range of characters depicted in the book as a reflection of real life which added level of realism (and frustration) as well as being able to relate to the emotions Lexie experienced.

    All in all a good book to read even if you are not normally a crime book reader.

  3. Beautyandlace and Simon&Schuster thankyou for the opportunity to review ‘Fatal Mistake’ by Karen M. Davis.
    This is Karen’s third book featuring Lexie Rogers. Lexie takes on an undercover job as a drug dealer ‘Lara’ and becomes heavily involved with the drug business and its dangers.
    The book takes you inside the drug suppliers, users and the prostitution side all connected with Sydney’s criminal community.
    Lexie has previous to this book been brutally attacked and stabbed by a bikie club member so knows well the dangers she will be involved with in her undercover role.
    This was full of all types of characters, some police, informers and those connected with the operation.
    For those who really enjoy Police/Crime dramas and who’ve already read the previous novels which Karen has written, they will enjoy catching up on Lexie again.

  4. Although this was the third in a series and I’ve yet to discover the other two, the author made it easy to read this as a stand alone book.

    As Karen Davis is an ex cop you always felt the dialogue was authentic.

    This book has multiple story lines but as it was told in the third person it was easy to keep them separate in your mind and follow each.

    Going undercover isnt as glamorous as the movies would have us believe and this book shows us that.

    I’m not usually a fan of crime novels but as this is Aussie based and believable i found it a great read right to the end…….now to go hunt out the first two ( although i know a little of how they turned out through reading this one

    I would possibly suggest reading the others first even though this is a stand alone, sometimes its frustrating thinking there are things you should know but dont because of not having the background

  5. This is a book that lovers of crime fiction would really enjoy. That the location is mainly in Sydney and parts of New South Wales that I know, definitely helped to make it more enjoyable for me.

    It is a very well paced novel with the main character being Lexie Rogers a detective, who as Lara Wild, goes deep undercover posing as a drug distributor, to try and bring down a drug syndicate operating out of a club in Sydney. By going undercover like this she is putting herself in a lot of danger.

    I most definitely recommend this book and thank Simon & Schuster as well as Beautyandlace for giving me the opportunity to read and review it.

  6. Crime fiction is my favourite genre so I’m glad I was lucky enough to be chosen for this club.
    I love that the novel is based in Australia so I could sort of picture where things were happening.
    The pace of the book was good so anyone would be able to keep up with it.
    I love that it has several different stories going on at once but it wasn’t confusing at all.
    I really enjoyed the main character and her grit and determination in bringing down the syndicate, even though it put her life in danger doing so.
    Overall a very satisfying read that I would highly recommend.

  7. Fatal Mistake is book 3 in the series by Karen M Davis . She delivers us a fast paced read that will keep you engaged till the very end. Her writing provides us with vivid imagery, this I enjoy very much in a read its like your looking through the book or as Your reading its as If You inside every word and page.

    Having not read the previous books I am sure I missed out on some things, * character wize ** but I found this book easily read and could be read as a standalone.

    Lexie has gone undercover, changing her persona to fit her new identity. With the police corruption and the twists and turns within the plot I found the novel to be very fast paced and filled to the brim with action at every corner.

    I think with the author being an ex detective this certainly shows her passion and knowledge within the pages. Certainly a fast paced thriller – with many aspects happening at every page turn. Certainly had to keep you mind set focused on this, as at times I found my mind slowing down to absorb and catch up with the merry go round lol.

    A well rounded ending to finish this story. I recommend this to all those who love a thriller with crime and an unpredictable story line to boot.

    Engaging characters you cant help but eagerly follow .

  8. Lexie Rogers goes undercover in order to expose a huge drug ring in Sydney. This is the third book in the Lexie Rogers series.

    I received this book as part of the Beauty and Lace Book Club. I was enjoying it up until around page 80, where a particular scene really put me off. It was a highly detailed sex scene. I don’t mind sex scenes in novels, but this scene was too graphic for me.

    I have to admit though, the fact that this scene was so graphic to me, and I could see it clearly in my mind, is a testament to Karen’s writing style. It’s detailed and descriptive, and really draws you into the story.

    When I got to the sex scene, I decided to put the book down, and leave it for a day before trying to continue reading. However, every time I picked the book up after that, I just couldn’t get back into it.

  9. Fatal mistake by Karen Davis is the third novel of an Australian crime series, it was overall an enjoyable read with relatable characters and familiar locations. As I have not read the previous 2 novels I was playing catch up with some of the back story however, as the novel develops the connections between the main characters were revealed. The plot centres around Lexie a police officer working on an undercover assignment investigating a Sydney drug syndicate, along with her kind hearted mentor Rex. There are multiple intertwining plot lines throughout fatal mistake; Josh Lexie’s boyfriend is working on an investigation in Byron bay and Brad Lexie’s work college is investigating a bombing at the Assassins clubhouse. Lexie is a strong, determined and focused police detective, but the dangers of working undercover show her vulnerabilities at times. It is a fast paced easy to read novel, however I would recommend starting from the beginning of the series to build more rapport with the characters

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