Anita Page’s first full length novel, ‘Damned if you Don’t” captivated me and I hope to read more in a Hannah Fox series. The book kept me up late reading and I finished it in one setting.

 I was drawn to it after I heard Ms. Page speak on the ‘Politics Large and Small: Think Globally, Kill Locally’ panel at Malice Domestic. I love mysteries where you have an opportunity to think about a current political issue. ‘Damned if you Don’t’ addresses two timely topics: eminent domain and domestic violence.

As the book opens, Hannah Fox takes her first call at Safe Harbor, a domestic violence hotline, where she has decided to volunteer. The woman who calls has been badly hurt and during the phone call Hannah hears a gunshot and the phone goes dead.

While Hannah is still worrying about the mystery woman, she talks to her friend Joy Fisher. Joy informs her that she just got a letter from the local government that she may lose her land via eminent domain. A developer wants the land to create a condo, resort and retail center. As Joy is working in New York, Hannah agrees to attend the first hearing for her.

These two plots interweave into a fascinating mystery.

The story set in the Catskill Mountains was home to Anita Page in the mid-seventies. There she worked as a freelance feature writer for a regional newspaper and met the inspiring women who became the model for Hannah Fox.

Ms. Page’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies. She won the Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society in 2010 for “Twas the Night” which appeared in the ‘Gift of Murder’.

I strongly recommend the book. I loved her complex characters, especially Hannah Fox her protagonist, a child of protestors. Although Hannah isn’t keen on her parents lifestyle, sticking up for yourself and others against wrong has been deeply ingrained in her.

Five stars out of five.


In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.