I’m really happy to be on another Orenda Books blog tour this month. This time we’re off to New Zealand to catch up with Sam Shepard after our last visit in The Ringmaster last year. Many thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.
Blurb: Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.
Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.
What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…
As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…
My Review: I’ve read and reviewed the previous two books in this series and although I enjoyed them I feel this book is the best one so far. Sam feels like a more settled character in this book and although she has ongoing challenges (who doesn’t?) I thought she deals with them in a more mature way than she did previously, maybe with the odd exception.
While previous character knowledge may be useful there is enough background in this book for it to be read as a stand alone.
In this story we have a mixture of problems, the shipwreck and looting, and the murder of someone that no one even noticed was missing. Add to that personal issues for Sam and some of the other main characters and you have a story that keeps you hooked all the way through. There are a few references to the fact that investigations are never as quick as tv shows portray them but even with that information this story still ticks along at a good pace. There’s a good balance between the police work and descriptions of it and also the personal sides of Sam and her friends and colleagues which is great because some detective novels can be very heavy on the procedure.
As I’ve said I really enjoyed this story. I feel that Sam is developing well as a character and the investigation kept me guessing all the way through. I didn’t try to solve it, I was too interested in enjoying the story itself and the way it twisted and revealed new information and new leads. It’s not often I read detective books with a female lead but this series is on my list of ones to keep reading as long as it continues.
About the author:
Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors.
The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.