Published by Orenda Books on September 7th 2018
Book 1 in the PC Sam Shephard series. Action-packed, tension-filled and atmospheric police procedural set in rural New Zealand.
When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast said her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer... and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and pageturning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand s finest crime writers.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Overkill by Vanda Symon. There were many things that attracted me to this book. First off, cover love!! Next, it’s location. I don’t recall ever having read a book set in New Zealand. I was also excited to be starting with the first book in a new-to-me series. Oh, and the synopsis sounded great as well!
Overkill begins with a prologue that was very captivating and gave me a knot in the gut. You know, just the way thriller readers like it! Initially, the reader knows more that the police. We are left on the edge of our seats hoping they will come to the right conclusion. They, of course, do and so begins the journey to the discovery of truth.
I will tell you straightaway, I loved Sam Shephard. She’s the sole-charge constable of Mataura. She’s not your average female detective type. I do love those strong no nonsense, take-no-sh%$ types but they sometime come across as flat and one-dimensional to me. Sam, on the other hand is strong and takes no sh%$ while being entirely full of personality and relatability. She’s very smart but managed to have me chuckling at times too. The other characters were also well-drawn. The author did a great job of rendering flawed characters without passing too much judgement or over-vilifying (is that a word?) them. I felt that she really gave a lot of thought to not just what her characters where doing but why.
As for the plot, it was quite unique. While it combined elements of police procedural and thriller as I expected, it also introduced lots of interesting angles any science-minded reader will love. The pages turned quickly. With only a minimal amount of suspension of disbelief required, Overkill didn’t overdo (word overkill intentionally not used) it.
Overkill was a great read and especially impressive as a debut. I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next book in the Sam Shephard series.
About the Author
Vanda Symon is the best-selling author of four Detective Sam Shephard crime fiction novels, published in New Zealand, including Overkill (Penguin, 2007), The Ringmaster (Penguin, 2008), Containment (Penguin, 2009), Bound (Penguin, 2011), and the stand-alone psychological thriller, The Faceless (Penguin, 2012). She is a three-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel. Her books have also been published in Germany.
Author Kate Mosse has said: ‘Vanda Symon’s fast paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up on the sofa reading.’ Crimewatch has described Vanda as ‘part of a new wave of Kiwi crime writers… Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout’.
Vanda is the producer and host of Write On, a monthly radio show on matters literary on Otago Access Radio, and she also reviews books for National Radio. She is very involved in the New Zealand writing community, having been chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors, and is currently the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand. Vanda also has participated in celebrity debates, acted as speaker, reader or chair in literary events and festivals in New Zealand and Australia, and toured with The New Zealand Book Council’s Words on Wheels.
Vanda has a professional background as a pharmacist and has recently completed a PhD in science communication, examining the communication of science through crime fiction.
Many thanks to Orenda books and Random Things Tours for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.