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• Publication date: 30 Jun 2018

• Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS

• Language: English

• ASIN: B079YY122L

Source: ARC copy

When a young mother in the town is brutally murdered (it seems to be a professional job), Sam is at the heart of the police hunt to find the killer. But then Sam’s past relationship with the dead woman’s husband is revealed. Sam is stood down from the case and is now a prime murder suspect. Frustrated, Sam loses her cool. She can’t stop herself making murder inquiries and gets into serious trouble with her police superiors. But then the young constable stumbles onto something. The murdered woman was working as a journalist and had uncovered a local scandal. She’d been killed to keep her quiet. When Sam enters this world she’s in real physical danger, until at last a conspiracy is uncovered and the killer revealed. Disillusioned, Sam prepares to leave town. What will she do next?

Oh My God! The opening chapter in this book was just so powerful and such a tense, emotionally fraught beginning that compelled me to just keep on reading.

This crime fiction novel set in a remote area of New Zealand is going on my list of best crime novels from this year.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and most probably countless times more) Karen Sullivan Orenda Books publisher certainly has the knack for introducing international writing talent to a wider audience that includes the U.K.

Vanda Symon, already a successful best selling author in New Zealand has written a series of novels featuring Sam Shepherd and this is the first in the series. In this book Sam is the sole constable in charge of a police station in Mataura. I suspect in later books in the series Sam will progress to higher rankings in her police career. Despite being under suspension she solves this case almost single-handedly. No groaning please. This woman is an excellent police officer, intelligent and resourceful plus she knows the local people much better than the detectives who’ve been drafted in from other areas to try to solve the case of the murder of local woman Gabby Knowles. A murder that was originally thought to be suicide. Unfortunately, the murder victim’s husband was the love of Sam’s life which leads to some initial local and police suspicion that Sam herself might have some involvement in the crime.

Fantastic writing. Pure quality. The characters felt very real and the descriptions of the local area were rich and atmospheric in detail. I loved Sam’s character, her attitude to life and her sense of humour. Completely addictive and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

To Purchase on Amazon UK

Vanda Symon (born 1969) 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 hit 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.

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