Monday 16 July 2018

Overkill by Vanda Symon @vandasymon @OrendaBooks #Overkill #KiwiCrime

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 aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
To find the murderer … and clear her name.

A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

Overkill by Vanda Symon was published in ebook form by Orenda Books on 30 June 2018, the paperback is published on 7 September 2018. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Look! Look at that cover! Isn't it stunning? I love it so much, and it exactly depicts the contents of the pages inside. Honestly, that oppressive dark cloud is just the perfect visual depiction of this extraordinary story.

It's been a long time since a prologue hooked me in quite the way that this one does. The reader is thrust, smack bang, into the centre of the horrifying incident that forms the central plot in this novel.
It's unforgiving in its brutality, but the violence is almost unspoken, it's implied with a force that conjures up the desperation of a woman attacked in her her own home, in front of her own child. A woman who, finally, has to accept that she cannot get out of this situation.

That woman is Gaby Knowes and when her body is washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, and a suicide note is found in her kitchen, the small rural town in New Zealand is rocked to the core. Sam Shephard is the only police officer in the town and it doesn't take her long to realise that this is not a suicide, this is a murder. Calling in external help from the CIB plunges Sam into a nightmare and when the powers that be discover that Gaby Knowes was married to Sam's ex-lover Lockie, she's suspended from duty and becomes a prime suspect.

Sam Shephard is an absolute delight, she's a fabulously created character who I loved. She's determined and gritty and loyal. Despite her suspension from duty, there is absolutely no way that Sam is going to let this one go. Risking her job, and her future, she continues, in her own way to gather as much evidence as possible.

Overkill moves at break-neck speed, plunging the reader and Sam into a mystery that is cleverly thought out and impeccably told. The tense atmosphere and the multiple twists and false leads make this a breathtaking and compelling read. The sense of place is amazing, this author has created a community that is close, yet divided; there's a claustrophobic feeling about Mataura and its residents that adds such depth to the story.

Sam Shephard is my new hero. She's perfectly flawed and incredibly human. I can't wait to find out what she gets up to next.

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.

Follow her on Twitter @vandasymon
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