Friday 11 March 2022

Faceless by Vanda Symon BLOG TOUR #Faceless @vandasymon @OrendaBooks #SouthCrossCrime #Homeless #BookReview #FindHer


Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle-class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.

In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past, and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time, and the clock is ticking…

Hard-hitting, fast-paced and immensely thought-provoking, Faceless – the startling new standalone thriller from New Zealand’s ‘Queen of Crime’ – will leave you breathless.

Faceless by Vanda Symon is published in paperback by Orenda Books on 17 March 2022, the ebook was published in January. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour. 

Readers in the UK will be familiar with Vanda Symon's excellent police procedural series featuring Sam Shephard.  There are currently four Sam Shephard novels published by Orenda in the series: Overkill, The Ringmaster, Containment and Bound. It's an excellent series, set in New Zealand with a kick-ass female lead character. 

Faceless is a stand alone novel, not connected to Sam Shephard, and was previously published in New Zealand as The Faceless. 

This is an incredible piece of writing. It's crime fiction, it's psychologically chilling and it gets to the heart of characters who will ensnare the reader. There''s some dark issues covered here, at times it is violent and shocking, but it is always done with panache and flair and totally in keeping with the themes dealt with. 

The reader is introduced to three main characters; Billy, Max and Bradley. Billy and Max live on the streets of Auckland. Two totally different characters from contrasting backgrounds, but both sharing the same stretch of pavement each night. Max is middle aged, obviously intelligent, but worn down. Young Billy is the daughter of immigrants from Fiji, she's a talented artist but carries a burden with her.

Bradley is a middle-class executive. He's angry and tired, he hates his boss, his wife seems more interested in their children, he's teetering on the edge.

When Billy and Bradley cross paths, it is the beginning of a story that is often very uncomfortable. The reader is thrust deep into the world of people on the street, and the danger and discrimination that they face every single minute of their lives. 

Vanda Symon gets into the heart and soul of her characters. She slowly but surely reveals Max's tragic back story, whilst making sure that her readers are aware of his strengths. Not only does the reader learn about Max, he does too. His slow realisation of what he has become, and how he could change is enlightening to him and to us. 

Be prepared for a tense, twisty, chilling read. As Billy battles to stay alive, and Bradley's mental state deteriorates slowly but surely and Max's determination grows, we are taken on a journey that is at times terrifying but always compelling. You just can't look away. 

Faceless proves that Vanda Symon can write much more than a fabulous police procedural series. This is top class storytelling, with heart. Highly recommended. 

Vanda Symon lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. 

As well as being a crime writer, she has a PhD in science communication and is a researcher at the Centre for Pacific Health at the University of Otago. 

Overkill was shortlisted for the 2019 CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award and she is a three-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel for her critically acclaimed Sam Shephard series. 

Vanda produces and hosts 'Write On', a monthly radio show focusing on the world of books at Otago Access Radio. 

When she isn’t working or writing, Vanda can be found in the garden, or on the business end of a fencing foil.

Twitter @vandasymon

Instagram @vandasymon

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