Source: Review Copy
Book One in the Sam Shephard Series … a tense and atmospheric thriller by one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers
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 page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.
Sometimes a book comes along which you just want to shout from the rooftops about, and Overkill for me is that book. I’d heard many great things about it so my expectations were high and they were certainly met. I’m going to be pressing this book into the hands of everyone who I know who loves crime fiction. This is one of the best introductions to a new crime series that I have read. As I was reading the prologue, I was just staring wide-eyed at the page, completely engrossed by the character’s dilemma and what she was facing at that moment. And I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy case for the police to investigate.
What first drew me to Overkill was the book’s setting. The author, Vanda Symon, sets the novel in her home country, New Zealand. I haven’t read any books set in this part of the world before. In her debut novel, Vanda Symon paints a portrait of a friendly, tight knit community and it seems an idyllic place to live, everyone knows each other’s business. The crime rate appears to be low, and nothing untoward seems to happen, which is why the discovery of the body of one of their own, sends the community, and even the police working on the case into shock. I did wonder how the case was going to affect the town in the long run, especially if there wasn’t a quick resolution. I was beginning to imagine that there would be many pointing the finger at each other and playing the blame game.
Detective Constable Sam Shepherd, who is on the team investigating the case, is acquainted with the woman who has been found and with the victim’s husband as well. Her connection to the individuals at the heart of the crime is what makes this case particularly personal and difficult for her, even more so as she still has strong feelings for the victim’s husband. But Sam tries her best to find out what happened, even when there are many obstacles thrown in her way. She certainly isn’t given an easy time with this case, and this is what makes this book tense and exciting, I wanted to see how she was going to get out of the situation she was now in. But to find out what happens to Sam, you’re going to have to pick up the book to find out as I won’t be revealing anything here.
I did have a huge amount of empathy for Sam throughout the book. I think she is a character who fears change, and she is a person who becomes very attached to people who she knows well, particularly her friend Maggie. But when it comes down to the case, she is determined to get to the bottom of what has happened, and she is feisty in her determination to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.
I loved Vanda Symon’s writing style. When I started reading the book, I knew that it wouldn’t take me long to finish. I liked that every now and again there was a slice of humour, which really added to Sam’s characterisation and the people around her.
After reading Overkill I’m really excited to read what Vanda writes next. Overkill is an immersive, page-turner that will have you gripped from the chilling opening right through to the heart-pounding conclusion.
Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.
Publication date: 30th June 2018 (kindle) 7th September 2018 (paperback)
Print length: 320 pages
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