I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the second novel in the Sam Shepherd series by Vanda Symon, The Ringmaster.
Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand
Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…
Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…
Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer, Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling series.
DC Sam Shepherd is back in the second book in Vanda Symon’s riveting crime series set in New Zealand, The Ringmaster. I remember when I read the last book I was totally gripped by the opening prologue which was so chilling, and Vanda Symon has created another brilliant opening here.
After the devastating events which took place in Overkill, Sam has relocated to Dunedin and has joined the local police force as a detective constable. Sam is desperate to have the chance to move further up the chain and is always willing to prove herself to her superiors. One of the drawbacks to her new job though is her detective inspector who I really took a dislike to from the moment he was first introduced. I honestly couldn’t believe the way in which he treated Sam, which made me root even more for her to succeed. There was one scene in particular that just had me holding my breath after a particular devastating sequence of events; this shows just how well Vanda had pulled me into her story.
If you’re looking for a quick read that will hook you in right away, then this book is the book for you. You don’t have to have read the first book in the series to read this one, but once you have, you’ll want to catch up. There are short chapters which keep the pace flowing right throughout, and there is an engaging mystery to follow.
What I really like about Sam is how human she feels and how personally connected she becomes to the victims and to what has happened to them. Although she desperately wants to work in the police, she also wonders why she is drawn to this profession as she is often deeply moved and upset by crimes which have taken place; but this makes her all the more motivated and determined to solve them. It gives you a sense that she will do everything humanly possible to make that happen.
I loved the growing sense of unease that just made this book so gripping as I could never be sure who to point the finger at. Vanda Symon keeps you thinking about what is going to happen next, and there is a surprising turn of events at the conclusion. There was so much tension as Sam realised just what was going on and who was behind the killings and I was just utterly gripped as I waited to find out how it would all be resolved. But I’m not going to reveal any more about that here.
This is another top read by Vanda Symon that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. With taut writing and brilliantly developed characters, this is turning into a must-read crime series. I, for one, can’t wait to read more. Roll on book three.
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: 18th February 2019
Print length: 320 pages
If you would like to purchase The Ringmaster, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.
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