Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Review: EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE

EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE by Benjamin Stevenson (Penguin, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

I was dreading the Cunningham family reunion even before the first murder. Before the storm stranded us at the mountain resort, snow and bodies piling up. The thing is, us Cunninghams don't really get along. We've only got one thing in common- we've all killed someone.

My brother. My step-sister. My wife. My father. My mother. My sister-in-law. My uncle. My stepfather. My aunt. Me 

It’s clear that award-winning Australian author and standup comedian Benjamin Stevenson is having plenty of fun in his latest mystery novel. After establishing himself with two very good books – the first a true crime-entwined tale set amongst the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, its sequel an ingenious thriller about one million people watching a TV presenter kill themselves on air – Stevenson soaks deeply into the history of the mystery genre with EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE. 

And it’s fabulous.

Ernest ‘Ernie’ Cunningham is a struggling author of crime writing ‘how-to’ guides with a fractured relationship with his infamous family. But he can’t avoid the call to a snowy mountain resort for a ‘modern family’ reunion to mark the release of his brother Michael from prison. It’s a tension-filled weekend from the very beginning. So far, so Agatha Christie. It’s a stressful situation not least because Michael is now with Ernie’s wife, many in the family blame Ernie for Michael being in prison – he did testify, after all – and as the title says, everyone in the Cunningham family has killed someone. “Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once,” Ernie tells readers early on. So when a body is uncovered in the snow, seemingly burned despite the icy surrounds, suspects aren’t thin on the ground.

Stevenson delivers a startlingly clever mystery that delights in the longstanding tropes and traditional ‘rules’ of the genre. At the start he outlines Catholic priest and mystery author Ronald Knox’s famous ‘Ten Commandments of Detective Fiction’ from the late 1920s (Knox was a member of the famed Detection Club, alongside the likes of Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and GK Chesterton). Of primacy: play fair. Our narrator Ernie even tells us from the start that there will be many deaths, and on what pages they’ll occur. Having tied his own hands a little, Stevenson then performs some brilliant sleight of hand and storytelling – giving the readers far more than usual, but still managing to surprise and delight. 

EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY HAS KILLED SOMEONE harkens back to Golden Age classics while still providing plenty of freshness and modern perspective. It’s a book that dances with ‘meta’, and is very, very good. Highly recommended. 

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer who's interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Review: REMEMBER ME

REMEMBER ME by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

They never found Leah Parata. Not a boot, not a backpack, not a turquoise beanie. After she left me that day, she vanished off the face of the earth.

A close-knit community is ripped apart by disturbing revelations that cast new light on a young woman's disappearance twenty-five years ago.

After years of living overseas, Emily Kirkland returns to New Zealand to care for her father, Felix, who suffers from dementia. As his memory fades and his guard slips, she begins to understand him for the first time - and to glimpse shattering truths about his past. Truths she'd rather were kept buried.

Recently I was interviewed by the New Zealand Listener (a turnabout - I'm usually the one doing the interviewing) about the 'Books of My Life' - various books that have had an impact on me in childhood and as an adult. 

One of the questions was: "Which was the last book that made you laugh or cry?" The answer on the 'cry' front was this outstanding novel: REMEMBER ME by Charity Norman, a Ugandan-born storyteller who grew up among UK vicarages and has lived the past two decades in rural New Zealand. 

After Norman's tense London-set hostage thriller THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS, which was shortlisted for Best International Crime Fiction at the Ned Kelly Awards and Best Novel at the Ngaio Marsh Awards, Norman now ‘returns home’, taking readers deep into the small towns and wild landscapes of central Hawke’s Bay. REMEMBER ME is an eloquent, heart-breaking tale that meshes family drama with rural suspense. Children’s illustrator Eliza Kirkland returns from London to help her aging father, a retired doctor whose personality is now melting away. The culprit: Alzheimer’s.

Back in her childhood home in the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges, Eliza is assaulted by memories, past tragedies, and secrets. A quarter century ago she was the last person to see neighbour Leah Parata before the young PhD scientist vanished. Norman takes readers on an emotional journey as Eliza deals with her father’s disease, family strife, and stumbles over troubling connections to Leah among her father’s possessions. Has this stoic man, who helped lead the search team that combed the mountains for Leah, been keeping a horrible secret for 25 years? 

Norman does a terrific job immersing readers in Eliza's upturned life, and the landscapes of rural Hawke's Bay. REMEMBER ME is an absorbing, slow-burn thriller-cum-family drama that's beautifully written and evocative. A terrific read from a master storyteller. Highly recommended. 

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer who's interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Review: THE SLOW ROLL

THE SLOW ROLL by Simon Lendrum (Upstart Press, 2022)

Reviewed by Alyson Baker

It seemed a simple request. ”Can you find my daughter who has run away?” But for professional gambler O’Malley, life isn’t that simple.

There is the murder of one of his poker partners, the attention of drug dealers, money launderers, the police, the gangs, and just to top it all off there is his intriguing girlfriend Claire, who just seems to be better at part-time sleuthing than he is.

No, nothing is simple for O’Malley.

A brilliantly written and intriguing debut crime novel, set in Auckland and featuring two lead characters with intelligence and empathy who just leave you wanting more to read.

Roy O’Malley is a professional Auckland gambler, with a weakness for a sob-story. When a distraught father asks him to find his missing 15-year-old daughter, Sefina, O’Malley agrees. The case gets a little more complicated than O’Malley first thought, and he and his girlfriend, Claire, are wondering what he has got himself into. Then they hear that the body of one of O’Malley’s acquaintances “has been found on the outskirts of the business district”. O’Malley’s professional life and his amateur sleuthing come together, and things get a lot more than a little complicated.

O’Malley has a tragic backstory and has spent time in Paremoremo Prison. This has provided him with empathy for those at the mercy of toxic masculinity. And it has also given him allies in strange places, as well as access to a slightly untrusting but still hanging-in-there cop, Senior Sergeant Keith Buxton. Buxton believes somewhere inside O’Malley is a decent human being trying to get out. O’Malley also has connections with an ex-Paremoremo prison mate, Jimmy Tua, head of one of the Auckland gangs. And now he has sort of settled down, he’s got Claire, a bartender midway through a psychology PhD.

Claire is a more than competent partner. She’s smart, tough and perceptive. The latter is an asset, as O’Malley is not a great judge of character, the reader is satisfyingly ahead of him regarding some of his bad calls. O’Malley is playing a part and Claire understands he is a bit of a liability. She puts up with him calling her “baby” and “babe”, despite sending any bar client who would dare to “the back of the line”. She calls him “babe” too, as she knows he has night terrors, and almost every time he goes out on a “project”, she ends up tending his wounds. But then he does do all the cooking.

O’Malley doesn’t listen to jazz, but he knows he should, as he reads crime novels and watches crime shows on TV. THE SLOW ROLL has all the stock elements of literary and screen thrillers – two mysteries that end up related, an amateur sleuth who falls under the suspicion of the cops, allies with smarts in computing, insights into the criminal underworld, a cop frustrated that the amateur is getting the jump on the professionals. O’Malley’s self-effacing attitude towards Claire is reminiscent of the Andy Carpenter novels, but THE SLOW ROLL is much more hard-edged. There are slick fight scenes and heart-stopping thrills. What I really liked was Tua’s tour-de-force explanation of the movements and laundering of illegal gains, inclusive of an extraordinary array of people.

As with all good thrillers, it is character and setting that carries the plot. Damaged O’Malley, staunch Claire, Tua and his henchmen, Chatbox and Manu, are all great characters. There are blurred lines around right and wrong – O’Malley doesn’t do all his gambling at Sky City. Goodies and baddies are relative terms. And there are conspiracies that go right up to the Beehive. We go from luxury suites at Sky City, to O’Malley’s swanky Viaduct Basin apartment, to illegal gambling houses and remote properties where nefarious meetings are taking place.

And there are mysteries to be solved: Sefina has stumbled into some sort of bad business – but what? The dead man saw something he shouldn’t have – but what? When O’Malley has an encounter with a car driving aggressively against him on the highway, he isn’t surprised – he has a choice of options of who might be out to get him. The slow roll of the title is a gambling term for a player taking too long to reveal an extremely strong hand in poker. The manoeuvre plays a role in the story, but O’Malley is also juggling when to tell the cops what he has found out – too soon and people, including himself, will be in danger – too late and he might be heading back to Paremoremo.

THE SLOW ROLL is a great debut novel, and I am sure we will be reading more of O’Malley and Claire.

Alyson Baker is a crime-loving former librarian in Nelson. This review first appeared on her blog, which you can check out here

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Review: THOSE WHO PERISH

THOSE WHO PERISH by Emma Viskic (Echo Publishing, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

Caleb Zelic can't hear you. But he can see everything. Caleb's addict brother, Anton, has been missing for months, still angry about Caleb's part in his downfall. After almost giving up hope of finding him, Caleb receives an anonymous message alerting him to Ant's whereabouts and warning him that Ant is in danger. A man has been shot and Ant might be next.

Caleb reluctantly leaves his pregnant wife's side and tracks his brother to an isolated island where Ant has been seeking treatment. There, he finds a secretive community under threat from a sniper, and a cult-like doctor with a troubling background.

Caleb must hunt for the sniper to save Ant, but any misstep may ruin their faltering reconciliation, and end in death. When body parts begin to wash up on shore, it looks like the sniper is growing more desperate...

A few years ago I had the privilege of being a judge of the debut category of the Ned Kelly Awards for the best Australian crime writing. It was terrific to get to read and consider a host of first-time Aussie crime writers whose tales ranged from 'needs work' to very enjoyable to absolutely sublime. 

One of the latter ended up winning the Ned Kelly that year: Emma Viskic for RESURRECTION BAY, the first in her series starring deaf private eye Caleb Zelic. And while Jane Harper’s Outback noir TTHE DRY may have nabbed global attention first, it was Viskic’s outstanding debut – which swept several major awards in Australia the year before THE DRY was released – that may have first heralded a new, female-led Australian crime wave. Alongside the likes of Harper, Candice Fox, and Sulari Gentill, Viskic is undoubtedly one of the modern queens of Down Under crime.

So the fourth novel in her superb series starring deaf private eye Caleb Zelic may leave readers with mixed feelings. Not due to any dip in quality – if anything, THOSE WHO PERISH may be the high point of an astonishingly good quartet – but due to the news this tale brings the series to a close - at least for now. Viskic has spoken publicly about how she's moving on to different projects, and that she'd always intended her Caleb Zelic books to be a shorter series given the arc of the character. 

The end (for now?) begins with a text, a frantic 3-hour drive, and a gunshot by a toilet block near the Resurrection Bay foreshore. With his hearing aids in his pocket, Caleb couldn’t hear the crack of the rifle. But he saw his drug addict brother Ant’s hands signing “Get out of here, run!” And he saw the passenger window disintegrate. Inches from death. 

Later, a body is found, and the trail leads to an isolated island where Ant is rehabbing at an unusual facility. Caleb – who’s grown over the series but is still a stubborn and snarky work-in-progress – once again puts himself in danger and risks his most precious relationships as he tries to ferret out the truth. Even as he’s back with his wife Kat, an Aboriginal artist, and is an expectant father. 

So much to lose, yet he can’t help himself. 

Viskic delivers a taut tale that also delivers on character and place. Twisty storytelling pulsing with humanity; THOSE WHO PERISH is a novel carried on prose that sings. 

A must-read for fans of high quality crime fiction. 

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer from New Zealand, now living in London. He’s interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter. 


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Review: THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER by Margie Orford (Canongate, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

When danger lies in the eye of the beholder, what happens when you reject its pull?

Cora carries secrets her daughter can't know. Freya is frightened by what her mother leaves unsaid. Angel will only bury the past if it means putting her abusers into the ground.

One act of violence sets three women on a collision course, each desperate to find the truth, when the people they love are not what they seem

A decade ago, Margie Orford had firmly established herself as the ‘Queen of South African Crime’ thanks to her captivating series centred on Cape Town journalist and part-time police profiler Dr Clare Hart. Book such as LIKE CLOCKWORK, DADDY'S GIRL, and GALLOWS HILL dragged readers into the Rainbow Nation’s seedy underbelly, explored tough issues such as violence against women and children, and showcased a fresh and exciting voice in African crime writing that demanded global notice.

Readers have had to wait several years for a sixth novel from Orford, and with THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER she delivers something outside her Clare Hart world in terms of setting and characters, while confronting some of the same tough issues. 

Cora Berger is a renowned painter living in Scotland who tries to turn trauma into art, whether capturing the stories of women who’ve survived war crimes, or her own troubled childhood in rural South Africa. But her fame has recently turned to infamy thanks to her ‘Forbidden Fruit’ exhibition, which sparked a public furore and had police questioning Cora’s now-adult daughter Freya. Has Cora’s often-edgy art crossed a dangerous line? Meanwhile, a young woman named Angel lives in the snowy Quebec wilderness, caring for wolves and trying to bury her past. When art dealer Yves Fournier disappears from his cabin, Angel is determined to find him. Cora, Freya, Angel, and Yves all have secrets, and as their lives entwine and collide, the consequences could be deadly.

Orford masterfully spins a chilling tale that takes readers into some uncomfortable, confronting areas, including child abuse and online pornography. As she did with her Clare Hart series, Orford centres her female characters and deeply explores real-life fears and salient issues such as abuse endured by women and children and its poisonous impact that lingers far beyond the violence itself. Orford is fearless in her storytelling, which given the content won’t be for every reader, but is very, very good.

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer who's interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Review: IT DIES WITH YOU

IT DIES WITH YOU by Scott Blackburn (Crooked Lane Books, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

For nearly a decade, twenty-nine-year-old Hudson Miller has made his living in the boxing ring, but a post-fight brawl threatens to derail his career. Desperate for money, Hudson takes a gig as a bouncer at a dive bar. That’s when life delivers him another hook to the jaw: his estranged father, Leland, has been murdered in what appears to be a robbery-gone-bad at his salvage yard, Miller’s Pull-a-Part.

Soon after his father’s funeral, Hudson learns he’s inherited the salvage yard, and he returns to his Bible-belt hometown of Flint Creek, North Carolina, to run the business. But the business is far more than junk cars and scrap metal. It was the site of an illegal gun-running ring. And the secrets don’t end there; a grisly discovery is made at the yard that thrusts Hudson into the fight of his life.

North Carolina author Scott Blackburn pulls a nifty feint with his gritty, character-centric rural noir tale It Dies With You: he’s a first-time novelist but if you didn’t know that you’d swear you were in the hands of someone with plenty of books under their belt.

Hudson Miller is a boxer who can’t box, relegated to bouncing at a dive bar thanks to a post-fight brawl that threatens his living. The punches keep coming when Hudson learns his estranged father Leland has been shot in the back of the head at his scrapyard. The cops think it’s a robbery gone wrong. Having been arrested at his father’s wedding, Hudson is surprised to find he’s inherited some rental trailer homes and the scrapyard. Returning to his Bible-belt hometown of Flint Creek, he’s unprepared for all he’ll uncover. Was his father part of an illegal gun-running ring? Then, a grisly discovery.

Forming an unlikely trio with his father’s crotchety employee, Charlie, who’s closer to 80 than 60, and sparkplug teenager Lucy Reyes who’s seeking justice for a death in her own family, Hudson peels the skin from what’s really been going on in Flint Creek. 

Marvellous storytelling with terrific characters and a strong voice. 

If you’re a reader who enjoys the ‘grit lit’ of authors like Wiley Cash, David Joy, or Brian Panowich, this is a must-have for your shelves. More please.

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer who's interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Review: QUIET IN HER BONES

QUIET IN HER BONES by Nalini Singh (Hachette, 2021)

Reviewed by Alyson Baker

In this gripping thriller set in New Zealand, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes you into the twisted world of an exclusive cul-de-sac located on the edge of a sprawling forest.

Home to the successful and wealthy, the Cul-de-Sac sits shrouded in the Waitākere Ranges, near Auckland. It is home to Ishaan Rai, whose wife, Nina, disappeared 10 years ago – along with $250,000. After a serious car accident, Ishaan’s son, Aarav, returns to the home to recuperate, despite his loathing his controlling father. Then the police arrive to tell Ishaan and Aarav that the remains of Aarav’s mother, Nina, have been found. She has been lying in her dark green Jaguar, hidden by the dense bush not far from their home, for those ten years. Nina hadn’t been driving and the money is not in the car. Aarav is determined to find out who killed his mother, and in doing so he finds this gated community is home to tragedy, abuse, blackmail, and murder.

The proximity of the crime leads Aarav to look at his neighbours, then the hired contractors who frequent the Cul-de-Sac, and then further afield via unsecured social networking sites. “People tell me all kinds of things because I’m polite and empathic.” And Aarav is an excellent researcher – he is a multi-millionaire celebrity author; his one thriller having become a phenomenon that has been turned into a block-buster movie. He is under pressure to produce a second novel, so splits his time between writing and investigating his mother’s murder. But both enterprises are somewhat compromised by the severity of the car crash that sent him home. He badly smashed his foot – meaning he must hobble around in a moon boot, and he seriously injured his brain – meaning he has gaps in his memory, crippling migraines, and a less than firm grip on reality.

QUIET IN HER BONES is written in the first person, with Aarav as the narrator, and he is an enigma. He is full of self-loathing, yet he acts kindly and considerately. Is he the sociopath he declares himself to be, or is that just a persona he adopts as a famous thriller writer? – “Writers are professional liars”. He is the quintessential unreliable narrator, as much to himself as to the reader. The book is a journey of discovery and the reader travels along with Aarav and his shattered mind. All he remembers of the night his mother disappeared is seeing his parents fighting, hearing his mother scream, and waiting up for her with a leg that “hurt like a bitch”. As Aarav tries to piece things together, we learn about his persons of interest, and there is no shortage of suspects who might have wanted to harm Nina, or to take the money.

With Aarav’s increasingly frequent blackouts, his lack of memories of major events, his slipped chronologies, and his sleepwalking, he starts to suspect himself as much anyone else in the neighbourhood. The two people he loved most, his mother and his last serious girlfriend, Paige, both left him. And he starts to wonder if he was the victim, or the cause of their going. But the reader often sees Aarav as a good person. Not least when he is with his half-sister, Pari, daughter of his father’s second wife, Shanti. Shanti was ‘bride-shopped’ in rural India as Nina had been, and she is much more the obedient wife that Ishaan had been hoping for. Aarav finds out that Nina was as unfaithful as his father had been, and his memories of her perfume are always mixed with the smell of alcohol.

QUIET IN HER BONES is cram packed with vivid, interesting characters, some of whom are dead – Nina is a real presence, despite our only meeting her in ghostly memories. In the Cul-de-Sac are those who observe but are generally ignored, those who gossip, those who are keeping long-held secrets. And there is a mix of cultures, some of which value family honour over justice: “Rich Indians don’t report domestic violence, detective”, “Alice never tell. Shame. Shame”, “If you killed your mother,” he continued, “then we deal with it inside the home.” Then there are the multiple medical specialists Aarav consults. He has given up a reliance on alcohol and is living on an unhealthy diet of Coca Cola and sweets. He confuses his medications, and when he is shown proof of conversations and correspondence, he has no memory of them. He totally forgets people. And he gets others to tell him whether his writing is coherent, he can’t tell anymore.

QUIET IN HER BONES is a slow burn, the tension comes from knowing Aarav’s condition is deteriorating and that he must find the truth before he is totally incapable of doing so. And a sense of dread comes from the looming Waitākere Ranges that surround the story, usually drenched in rain. They are menacing, with parts closed off due to kauri dieback disease, a disease which “brings slow death”. There are kauri that guard the Cul-de-Sac, and “Should humanity stop tomorrow, the dark green would begin its takeover the very next day.” There are plenty of clues in the narrative, but even when the reader gets them, they aren’t sure who is implicated. Despite the physical, mental, and environmental difficulties, Aarav won’t give up: “Someone had murdered my mother, ended the angry brilliance of Nina Rai, and I wasn’t about to let them live in peace.”

A great psychological thriller, highly recommended.

Alyson Baker is a crime-loving former librarian in Nelson. This review first appeared on her blog, which you can check out here

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Review: THE ISLAND

THE ISLAND by Adrian McKinty (Little, Brown, 2022)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

It was just supposed to be a family vacation.

A terrible accident changed everything.

You don't know what you're capable of until they come for your family.

Three years ago, Belfast-born author Adrian McKinty’s life changed with the release of THE CHAIN, a heart-clutching thriller that was any loving parent’s worst nightmare, on steroids. That book skyrocketed McKinty into a new stratosphere of readership. He’d long been a critical darling, with a mantlepiece packed with prizes, including the Edgar Award, for his superb novels including his outstanding Sean Duffy series set in 1980s Northern Ireland. But THE CHAIN made him a #1 international bestseller, as well as landing on dozens of ‘best of the year’ lists and winning major awards on three continents.

McKinty was an overnight success, two decades into his publishing career. What next?

THE ISLAND is the answer, and McKinty’s latest tale takes the parental fears of his breakthrough book and twists the terror dial even higher. It’s a rip-snorting, stay-up-all-night read.

Young stepmother and massage therapist Heather Baxter is holidaying in Australia with her husband Tom and his adolescent kids Olivia and Owen. Tom, a doctor, has an important conference to attend, and the family has tagged along. But when a trip in their rental SUV into the Victorian countryside and onto a private island so the petulant kids can try to spot koalas and other Australian wildlife goes horribly awry, Heather must call on everything she has to fight for the lives of her new family.

McKinty delivers a cinematic, ultra-tense tale with a fair wallop of emotional oomph as Heather, her family, and an elderly Dutch couple are trapped on the island with a close-knit clan of locals who are suspicious of outsiders at the best of times. Shades of Deliverance. Masterfully written

Craig Sisterson is a lawyer turned features writer from New Zealand, now living in London. He’s interviewed hundreds of crime writers and talked about the genre on national radio, top podcasts, and onstage at festivals on three continents. He's been a judge of Australian, Scottish, and NZ crime writing awards, and is co-founder of Rotorua Noir. He's the author of the HRF Keating award-shortlisted non-fiction book SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, and the series editor of acclaimed anthology DARK DEEDS DOWN UNDER. You can heckle him on Twitter.