Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vanda Symon makes local bestseller list!

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably seen me lament the relative lack of appreciation in New Zealand for our own crime writing, regardless of the quality of the writing. People like Paul Cleave, who is an excellent local author and has had brilliant international success with the most popular crime/thriller title on Amazon Germany in 2007, and was at #2 overall for much of that year (behind the then-latest Harry Potter book), still struggles to get much recognition or support from New Zealand media, booksellers (see my Bookstore reviews on the sidebar), and readers.

Meanwhile some other New Zealanders (in literary writing and other non-books fields, eg sports, fashion etc) get far more attention and acclaim, even when achieving far less on the international stage. Our general disgregard for our own crime and thriller writing (I'm making a sweeping generalisation here of course - there are people in New Zealand who do really support and appreciate our 'genre' writers, and buy their books - just not yet in the numbers they deserve) is a real shame - and something that will hopefully change in future.

That's why it's so great to see a Kiwi crime or thriller writer hit the New Zealand Adult Fiction bestseller list; it is an all-too-rare occasion over the past few years (especially as the weekly list is only a Top 5, rather than going any deeper), but one that will hopefully increase in frequency in future, as Kiwi crime and thriller writing continues to grow in strength.

So congratulations to Dunedin-based Vanda Symon, whose third book in her 'Sam Shephard' series, CONTAINMENT, made the most recent New Zealand Adult Fiction Bestseller list - debuting on the charts at #4.

Given Kiwis relative lack of appreciation for locally-set crime in both historic and recent times (eg Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN got great reviews from a number of major media outlets last year, but still didn't hit the bestseller list, while lesser titles from other 'genres' did), this is a great achievement - and Vanda can now deservedly call herself a 'Bestselling Author'. Hopefully her audience, both in New Zealand and abroad (her earlier novels are available in Australia and Germany as well) will continue to grow over the coming weeks, months and years. I enjoyed CONTAINMENT, as well as the earlier books OVERKILL and THE RINGMASTER - and am very much looking forward to the fourth title, BOUND, later this year.

Hopefully the Kiwi public will continue to buy CONTAINMENT (the reviews thusfar have been pretty positive), and it can stay in the charts for a while. Also, with crime and thriller titles from the likes of Paddy Richardson, Paul Cleave (whose earlier books have also made the Kiwi bestseller list) and Neil Cross also due for release in the next couple of months, we can only hope this is the tip of the iceberg for growing recognition of Kiwi crime and thriller writing.

Have you read CONTAINMENT? If so, what do you think of it? If not, does it sound interesting to you - the type of book you would buy? Do you buy much crime fiction, or instead get it out from the library or 2nd hand stores? What Kiwi crime titles are you looking forward to in 2010? Thoughts and comments welcome.


  1. Article/interview about Vanda Symon in the "your weekend" magazine with Saturday 16th's Dominion-Post - Helen

  2. Thanks Helen - I'll have to have a look out for that. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have been placed online (yet) - which I guess would be the same as author interview articles in the equivalent "Canvas" magazine in the Weekend Herald, which are generally not placed online either.