As I have said several times, New Zealand readers clearly have a good appetite for international crime fiction, but in the past we have been not-so-great at recognising, encouraging, supporting, or buying locally-written crime and thriller novels. Even books which have got great reviews, or sold many thousands of copies overseas, have been overlooked here at home. Even Dame Ngaio Marsh was more famous here in NZ for her theatre work, rather than as an internationally acclaimed crime writer.
That's why it's so great to see a series of recent New Zealand crime and thriller titles making the local bestseller list (especially as the list is only a Top 5, rather than top 10, making it even tougher to get on given the support of some other books/authors in this country). Seeing Lindy Kelly's BOLD BLOOD hit #1 on the charts last March was fantastic - and even more so the fact it stayed in the Top 5 for several weeks as well. Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN received good publicity and bookseller support, and made the list a couple of times. Vanda Symon's CONTAINMENT climbed to #3 a couple of weeks after my 16 January post.
And now Richardson's second thriller, which well-respected reviewer, book judge, and longtime industry insider Graham "Bookman" Beattie has called "her breakthrough novel", has made the charts, debuting at #3. It's great to see - not only for Richardson and her writing, but for the recognition of New Zealand crime and thriller writing as a whole.
Hopefully the more that New Zealand (and overseas) readers are exposed to locally-written crime and thriller writing, whether through media interviews, reviews, and articles, via booksellers stocking or highlighting such titles a little better in the past, or by word of mouth as readership grows, the more they will enjoy it, overcome any historic 'cultural cringe', and realise that there are some pretty darned good writers here too.
On a related point, I understand there may be a feature on Richardson in today's Dominion Post. So if you are in New Zealand, keep an eye out for that. If it is later placed online (as some Dominion Post articles are), I will post a link for you all as well.