Launched last December (entries had to be in by March), the award was in effect something of a 'talent search', offering budding authors (in any genre and style, including novels, short story collections, poetry and non-fiction) the chance to be professionally edited, produced, marketed and distributed throughout New Zealand.
Now Malane's prize-winning novel, SURRENDER, will be launched next week, on Thursday 16 September. I have been sent an advance review copy, and am really enjoying it thusfar (about quarter of the way through). I will be writing a review for the Weekend Herald, so I won't say any more about my specific thoughts right now.
You can read a good article about Malane, her novel, and the inaugural prize, by New Zealand Herald Books Editor Linda Herrick, here.
Here is the 'back cover blurb' for SURRENDER, which will be available from Whitcoulls and Borders stores nationwide next week.
"Missing persons expert, Diane Rowe, is used to making sense of other people’s lives. Pity she’s not having much luck with her own. The brutal murder of her little sister, and the break-up of her marriage, have tested her usual tough optimism.
When Niki’s killer turns up dead, Diane sets out to nail the truth. But uncovering Niki’s seedy past reveals truths and dangers she never expected – or wanted – to face.
And then there’s that little matter of the decapitated body that’s turned up in the Rimutaka State Forest. Now she’s determined to make sense of it all – whatever it takes."
New Zealand author and editor Graham Lay, one of the judging panel for the inaugural award, describes SURRENDER as "a gripping narrative with an intriguing mix of brutality, mystery and humour... vivid writing and a great central character."
It's great to see more quality Kiwi crime writers joining the published ranks, adding to the burgeoning evidence that New Zealanders really should give locally-written crime and thriller fiction more of a go. In further great news, I understand SURRENDER is intended to be the first book in a series.
Update: To get the award-winning novel for only NZD$10, half price – simply clip the voucher printed in The New Zealand Herald between 16 September and 16 October 2010 and take this to a Whitcoulls or Borders store nationwide. Offer available while stocks last.
Will you be giving SURRENDER a go? Do you like the sound of Malane's debut novel? What do you think of the cover and the blurb? Do you like the idea of Wellington-set crime fiction? Thoughts and comments welcome.