As I said last month, as part of the very welcome return of New Zealand Book Month, our annual celebration of all things books and reading down here in Aotearoa, under the headline "Books Change Lives", New Zealand Book Month was going to deliver the biggest ever national book promotion by putting $20,000,000 worth of “book money” into the hands of New Zealanders.
4,000,000 $5 book vouchers are being distributed during March - one for every New Zealander. I picked up one for myself from a local BNZ yesterday, and went for a browse. Unfortunately one independendent bookstore I popped into wasn't supporting the promotion, which is a shame, so I went down the road to Whitcoulls - who've been having a tough time in the media lately, but still have some pretty great books available too.
I'd decided that I'd only use my $5 voucher to buy a New Zealand book (given the month, it seemed only right), but as I've already read or own almost all of the New Zealand crime, mystery and thriller novels that have been released in the past few years, it was a little tricky. Fortunately I came across one Kiwi crime-centred novel that had for one random reason or another until now eluded by bookshelf at home; THE CRIME OF HUEY DUNSTAN by James McNeish. So I used my voucher on that - supporting New Zealand Book Month, New Zealand authors, local crime/thriller/suspense/mystery writing, and a bookstore in need all in one go. Not a bad way to spend a late lunchtime.
In THE CRIME OF HUEY DUNSTAN, a young man stands in the dock accused of a brutal, apparently motiveless, murder. When Professor Chesney, a blind psychologist specialising in trauma, is called as an expert witness, he is at first baffled. This young man, Huey Dunstan, was a bubbly, smiling child not so long ago. What brought him to bludgeon an old man to death? Why does he seem determined at all cost to incriminate himself? As Ches delves into Huey's past, with the sensitive insight that perhaps only a blind man could have, a psychological mystery unravels. And the jury is asked to consider an unthinkable defence.
The publisher's blurb says, "The Crime of Huey Dunstan takes us beyond questions of guilt and innocence to thought provoking ideas on justice and humanity. An emotionally engaging, beautifully written novel from one of New Zealand's most revered writers."
My fellow Good Reading reviewer Linda George reviewed the book in the July 2010 issue of the magazine (in the crime section), giving it four stars and calling it "a beautifully written novel which asks some fundamental questions about the the nature of guilt, justice, and responsibility in our society".
I look forward to reading it.
What will you spend/have you spent your NZBM book voucher on?