Tuesday, June 28, 2011

V is for Vanda Symon's BOUND

I just realised that I missed a post or two for the Crime Fiction Alphabet in the past few weeks - one when I was just back from Turkey, and another that just slipped through the cracks a couple of weeks ago. Oops. As I've said before, for this version of the Crime Fiction Alphabet (a great series run by Kerrie of Mysteries in Paradise), I've given myself the added restriction of only covering New Zealand books and authors. Tricky.

Fortunately, 'V' is quite an easy letter when it comes to New Zealand crime writing lately, as anyone familiar with this blog will realise. So for my 'V' post, I am of course highlighting one of the books from excellent Dunedin-based crime writer Vanda Symon; BOUND, her fourth and latest crime novel to star spark-plug Dunedin CID detective Sam Shephard. One release, BOUND hit #1 on the NZ Adult Fiction bestseller charts earlier this year, which was great to see. In my opinion Symon is a world-class crime writer, and hopefully more and more readers, here and overseas, will give her books a go in the future.

Here's the backcover blurb:

"A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch.

But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin's most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried... until the body count starts to rise.

Meanwhile, Sam is in big trouble again…"

You can read an extract of BOUND at the Penguin NZ website, click here.

I thought the first three books in the Sam Shephard series were good to great, but for me, BOUND surpasses them all and is the best in the series. Symon really seems to have found her groove as a high-quality crime writer. And it's a great groove too. Here's what I had to say in a mini-review for the Herald on Sunday:

"A leading light amongst the recent surge in quality Kiwi crime fiction, Vanda Symon kick-starts her latest thrilling tale with a brutal home invasion; a dodgy businessman is shot gunned, his wife nearly chokes to death on a gag. Feisty heroine Sam Shephard’s Dunedin CID colleagues zero in on two lowlifes suspected of an earlier cop killing, but she’s uneasy, and keeps investigating. Excellent storytelling with real verve and energy, starring one of the most enjoyably readable heroines on the crime fiction scene."

You can read some other reviews of BOUND at the following websites:
Have you read BOUND? Or any of Vanda Symon's other Sam Shephard tales? Are you taking part in the Crime Fiction Alphabet? Comments welcome.