Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: BY ANY MEANS by Ben Sanders

By Any Means by Ben Sanders (HarperCollins, 2011)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

Young Aucklander Ben Sanders, who juggles novel writing with his university civil engineering studies, burst onto the local books scene last year with The Fallen, a gritty crime thriller that introduced Detective Sean Devereaux and ex-cop John Hale, and was packed with murder, kidnapping, and police corruption. All set amongst the seamy streets and suburbs of our largest city. Now, 21-year-old Sanders returns, as do Devereaux and Hale, with By Any Means, the follow up to his #1 bestselling debut.

In the first sentence, a bus driver is killed, shot by an unknown gunman on Auckland’s bustling Albert Street during Friday rush hour. Detective Sean Devereaux picks up the case, only to discover wildly conflicting witness accounts then a sense the victim wasn’t the true target. But then, who was? At the same time Devereaux is dealing with a double killing in the affluent suburbs: the wife and daughter of a prominent finance company director. Murder-suicide or double homicide? The police turn their attention to the husband, but Devereaux has doubts. Meanwhile, John Hale is largely unavailable to assist, as he’s witnessed a kidnapping, and finds himself the target of a dogged senior police officer as he tries to do his own private investigations.

Sanders writes in a crisp and punchy style, powering a storyline that can hook you early and keep the pages whirring. He often has a very nice way with words when it comes to pithy descriptions of people and places, using some vivid imagery, although at times some of the travel around Auckland, and the use of musical references, can get a touch too ‘listy’, which could bother some readers. Overall, By Any Means is a solid sophomore effort, and shows that Sanders is no one-hit wonder. I’m certainly looking forward to the next Sean Devereaux and John Hale tale.

Ben Sanders will be discussing By Any Means and his writing at the Takapuna Library in Auckland on Wednesday 7 September 2011 at 6.30pm (refreshments from 6pm). RSVP to or call (09) 486 8469.


This review was first published in the Friday, 26 August 2011 issue of NZLawyer magazine, and is reprinted here online with permission.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - This looks a good 'un; glad you enjoyed it.