Thursday, September 22, 2011

TRACES OF RED by Paddy Richardson

One of the most pleasing things about the slowly growing Kiwi crime fiction scene is that we now have several talented writers who are publishing multiple books, whereas in the past we had many authors who published one or two crime, mystery, or thriller novels, and then that was it (for examples, click on the bibliographical list of Kiwi crime writers above). It's great to see the likes of Vanda Symon, Neil Cross, Paul Cleave and others writing three, four, five and more crime novels - and others like Alix Bosco and Ben Sanders look like they too will hopefully follow this path and keep writing crime.

Another talented Kiwi crime writer is Paddy Richardson, a finalist for this year's Ngaio Marsh Award for her acclaimed psychologial suspense tale HUNTING BLIND (Penguin, 2010), which hit #1 on the local bestseller list last year, and sold well locally, especially for a locally-written crime novel. I thought HUNTING BLIND was a really good suspense novel, that showed Richardson was really finding her stride as a thriller writer. For me it was a noticeable step up from her debut thriller A YEAR TO LEARN A WOMAN.

Here's what I had to say about the book to Nicky Pellegrino of the Herald on Sunday in the lead-up to this year's award announcement:

Richardson's tale of a woman who is trying to uncover what really happened to her sister years ago expertly melds family drama and psychological suspense. Highlights of this novel include the evocation of the South Island scenery, a lingering sense of unease, and the way Richardson delves into the complexity of human relationships and the aftermath of high-profile tragedy; uncovering the very real and ongoing effects after the media circus leaves.

As such, I was very pleased to see that Richardson has a third thriller (and fourth novel overall) coming out soon: TRACES OF RED. Here's the blurb:

Rebecca Thorne is a successful television journalist, but her world is thrown into turmoil when her Saturday night programme is axed because of falling ratings. Not only will she lose her job but her big story on the convicted triple murderer Connor Bligh, whom Rebecca believes is innocent, has to be abandoned.

Rebecca's lover Joe, a married man and the barrister representing Bligh, also thinks Bligh is innocent – or does he? And if he loves Rebecca so much, why is he prepared to cast her off?

Meanwhile Bligh languishes in jail, convicted of three brutal murders and continuing to protest his innocence. He's clearly not a saint – but did he do it? Rebecca refuses to let the matter lie...

New Zealand readers will realise that, like HUNTING BLIND with it's 'ripped from the headlines' hook of a young girl who goes missing from a small New Zealand town, there are plenty of echoes of some high-profile real-life events in the plot of Richardson's next novel, as recently we've had some notable cases of prisoners protesting their evidence, and plenty of discourse and debate over whether they are or not (eg David Bain, Peter Ellis, Scott Watson, etc). I'm really looking forward to seeing how Richardson weaves the associated themes into her thriller, and where she takes us with the book.

TRACES OF RED will be released in New Zealand in late November.

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