Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dunedin author evokes best of Scandinavian thrillers

"New Zealander Paddy Richardson is one of the best thriller writers around these days, one who undoubtedly deserves a much bigger readership than she seems to have garnered."

So begins a brand new review of Richardson's latest novel, SWIMMING IN THE DARK, on acclaimed North American website Reviewing the Evidence. It is a very well-written, insightful and in-depth analysis and review of the Dunedin author's intriguing psychological thriller, by Australian reviewer Karen Chisholm. I always enjoy reading longer reviews, which delve more deeply into books, and why they are good (or not), and worth reading. In her review, Chisholm says:
"Reminiscent of some of the best of the Scandinavian psychological thriller writers, this book is a perfect illustration of the power of this author's storytelling and the cleverness of the writing."
I've been hearing lots of great things about SWIMMING IN THE DARK from a lot of knowledgeable readers. Like Chisholm, I think that Richardson is a terrific writer whose work can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best on the world stage. If more people knew about her or had access to her books, I'm sure she'd have a very large following. Perhaps those opportunities will arise in future.

Richardson is also part of a strong crime writing cabal that's to building in our southern city: 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award winner Liam McIlvanney, thrice Ngaio finalist Vanda Symon, and #1 bestselling Mexican crime writer Rogelio Guedea all also call Dunedin home. Readers get a chance to see all four at the "Murder Most Foul" event at the upcoming Dunedin Writers Festival on Sunday 10 May.

Reading Richardson's own words about this book from her launch last April make it very clear that, like Chisholm notes in today's review, SWIMMING IN THE DARK delves into a lot of intriguing issues that are broader than a pure crime tale. Like the best of Nordic Noir (as well as other great crime writing from other regions), the social, historic and personal issues that swirl around the characters feature strongly:
"Swimming in the Dark has been a joy to write. It’s about issues which are very important to me; the way family can be destructive or empowering, the longing for home and the making of home, corruption and the misuse of power and the potential of ordinary people to fight against that and, finally, fear and distrust and the restorative nature of love." Paddy Richardson, April 2014
I'd recommend you go and grab a copy of this book. It is a strong contender for this year's Ngaio Marsh Award, and just a flat out great story from a terrific storyteller. Read Chisholm's full review here.

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