Saturday, January 2, 2016

98 New Zealand Crime Reviews - Part I

Kia ora everyone, and Happy New Year. As the calendar flips from one circuit of the sun to another, it's traditional to both look back on the year that was, and look ahead to the year that could be.

I've been doing a little of that myself, though not sharing it here as yet. For one, I've been a bit late on sharing my 'best of' books list for 2015 - I have contributed to some lists elsewhere, but haven't published any thoughts here yet - due to a festive season spent volunteering in North London with a great charity, Crisis for Christmas. I'll be sharing some of my best reads of 2015 very soon - so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, I wanted to first look back at something else: the New Zealand crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense novels that have been reviewed here on Crime Watch. When I started Crime Watch back in late 2009, publishing reviews wasn't really part of my goal. I was writing dozens of crime novel reviews for several newspapers, magazines, and website at the time (and still do, to an extent), so Crime Watch was never intended to be a review-focused website like EuroCrime or Reviewing the Evidence and the like.

Instead, I was looking to create a place to celebrate New Zealand crime writing, along with discussing crime writing in general, in terms of visiting authors, features, news, events, etc. Kind of a combination of creating and curating information about crime fiction that may not have been widely shared, or from a different perspective. As the months and years went past, I did publish reviews here too, and in the past year that's become more of a focus for Crime Watch. We all evolve, after all.

A few months ago I did a quick count, and realised that along the way more than 150 crime reviews, including of sixty New Zealand books, had been published here. Amazing how quickly things can add up, even when it's not a focus (reviews made up a little less than 10% of my blog posts). Deciding to further embrace what I'd started, I gave myself a goal of publishing 100 New Zealand crime reviews by the end of the year. That's not much compared to what some prolific online reviewers do, I know, but I thought it would be a nice dent in the eroding idea that there hasn't been much Kiwi crime writing over the years.

I didn't quite get there - at yesterday's count I was up to 98 New Zealand novels reviewed here on Crime Watch. Still, I'm happy with that progress - 60 Kiwi novels reviewed in five years, another 38 added in four months. I'm very grateful to the likes of Karen Chisholm, Kerrie Smith, Grant Nicol, Stephanie Jones, Andrea Thompson and others who've allowed me to publish their reviews of various New Zealand crime and mystery titles, along with my own. I've been reading a lot of New Zealand crime - contemporary and from years past - in recent weeks, so expect to see many more such reviews in future.

I'll be creating a page with a list of links to all the New Zealand crime novel reviews separately (see Part II). If you would be interested in reviewing any crime novels, New Zealand or otherwise, for Crime Watch, please do leave a comment or get in touch with me. I'm able to supply books in some cases.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to sharing our crime-loving journey in the months ahead.

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