Having just posted a media announcement on the 2018 Ngaio Marsh longlist (the media announcement is here), now for a few personal comments. Firstly and most importantly, if you've been standing by waiting for a review to be posted (especially if your book was in the submissions list), this is the reason for the delay.
This year 69 submissions were made to the New Zealand Crime Writing awards and that's a LOT of reading. Plus it's not really fair to be posting comments / reviews up front when there is much discussion, consideration, rethinking, comparing and contrasting going on in the background. Which focus, needless to say, is now being switched to the longlist entries - all of which now need to be reread, considered, contrasted, stared at, notes made about, opinions formed, changed and generally agonised over before sending my conclusions out to the Judging Wrangler Craig Sisterson and waiting like everybody else for the final conclusions to be collated.
I will admit that when the size of the submissions list first appears it is a little daunting. There's a lot of books to be read in the first pass, but it quickly becomes less of a task and more of a joy as you rapidly come to realise the sheer breadth and depth in that stack. The variety is enormous, there's an increasing sense of multi-cultural celebration and bravery in many of the books being submitted. It's an exciting feeling - staring at this huge, teetering, cat endangering pile of books and wondering what little treasures will be lurking. And the joy when you open something, start reading and think, oh boy. Oh wow. Oh yes.
So heartiest congratulations to absolutely everybody who submitted their books to the awards this year. It was another rewarding year and here's hoping there are a lot more of them.
A new series from Ned Kelly winning author Alan Carter, this time set in New Zealand. From the Blurb: Nick Chester is working as a sergeant for the Havelock police in the Marlborough Sound, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. If the river isn’t flooded and the land hasn’t slipped, it’s paradise. Unless you are also hiding from a ruthless man with a grudge, in which case, remote beauty has its own kind of danger. In the last couple of weeks, two local boys have vanished. Their bodies are found, but the Pied Piper is still at large.
Marlborough Man is a gripping story about the hunter and the hunted, and about what happens when evil takes hold in a small town.
‘Cynthia can understand how Anahera feels just by looking at her body.’
Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen. Her striking fitness instructor, Anahera, is ready to throw in the towel on her job and marriage. With stolen money and a dog in tow they run away and buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But strange events on an empty island turn their life together in a different direction.
Baby is a sunburnt psychological thriller of obsession and escape by one of the most exciting new voices in New Zealand fiction.
Cassy blew a collective kiss at them. 'See you in September,' she said. A throwaway line. Just words, uttered casually by a young woman in a hurry. And then she'd gone.
It was supposed to be a short trip - a break in New Zealand before her best friend's wedding. But when Cassy waved goodbye to her parents, they never dreamed that it would be years before they'd see her again.
Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective. Overcome by the peace and beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community's leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay.
As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched in the group's rituals and beliefs, her frantic parents fight to bring her home - before Justin's prophesied Last Day can come to pass.
A powerful story of family, faith and finding yourself, See You in September is an unputdownable new novel from this hugely compelling author.
Their Taonga: Ngai Tahu’s ancient and sacred treasure. Everybody covets it. When it is stolen, the ancestors start wreaking havoc. The curse destroys people’s lives. Boats are overturned, babies die at birth, throats are slit. It must be returned to appease the ancestors. It has drawn Countess Margarita Szechnyi and Boyland the Collector, otherwise known as the Butcher of Warsaw, together into a web of murder, intrigue, love and deceit. Inspector O’Rorke is pushed into the case, along with his good friend Colonel Henry Jamieson and Henare Greaves as they attempt to return the Taonga to its rightful place. Starting in the secret caves of Murihiku in New Zealand’s South Island in 1883, then travelling to South America, on to London, then over to the Greek Isles, this book keeps the reader intrigued right through to the gripping climax. This is the sixth in Edmund Bohan’s gripping series of Inspector O’Rorke novels.
When an innocent family is taken hostage in their home no one is ready for how fast it all goes terribly wrong. As the close knit community of small town Lawrence reels from the shock, detectives Nick Cooper and Tobe White stand among the dead bodies knowing that it’s not over. Because while grateful that at least the two young daughters survived unscathed, they now know that their father is still missing, somehow impossibly vanishing from a house surrounded by police. The mystery deepens as Nick and Tobe realize that they know every gunman lying dead here – because up to last night they were the leaders of the biggest criminal gang in the country. As the desperate search and rescue mission starts it soon collides with their own challenging investigation leading them into the centre of a deeper, older tragedy. Where they begin to learn just how far someone will go for those he truly, dearly hates.
Detective Ngaire Blakes is back on the case when a skeletonized murder victim is discovered - a crime that took place during the Springbok Tours of 1981. A period that pitted father against son, town against city, and police against protestors.
When the victim is identified as Sam Andie, a young African American man transplanted from the States to NZ by his family, Ngaire must investigate whether racial motives were behind the death. In line with evidence from the forensic pathologist, a police baton could easily have been the murder weapon. Or was his death connected to Sam's girlfriend--a young woman convicted of a savage double homicide in the same week that Sam disappeared?
With files missing, memories hazy, and a strident false confession muddying the waters, Ngaire must sift through the detritus if she hopes to find the truth hiding deep beneath the lies.
"In the silence she could hear the oncoming hum, like a large flock approaching. She didn’t want to hear his story; she’d had enough of them."
Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had.
Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.
For Detective Matt Buchanan, the world is a pretty sick place. He has probably been in the job too long, for one thing. And then there’s 14-year-old Samantha Coates, and the other unsolved murder cases. Those innocent girls he just can’t get out of his head. When Buchanan pursues some fresh leads, it soon becomes clear he’s on the trail of something big. As he pieces the horrific crimes together, Buchanan finds the very foundations of everything he once believed in start to crumble. He’s forced across that grey line that separates right and wrong – into places so dark, even he might not make it back.
A new thriller from the Edgar-nominated author of Trust No One and Joe Victim about a blind teenager who receives new eyes through corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories that he believes belong to the previous owners a detective and a serial killer.
Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It's taken away his biological parents, robbed him of his eyesight, and is the reason his father Logan, the detective who raised him, is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman. The suspect, Simon Bowers, is killed by Logan's partner Ben, whose intentions are murkier than expected.
After this tragedy Joshua is handed an opportunity he can't refuse: a new pair of eyes. But a mishap during the surgery leads to Joshua unknowingly getting one eye from his father, and the other from Simon. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what his eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. Memories, truths, and lies Joshua discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from. What else has he failed to see?
Meanwhile, Simon's accomplice Vincent is bent on revenge, going after the loved ones of those involved in Simon's death and Vincent is drawing closer and closer to Joshua.
Life is good for Laurie and Martha. They have three great kids, a much-loved home in the countryside, and after years of struggle, Laura's career as an architect is taking off at last. Everything's perfect.
Except, it isn't.
Someone is about to walk into their happy family and tear it apart.
Laurie has been hiding from him for years. The question is, now that he's found her, can she keep her family safe? And just how far will she go to protect them?