For the last couple of years I've had the enormous privilege of being one of the judges on the New Zealand Crime Fiction Ngaio Marsh Awards, and I'm not joking when I call it a privilege. I've always been a fan of the work of New Zealand's fine band of Crime Fiction writers, but in the last couple of years, there's something going on over there that demands close attention. There's a sense of risk taking, of boundary pushing that's now palpable, along with an increasing pride in place and culture that's just wonderful. There's also a willingness to step away from that and take on a new setting / new place with aplomb. If you've not read any of the books on this shortlist in particular, but on the long-list as a whole then get on with it people - I know there are two on that Best First list that have just been ordered. You're missing out.
The finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel are:
- INSIDE THE BLACK HORSE by Ray Berard (Mary Egan Publishing);
- MADE TO KILL by Adam Christopher (Titan Books);
- TRUST NO ONE by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press);
- THE LEGEND OF WINSTONE BLACKHAT by Tanya Moir (RHNZ Vintage); and
- AMERICAN BLOOD by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin).
The finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel are:
Inside the Black Horse is a fast-moving thriller, a story of fate, and unlikely love story for our time. Pio Morgan is waiting outside a pub on a cold winter night. There is a debt he must pay and no options left. What he does next drags a group of strangers into a web of confusion that over the course of a few days changes all their lives. The young Maori widow just trying to raise her children, the corporate executive hiding his mistake, the gang of criminals that will do what ever it takes to recover what they've lost - and the outsider sent to town to try and figure out who did what. Time is running out for all of them as events take an increasingly dark turn.
It was just another Tuesday morning when she walked into the office--young, as I suspected they all might be, another dark brunette with some assistance and enough eye black to match up to Cleopatra. And who am I? I'm Ray, the world's last robot, famed and feared in equal measure, which suits me just fine--after all, the last place you'd expect to find Hollywood's best hit man is in the plain light of day.
Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency--except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray's inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.
When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he's inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.
Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen--and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Made to Kill is the thrilling new speculative noir from novelist and comic writer Adam Christopher.
In the exciting new psychological thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, a famous crime writer struggles to differentiate between his own reality and the frightening plot lines he's created for the page.
Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter-a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of forty-nine, Jerry's crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?
In Winstone’s imagination, the Kid and his partner ride through the Wild West on the trail of their quarry. In Winstone’s actual life, he’s had to abandon his ‘partner’ and is hiding out in the tough landscape of Central Otago.
What has this boy run from, and how will the resilient and engaging twelve-year-old survive?
A former undercover cop now in witness protection finds himself pulled into the search for a missing woman. An explosive, unputdownable work of suspense from a fresh voice in crime fiction.
After a botched undercover operation, ex-NYPD officer Marshall Grade is living in witness protection in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marshall's instructions are to keep a low profile: the mob wants him dead, and a contract killer known as the Dallas Man has been hired to track him down. Racked with guilt over wrongs committed during his undercover work, and seeking atonement, Marshall investigates the disappearance of a local woman named Alyce Ray.
Members of a drug ring seem to hold clues to Ray's whereabouts, but hunting traffickers is no quiet task. Word of Marshall's efforts spreads, and soon the worst elements of his former life, including the Dallas Man, are coming for him.
Dunedin, in the grip of an unseasonal flu, is a city under siege. Then, after five damaging days of rain, a twister rips through, exposing the body of a missing schoolgirl in Ross Creek.
Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd is the only one who can lead the investigation despite unresolved sorrow over the disappearance of his own daughter nine years earlier.
Sultry weather broods over the beleaguered city as suspects are sifted and pressure mounts for Leo to solve the crime. Meanwhile, his wife Kate tries to summon the courage to tell him the secrets she’s nursed for too long — including one about the disappearance of their beloved Beth.