Ok, so when I was asked to be on the blog tour for Overkill I pretty much bit Anne Cater’s arm off because when I heard that Orenda Books had signed Vanda Symon I was desperate to read it. Why you wonder? Well, I used to live in New Zealand and I miss the place a lot, a big part of me would love to move back, but for now I make do with being slightly obsessed with all things New Zealandy so the chance to read one of NZ’s top crime authors was something that I wasn’t going to miss! But with such high hopes did the book disappoint?
I was so excited to read Overkill by Vanda Symon’s one of New Zealand’s top crime authors, although slightly concerned that my insanely high hopes would mean that I would hate it.
Thankfully I didn’t need to worry about that as from the first to the last page I enjoyed reading Overkill. I loved the small town setting, where everyone knows everyone and how claustrophobic it can feel.
I was surprised to learn how long ago Overkill was written, but it has been updated and so it feels very current, you really wouldn’t know that it was written more than a year or so ago.
The main character, Sam, is a really normal person which made her easy to relate to. The crime that Sam is trying to solve is clever, I love how we know more than she does about it, apart from who had actually done it, but it made reading how she worked it all out enjoyable and somehow satisfying. I was definitely routing for Sam.
There is much to like about Overkill, the pacy read that keeps the reader hooked from the start, the varied characters, Sam’s great relationship with her flatmate and the desire to see justice for the poor woman killed in the most awful way at the start of the book.
I liked the ending too, we know that there is more to come from Sam but we also know that things will be changing. I, for one, am very excited to see what’s next.
Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Overkill by Vanda Symon, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
Sam Shephard, a young sole-charge police constable in Mataura, is the main character in a new series of crime novels set in New Zealand. When a young mother in the town is brutally murdered (it seems to be a professional job), Sam is at the heart of the police hunt to find the killer. But then Sam’s past relationship with the dead woman’s husband is revealed. Sam is stood down from the case and is now a prime murder suspect. Frustrated, Sam loses her cool. She can’t stop herself making murder inquiries and gets into serious trouble with her police superiors. But then the young constable stumbles onto something. The murdered woman was working as a journalist and had uncovered a local scandal. She’d been killed to keep her quiet. When Sam enters this world she’s in real physical danger, until at last a conspiracy is uncovered and the killer revealed. Disillusioned, Sam prepares to leave town. What will she do next?
About the Author:
Vanda’s first novel Overkill, was written while juggling the demands of a 6 month old baby and a two year old. She suspects the prologue to Overkill was written in a state of sleep deprivation induced paranoia brought about by middle of the night feeds and imagining every awful thing that could possibly happen to her family. None of them ever did. Reading that prologue still makes her cry.
A little time has elapsed and the six-month old and two-year old are now teenagers. As well as trying to raise two wonderful human beings, she has added three more Detective Sam Shephard novels to the series and written the stand alone psychological thriller The Faceless.
As well as being a crime writer, she hosts a monthly radio show on Dunedin’s Otago Access Radio called Write On, where she interviews local writers, and catches the odd international super-star if they’re in town.
And just to prove that she is a tiger for punishment, she has recently completed a PhD at the University of Otago looking at the communication of science through crime fiction – the perfect subject for a science loving crime writer. She has an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and enjoyed a career as a community pharmacist and palliative care pharmacist before concentrating on her writing career.
Vanda has been involved with the New Zealand Society of Authors for many years, having been chair of the Otago Southland Branch. She is currently the Otago Southland regional delegate on the NZSA Board. Vanda was also the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand.
When she isn’t writing, Vanda can be found digging around in her garden in Dunedin, or on the business end of a fencing foil. She has fenced since high school and still competes in national and international competitions. As well as competing she coaches, and because she likes to get involved, boots and all, is the president of Fencing South and on the board of Fencing New Zealand.
Vanda is a founding member of the Dunedin Crime Writers Association, whose raison d’etre is for its members to drink beer or wine and talk crime writing at their favourite pub.