Published 5th March 2020 by Orenda Books.
Read March 2020.
Detective Constable Sam Shephard's quiet weekend in sleepy Aramoana, on dog-sitting duties, comes to an abrupt end when a container ship comes aground and washes some of the containers onto the beach.
For some reason, the locals have assumed a "Whisky Galore" attitude to the contents of the containers and are busy helping themselves to all manner of goodies, but when their foraging uncovers a human skull and the police put in an unwelcome appearance, things get out of hand. Unfortunately, Sam finds herself in an ambulance after receiving a beating from one of the scavengers - a man who has also been beaten to within an inch of his life.
Once a somewhat worse for wear Sam is back on the job, a case which at first appears to be one of simple cargo running, turns out to be much more complex, when a body is pulled from the sea - a body which was clearly already dead before being squeezed into a diving suit.
As the plot thickens, it becomes clear that this is more than just a case of a few stolen personal items and someone is desperate to recover what was spilled from the containers in Aramoana.
Can Sam get to the bottom of the mystery, before anyone else is killed?
But she is human too, with the incumbent emotions this implies - and underneath the tough exterior that she needs for her job, she has her jealousies, insecurities, and worries for people she cares about, which really brings her alive on the page.
Vanda Symon works the threads through this book beautifully, ties up the ends with aplomb and takes you on the most entertainling journey along the way. Containment has bags of content for the lover of the police procedural, but also enough clues, red herrings and suspicious characters for even the biggest Agatha Christie fan too. Something about the setting in New Zealand gives it a "small town" atmosphere with its feeling of simmering passions and violence just under the surface that makes it deliciously compulsive. I am hooked!
Although this is book three in the Sam Shephard series, it works well as a stand-alone so you do not need to have read the previous books. But it does drop some tantalising little snippets about Sam's past and I will be reading both of her previous outings before too long - in fact, Overkill and The Ringmaster are already on my shelves waiting to be consumed while I type. I can't wait!
Containment is available to buy now from your favourite book retailer.
Thank you to Vanda Symon and Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in return for an honest review, and to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
From the cover of the book:
Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016.
In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers.
Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.