Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Bound, the next book in the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon. I love this series and believe me when I say that this one is an absolute cracker. My thanks to publisher Orenda Books for the advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
When the official investigation into the murder of a respectable local businessman fails to add up, and personal problems start to play havoc with her state of mind, New Zealand’s favourite young detective Sam Shephard turns vigilante…
The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.
The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect
Well this series just keeps going from strength to strength. Just when you think that Vanda Symon cannot possibly make life any harder for poor Sam Shephard, she goes and delivers Bound. Now this book starts in the usual, high stakes style, this time as we meet the victims of a deadly home invasion. The tension is high from the off and the scene is set for a case that is going to test Sam, and the strength of her relationships and position within the Dunedin Police Force. And let’s face it, she. doesn’t exactly have management on her side as it is, so when she dares to cast doubt over a seemingly open and shut case, well, it was always going to be fireworks, wasn’t it?
As cases go, this one is a doozy. Home invasion, home owner killed, no clear motive as theft does not seem to be a factor … Well, no clear motive until the police start looking into the victim’s past that is. In league with some very suspect characters, and with colleagues who take a lot of warming up to as well, there really are no end of suspects and despite all evidence pointing one way, I really did find my suspicions moving between people as the story developed. I loved the fact that this book doesn’t take you down the obvious route – it challenges what you think you know and makes you really think about how your react in the wake of an accusation being made, especially if the accused are of dubious character themselves. Prepare to be as surprised as Sam is herself when she begins to that there is far more to the murder than first thought. The story is packed with tension, emotion and conflict and it blends perfectly, keeping me turning the pages with unwavering interest and enthusiasm.
What I love about these books is that fact that as much as there is a major crime at the heart of the book, Vanda Symon really engages readers in the lives of her characters, particularly Sam and her immediate circle of friends and family. This book sees Sam in a very vulnerable position emotionally, trying hard to reconcile her fathers declining health with a need to focus on the investigation. And as if that is not enough, it is watching how the author expands upon the inner conflict that Sam faces when it comes to the suspects innocence or guilt. She wants them to be guilty. The Police need it, for reasons that will be apparent if you have read the previous book. But want and need don’t make it the truth and it is good to see that Sam’s innate conscience and need to do right by all, no matter who they are, winning against overwhelming pressure. to let things drop. I love Sam’s humour and her strict moral code – it makes her the kind of character you love to spend time with and this book was no exception.
I don’t want to say too much more other than I am excited to see where this series will lead next. Sam has reached a crux in her relationships, both with partner, Paul, and with her mother, and whatever she path she takes next I think the road may be a trifle bumpy. This has been one of my favourite books in the series as it highlights the sensitivity and emotion of Vanda Symon’s writing, as well as managing to instill humour, tension and excitement into every single chapter. You get such a feeling for the setting, the varied landscapes of the world that Sam and co inhabit, from remote, exclusive homes, to beach front properties that readers of Containment may well recognise, and I really felt like I was there in the heart of of the action with Sam. Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.
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Books in the Sam Shephard series: