The #Bookvent Calendar 2022 – Day Eight


#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022

My day eight #bookvent selection is by an author I’ve only discovered over the past couple of years but who has quickly become a firm favourite with their New Zealand set series. This book was a stand alone, one which is both gripping and, at times, skin crawling, as it follows the fates and fortunes of three very different characters. Dark, atmospheric, troubling and completely addictive, this was a very easy Red Hot Read award for me. My day eight pick is …

Bookvent Day Eight:
Faceless by Vanda Symon

Faceless by Vanda Symon

A stressed, middle-aged man picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime, unaware that a homeless man – her only real friend – will do anything to find her. A shocking, race-against-the-clock, standalone thriller from the Queen of New Zealand Crime.

Worn down by a job he hates, and a stressful family life, middle-aged, middle-class Bradley picks up a teenage escort and commits an unspeakable crime. Now she’s tied up in his warehouse, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Max is homeless, eating from rubbish bins, sleeping rough and barely existing – known for cadging a cigarette from anyone passing, and occasionally even the footpath. Nobody really sees Max, but he has one friend, and she’s gone missing.

In order to find her, Max is going to have to call on some people from his past, and reopen wounds that have remained unhealed for a very long time, and the clock is ticking…

Hard-hitting, fast-paced and immensely thought-provoking, Faceless – the startling new standalone thriller from New Zealand’s ‘Queen of Crime’ – will leave you breathless.


Where to even begin? Triggering a whole gamut of emotions, anger, fear, compassion and empathy, feelings that at time are almost visceral, this book in not only thought provoking, but it is laden with almost unrelenting tension and is so perfectly paced that I just ate it up. It’s very different to Vanda Symon’s Sam Shepherd series, but equally brilliant. A tale of three very different souls – street artist Billy, city worker, Bradley Fordyce and rough sleeper, Max – this book is truly powerful stuff, certain scenes feeling like a blow to your gut. Their lives intersect in ways that none of the could have expected but that will indelibly change them all. There are times when this book really made my skin crawl, certain scenes where the action may be so simple in execution but that serves to create a sense of such violation that it made me feel angry. Literally seething. This is a story of obsession, anger and depression. Of family estrangement, of mental health crises, and of unforgiving standards of morality. It is a story that speaks to the seemingly invisible nature of the homeless community, of the police’s unwillingness to listen to them, much less care if one should go missing. It’s about prejudice, entitlement and anger and it is a book that not only made me think but that left a long lasting impression that still sits with me now, some ten months later.

Intense, dark, and twisted, this is a fast and pulse-raising read that absolutely gripped me as a reader. The violence is always kept one step removed from us as readers, but is no less powerful in impact because of it. The ending is fast paced, an edge of the seat, nail biting burst of action, enforced by skilful, understated and yet undeniably powerful and unforgettable writing. I love/loathed every page.

You can read my full review here.


Happy #bookvent reading all


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