When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
February this year I read Containment, the third installment of the Sam Shephard series written by Vanda Symon. I hadn’t yet read the first two in the series but I fell in love with both Vanda’s writing and her protagonist Sam, so of course I had to go back to the beginning. So here we are, on the fourth day of #Orentober with a review of Overkill and here’s a spoiler…. I loved it!
Overkill was published by Orenda Books on the 6th of September 2018 and is available in paperback, Audible and electronic formats. For a physical copy, you can pop over here and order, or for an ebook version you can buy directly from the Orenda Books estore here!
Firstly, I’m going to tell you about our justice seeking, ballsy female protagonist Samantha Shephard who i’d already been introduced via Containment, I knew that she was a great character already, but in Overkill you get to see Sam not only as a force to be reckoned with, but also a flawed character who is full of heart and personality – she will make you smile with her sense of humour, but she will also make you sympathise with her when the mask slips away showing vulnerable Sam. When a death occurs in the small tight knit community of Mataura, Sam is both professionally and personally drawn into the case, one where she fully commits herself to sporting her crime fighting cape and her heart on her sleeve.
The prologue of Overkill was everything that everyone had said it would be, as well as every chapter of this crime fiction novel, it packed one hell of a punch. The kaleidoscope of emotions that I felt just from the first 9 pages set the mood and expectation for the rest of the book, I wasn’t dissapointed at all and with every chapter I slipped further into a tense, brilliantly written police procedural that was both captivating and atmospheric, one that kept me guessing! The storyline was filled with suspense and I became suspicious of *everyone*, doesn’t that sound like the perfect escapist read? The plot is paced well, it’s not forced but rather flows really easily from one chapter to the next with a setting where everyone knows everyone’s business, you’ll feel like you’ve become an extra in the team trying to uncover the truth behind the young mothers death. With an array of characters, your level of wariness peaks with every chapter – grab your red string and cork board!
The unravelling of Overkill‘s plotline was brilliantly written and superbly executed, with a great balance of character development (it is the first in series after all) and plot drive, you’ll be hooked, up until 2am needed to read one more chapter – believe me, this was me! If you haven’t dived into this New Zealand crime series yet, then now is the time – it’s Orentober after all!
So make yourself a frilly tea, (my new favourite saying after ‘hurricane arsehole’ – if you know, you know!) grab yourself a copy of Overkill and be transported to New Zealand in a deathly mystery that will keep you guessing!
If you’ve already read Overkill be sure to share your reviews, pictures of you reading and tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #Orentober. Also, make sure to follow @VandaSymon on Twitter, she’s Twitter – active and just the best!
Until next time (tomorrow),