Dunedin’s favourite young police DC Sam Shephard is drawn into a perplexing investigation when a series of shipping containers wash up on a sleepy New Zealand beach, and a spate of unexplained deaths ensues…
Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.
Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.
What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…
As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…
I read this New Zealand noir read when Storm Dennis had hit the UK earlier in the year, it was at that time I was like ‘nope’ and went on a little holiday to visit Sam, away from the chilling winds and side ways rain. Okay, I didn’t *really* take a trip to New Zealand, but I did take a journey through the pages of Containment, it was the exact type of escapism that was required and I was really blue when my visit came to an end.
*Incoming throwback post*
Let’s talk about our wonderful protagonist Sam Shepherd first, never have I been so happy to finally meet a character – because I am terrible and have yet to read the first two in the series (Containment is a great stand alone, but don’t do a me, start at the beginning) but i’ll be rectifying this – maybe with a #SymonSunday for Orentober? Anyway, let’s get back to Sam, she’s an absolute pleasure of a literary companion. Not only is she smart, hilarious and independent, too much so maybe, but she’s also flawed and filled with empathy, DC Shephard isn’t a DC Hardnut but rather a kind individual who is both aware of her feelings, and not. She isn’t perfect and that is what I adore. Vanda has created a character who is identifiable, who is difficult not to love and one whose voice you can vividly hear in your head as you read.
So, that prologue *wow*, I was instantly coaxed into a chaotic scene, one that you know isn’t going to be easy going and plain sailing. A beach, the wreckage of washed ashore cargo and a stampede of onlookers fighting over the swept up loots – sprinkle in a bit of gasping violence and my heart belonged to this criminal tale. I sped through the pages of Containment while adrenaline surged, utterly gripped and struggling to not read ‘one more chapter’ when I had things to do, it was difficult. The ripples of the initial incident is the basis of the book, a brilliant police procedural that has layers of research smoothed in between the fictional storylines – especially that research surrounding the events of a death! We all know that authors research a number of things for their books but i’m always in awe of their dedication, Vanda’s dedication to the authenticity of her procedural plotline made me super happy!
The whole of Containment was enjoyably addictive with its taut chapters and the inclusion of Sam’s complicated personal life, I highly (shout from the roof tops highly) recommend this book AND the series because Vanda’s writing is just so fantastically on point. I also now need to try a Toffee Pop!
*Update* Vanda kindly gifted me a pack of Toffee Pops in March and I can conclude that they are absolutely delicious, the perfect coupling to a great book and cup of tea.
Don’t you just love a throwback review that makes you want to read the book all over again? Well this is how I feel now that I’m finally completely up to date with the adventures of Sam Shepherd, it’s really quite the series, have you read it?! You really must, especially with a new Sam Shepherd read on the horizon!
Until next time,