Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Containment by Vanda Symon, the third book in the series featuring police detective Sam Shephard. Do be sure to check out the post by my tour buddy, Suze at Suze Reviews.
Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Toursfor inviting me to take part and to Orenda Books for my review copy of Containment
About the Book
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.
Format: ebook (320 pages) Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 5th January 2020 Genre: Crime
Find Containment on Goodreads
It seems a quirk of fate to be writing a review of a book entitled Containment given current events around the world, especially since here in the UK we seem to have moved beyond containment of COVID-19. On the other hand, what better way to distract yourself than to immerse yourself in a skilfully plotted and absorbing story.
Containment is the third outing for New Zealand police constable and rookie detective, Sam Shephard. I haven’t read either of the previous books – Overkill and The Ringmaster – but this certainly didn’t affect my enjoyment of Containment. I loved getting to know Sam and her colleagues, such as her mentor, Malcolm Smith (aka ‘Smithy’). Becoming acquainted with her arrogant and misogynist boss, DI Johns (aka ‘Dickhead’ or ‘Shark Face Super Grump’) was less of a pleasure although it was satisfying when his attempts to belittle her by giving her the grotty jobs don’t always work out as planned. I also liked Sam’s housemate and good friend, Maggie, always ready with a glass of wine or some wise advice (if only Sam would take it).
Sam herself is independent, diligent and has a keen sense of justice which means she’s not averse to breaking the rules where necessary. And, although she may be only five feet tall, she’s tough. As she remarks at one point, “You messed with the wrong girl“. Her struggles to be taken seriously in her professional life are not the only challenges she faces. There are ‘now or never moments’ in her personal life as well, some requiring tough decisions.
Containment has all the features you look for in a great police procedural: details of securing crime scenes, gathering evidence, establishing time of death, tracking down witnesses and interviewing suspects. There are a couple of grisly scenes, such as a post mortem, for those that enjoy that sort of thing, and intriguing use of the science of decomposition. (Sorry if you’re eating while reading this.) The New Zealand setting comes across strongly in the descriptions of landscape and the book introduced me to some new terms such as ‘crib’ and ‘bach’. (In case you’re wondering, a bach – or crib if you’re from New Zealand’s South Island – is a small, usually very modest holiday home or beach house.)
The short chapters help the story zip along and, as Sam and the team close in on the culprit, the tension really builds, especially as it turns out the police are not the only people looking for answers – and they don’t have to follow the rules. I really enjoyed Containment and I’m looking forward to Sam’s next outing and, in particular, how she gets on with her new colleague!
I received a review copy courtesy of Orenda Books.
In three words: Pacy, assured, absorbing
Try something similar: Payback (DI Charley Mann #1) by R.C. Bridgestock
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.