A pregnant woman murdered, the killer ready to strike again, the lead detective expecting her first baby: Expectant by Vanda Symon #bookreview #Expectant

A pregnant Sam Shephard investigates the murder of an expectant mother in Dunedin, as it becomes clear that the killer is ready to strike again … Queen of New Zealand Crime, Vanda Symon, returns with a shocking, twisty new Sam Shephard thriller…
The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.
Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.
For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…


Hi and welcome to my review of Expectant!

Expectant is the fifth instalment in the Sam Shephard series and while I’m sure you can read it as a standalone and enjoy it, I’m equally sure you’ll enjoy it even more with prior knowledge. I’ve been with Sam from the start and it’s astonishing how much she’s grown. Regardless of personal growth, she’s still her impatient, sarcastic, sassy self and I love her for it.

Sam has been put through the ringer before, but, seriously, I had no idea Vanda Symon could be this cruel, having her heavily pregnant protagonist work a murder/kidnapping case, and not just any old murder/kidnapping case but one in which the expectant mother is killed during a C-section in an alley and the baby is kidnapped. It’s dramatic! It’s gruesome! It’s vicious! I loved it! 

The stakes have never been this high, and I gobbled up all the tension and suspense. Despite a throbbing headache, I didn’t want to stop reading and I even caught myself trying to figure out what was going on and what possible motive the killer/kidnapper might have. Did I manage to figure it out? No, but despite not being obvious, it all made perfect sense, and I loved how it all came together in the end. Expectant is most definitely very cleverly plotted and if you manage to cotton on right from the start, you need to look into a career in policing, stat!

Expectant is another fantastic addition to a great series. It’s a thrilling and tense police procedural that grabs its reader by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s easily one of the more emotive instalments so far, due to the subject matter. And it’s quite simply impossible to not care about Sam, or this case, I was completely invested from the get-go. If you enjoy police procedurals and/or strong, determined and witty female lead characters with a strong moral compass, Expectant should be at the top of your wish list.

Expectant is out on 16 February in digital formats and paperback. Pre-order directly from Orenda Books here.

Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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