Hi and welcome to another fabulous Orenda Books series in the Spotlight: the Sam Shephard series by Vanda Symon!
The series so far include two books published by Orenda, Overkill and The Ringmaster, and a third one, Containment, will be out soon (eBook in January, paperback in March) and I simply couldn’t resist including the cover here, because, I’m sure you’ll all agree, it’s another stunning design!
I’ve reviewed the first books before, so I’ll include those reviews below, but the essence of this series is that it’s jam-packed with suspense and humour and action, a truly entertaining combination that works really well and I’ve found myself practically inhaling these books. They are quick reads, packing a lot of punch in a fairly limited number of pages, and their main character is sublime. Sam is a feisty, sassy, sarcastic but very competent (professionally anyway) police officer, tiny in stature, but with a mouth big enough to compensate her lack of height. The cases she works are always very interesting, never run-of-the-mill, although they may seem so at first, and I love the New Zealand setting.
In Overkill we meet Sam as she tries to solve the murder on Gabriella, Sam’s ex boyfriend’s wife / mother of his daughter. The story takes a flying start with Gaby being murdered. Although the killer makes it look like suicide, Sam soon figures out that things don’t add up and Gaby didn’t kill herself, but how can she find the killer when she herself becomes a suspect? When she conducts her own off the record investigation, while not afraid to kick some brass butt on the way and often with a hint of sarcasm, she realises that this murder is only the tip of the iceberg, and this case runs a hell of a lot deeper than anyone ever suspected. And I loved that! I loved where this novel took me, the journey Vanda led me on, starting out with a murder in a rather sleepy little farmers’ town and ending up… well not where I thought I’d end up, that’s for sure! Start to finish this is a suspenseful thriller with a very entertaining lead character.
In The Ringmaster we get to know Sam a little better. After all the shit that happened to Sam in Overkill, I was happy to see that in The Ringmaster, she’s finding her way in Dunedin. Sam’s best friend Maggie is there, and they’re both living with Maggie’s aunt and uncle.
There’s also the ruggedly handsome Ben Affleck lookalike who’s been hanging around. The observant reader might notice a certain spring in Sam’s step when he’s near, a certain gleam in her eyes, but Sam would not be Sam if she didn’t fight that (she’s too stubborn for her own good, that girl!)
Unfortunately for Sam (but fortunately for us, because we like our rides to be wild and stormy, do we not), life is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. Remember that brass butt she kicked? Is now her superior officer and direct boss. Yeah, that goes about as well as you’d think. Naturally, Sam would not be Sam if she took it all lying down, oh no, she might need a minute to compose herself, but the girl has spirit!
Then there’s of course the case at hand. Or rather, the cases at hand. Shit hits the fan, and, you know, it being a circus with animals, among which an elephant, there is quite a lot of shit to hit the fan… A very though scene in there as well, where Vanda deftly reduced me to a weeping mess.
A suspenseful, hilarious read, and highly recommended!
Before we call it a day, let’s have quick look at the blurb of Containment:
Dunedin’s favourite young police officer 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 for one can’t wait to be reunited with Sam! Have you read any of these, or are they on your TBR? Let me know below! Don’t have them yet but dying to read them? Find them in Orenda eBookstore!