by VANDA SYMON
Published on June 30th 2018 by Orenda Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
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 as it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide, and has to face the realization 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. She must find the murderer, and clear her name.
In a place where everyone is a familiar face, one crime sows doubts and gossip thrives. The fun thing about small town crimes is how it suddenly turns every congenial action into something sinister. Overkill by Vanda Symon is set in a rural community in New Zealand where a young woman is murdered. The beginning of the book immediately sets the cogs in motion. There is no time to recognize anything else but the urgency and resigned grief of the crime.
The author’s writing is fast-paced with humor peppering every few pages; Overkill isn’t heavy with the usual police procedures, rather it focuses on the mystery at hand. Our main character, Constable Sam Shepard is called to investigate the crime, however, she is soon suspended from the job because of her connection to the crime. That is, the bereaved husband being her ex-lover. Ouch.
That was an interesting subplot to have because you read Sam’s conflict with her feelings for Lockie and his deceased wife. Still, being suspended and her emotions doesn’t stop Sam from investigating. Not even when she ends up covered in cow manure. Yes, that is a real scene!
While I enjoyed reading Overkill, my issue with the book is that I found the character to be a little too juvenile at times. Also, the pacing was inconsistent. But with the mystery unfurling and the drama between characters, and the humor, many will find this an engrossing read.
I’d like to thank Anne Cater and Orenda Publishing for having me on the blog tour for Overkill. All opinions remain my own.