Look at You, You’re a Pageant*

ray-berardOne of the real pleasures I’ve enjoyed this year has been the opportunity to serve on the panel for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. As New Zealand’s highest awards for crime fiction, the Ngaio Awards are prestigious, and I was privileged to be a part of it.

Because of that great experience, I’ve decided to share a bit about Ray Berard, winner of this year’s inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel and this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel. And I’m delighted to contribute this brief glimpse to the terrific New (to me, anyway) Authors meme, hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. You’ll want that blog on your blog roll if you’re at all interested in crime fiction. It’s a great resource for reviews and news.

Originally from Canada, Berard took his degree from McGill University. Since he emigrated to New Zealand, he’s been a member of the New Zealand authors association, and now makes his home in Christchurch.

Inside the Black Horse, Berard’s first novel, was inspired by his experiences supervising TAB (Totalisator Agencyray-berard_cover_final-940x1417
Board) off-course betting outlets for the New Zealand Racing Board. The focus of the action is The Black Horse, a small-town North Island pub that also offers TAB services. The pub is owned and run by a recently-widowed Māori, Toni Bourke, who has two children and doing her best to make a good life for them. One night, Pio Morgan robs the place. He’s desperate because he’s in heavy debt to the leader of a local gang, and his life is in danger if he doesn’t come up with the money. So he’s targeted The Black Horse. The robbery and the violence that come with it touch of a chain reaction of events that impact several people who are in the pub at the time. We see the consequences for Pio, Toni, Pio’s brother Kincaid ‘King,’ PI Brian Duncan, and others. We also see how their lives end up intersecting.

No word yet (at least I haven’t heard anything) on whether Berard will do a follow-up with some of these characters, but it would certainly be interesting if he does.

Want to know a bit more about Ray Berard?  It’s right here.

Or, if you prefer, you can visit his Facebook page or Twitter account.

Want to know more about Inside the Black Horse? Check it out here.

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Split Enz’ I Got You.


Filed under Ray Berard

17 responses to “Look at You, You’re a Pageant*

  1. Aha! See, you can’t make me add this one to my TBR!! (‘Cos I already added it when you announced it won the prize… 😉 )

  2. Congratulations, Margot, for getting to serve on this prestigious panel. I’m sure it was a very rewarding experience. Inside the Black Horse sounds like an excellent read, so I’m adding it to my TBR list (which unfortunately is growing so long it may reach around the world soon).

  3. Keishon

    Sounds interesting, Margot and thanks for spotlighting his book. I’ll look out for it.

  4. Margot, thanks for the introduction to writer Ray Berard and his debut novel. I’m always inspired and encouraged by newly published writers.

  5. Col

    I have this on the device – time to bump it a bit closer to the top of the pile!

  6. On the TBR Margot! Thanks for sharing and what a great experience to be on the panel 🙂

  7. Oh that sounds good, the horse-racing world is always a great setting for a crime novel. And well-done you – a well-deserved honour to be asked to be a judge, and I’m sure you gave it your all and enjoyed the experience.

    • Thank you, Moira! I really did have a lovely experience, and I learned a lot. Oh, and I read some great Kiwi crime fiction, too. I do recommend this novel. I should be fair and say it’s not really about horse racing, other than the betting side of it, a bit. But the characters are really well drawn, I think. And the story is well told.

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