One of the great things about reading a lot of crime fiction is the chance it gives you to ‘meet’ new authors. It might not be good for the TBR, but reading the work of new and new-to-you authors allows the genre to grow and evolve. And trying the work of different authors can keep reading fresh. That’s why I’m always delighted to take part in the New (To Me, Anyway) Authors meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By the way, if you’re not already following Mysteries in Paradise, you want to. It’s a treasure trove of reviews and news about crime fiction.
I’m spoilt for choice this quarter, because I’ve been privileged to serve on the panel for the Ngaio Marsh Best First Novel Award. The winner will be announced later this month. But I can say now that there are some very worthy contenders. Let me tell you a bit about them and their work.
Finn Bell is a full-time writer, who lives in the far south part of New Zealand’s South Island. And that’s where his novel, Dead Lemons, takes place. In it, a man (also named Finn Bell) takes a cottage in a remote small town at the southernmost point of South Island. There, he’s hoping to put his life back together after the breakup of his marriage, and a terrible accident that’s left him in a wheelchair. Then, he discovers that his cottage was the scene of two disappearances. That’s enough to make him curious, but then, some very dangerous things begin to happen, and it’s soon clear that someone doesn’t want Bell to ask any questions or dig into this long-buried case. Little by little, Bell learns that the town might very well be hiding some very dark truths.
Want to know more about Finn Bell? His site is right here.
Want to know more about Dead Lemons? Check it out here.
Jonothan Cullinane has a widely-varied background, beginning with his work as a roughneck on oil rigs. He’s also worked as a proofreader, a bartender, and in the New Zealand film industry. He currently works for the postal service.
Cullinane’s first novel, Red Herring, taps his working-class background. It takes place in 1951 Auckland, where waterfront workers and the government are on a collision course. It’s also a time of fanatic anti-communism, and that plays its role, too. In the novel, PI Johnny Molloy is hired to find a man named O’Phelan. When he discovers that his quarry died in an overboard incident, it starts to seem very much like a murder. But by now, Molloy is drawn into a web of political intrigue, dangerous conspiracies, and ‘backroom deals’ that put his life in serious danger. Along the way, he meets journalist Caitlin O’Carolan, who’s trying to make her way in what’s very much a man’s world. Together, they uncover some very dangerous secrets.
Want to know more about Jonothan Cullinane? His Facebook page is right here.
Want to know more about Red Herring? It’s right here.
Gordon Ell has a strong background in photography and nature. He’s a former president of Forest and Bird, and a member of the New Zealand Conservation Authority.
The Ice Shroud, Ell’s first novel, reflects his knowledge and understanding of the land. In it, Detective Sergeant (DS) Malcolm Buchan is called in when the body of a woman is discovered frozen in the ice of a river near the ski resort town of Queenstown, South Island. The woman is identified as Edie Longstreet, and Buchan and his team begin to trace her last days and weeks. It turns out that more than one person could have had a reason to kill the victim. As if the case weren’t complicated enough, Buchan is personally involved. So, it’s going to be difficult for him to do his job in an objective way.
Want to know more about Gordon Ell? There’s a bit right here.
Want to know more about The Ice Shroud? It’s here.
Simon Wyatt is a former police detective who was on the force for ten years. Serious illness interrupted his career, but he’s resumed work. He currently works with New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Wyatt uses his extensive knowledge of crime and its investigation in The Student Body. In this police procedural novel, fifteen-year-old Natasha Johnson is found strangled during a school camp being held near Auckland. Newly-promoted Detective Sergeant (DS) Nick Knight is assigned to the case, and he and his team begin their investigation. As you can imagine, they pursue to main sets of leads: the victim’s family, and the other people at the camp. But as the case goes on, the team finds that things are more complex than they seem.
Want to know more about Simon Wyatt? His Facebook page is here.
Want to know more about The Student Body? Check it out right here.
Sue Younger is an award-winning television documentary maker. After twenty years in that business, she decided to follow her dream of writing fiction, and earned a Masters in Creative Writing. She’s written several prize-winning short stories, as well as her debut novel, Days Are Like Grass.
Days Are Like Grass is the story of pediatric surgeon Claire Bowerman, who moves back to her home town of Auckland to be with her fiancé, Yossi, who wants to move there. She enjoys her work at Starship hospital, but she has very painful memories of life in Auckland. They’re all brought to the surface when one of her cases draws a lot of media attention. The press dredges up her past, which she has determined to forget. Now she has to face it, and so do her fifteen-year-old daughter Roimata ‘Roi’ and Yossi.
Want to know more about Sue Younger? Her website is here.
Want to know more about Days Are Like Grass? Check it out here.
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Goldenhorse’s Run Run Run.