Did You Ever Have to Finally Decide?*

If you’re kind enough to read this blog regularly, then you’ll know that I’ve been privileged to serve on the panel for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel. This year’s finalists for that prestigious award have been selected, and I’m excited and pleased to share the results with you:


The Sound of Her Voice – Nathan Blackwell  

The blurb:

For Detective Matt Buchanan, the world is a pretty sick place. He has probably been in the job too long, for one thing. And then there’s 14-year-old Samantha Coates, and the other unsolved murder cases. Those innocent girls he just can’t get out of his head. When Buchanan pursues some fresh leads, it soon becomes clear he’s on the trail of something big. As he pieces the horrific crimes together, Buchanan finds the very foundations of everything he once believed in start to crumble. He’s forced across that grey line that separates right and wrong – into places so dark, even he might not make it back.


Marlborough Man – Alan Carter

The blurb:

Sergeant Nick Chester is in hiding after an undercover job gone wrong. If the rivers aren’t flooded and the land hasn’t slipped, the Marlborough Sounds can be paradise. Unless a ruthless man with a grudge is coming for you, in which case remote beauty has its own kind of danger. While Nick waits for his past to catch up with him, he and his colleague Constable Latifa Rapata spend their days patrolling for speeding motorists and trigger-happy hunters. But there’s a predator at large, snatching children off the streets and it’s not long before the press give him a name – the Pied Piper … [a] story about being the hunter and the hunted, and about what happens when evil takes hold of a small town.


A Killer Harvest – Paul Cleave

The Blurb:

A new thriller from the Edgar-nominated author of Trust No One and Joe Victim about a blind teenager who receives a corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories from their previous owner—a homicide detective who was also his father.

Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It’s taken loved ones from him, it’s robbed him of his eyesight, and it’s the reason why his father is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman.

Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: an operation that will allow him to see the world through his father’s eyes. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life. What exactly was his dad up to in his role as a police officer?

There are consequences to the secret life his father was living, including the wrath of a man hell bent on killing, a man who is drawing closer and closer to Joshua.

Joshua soon discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from…


The Hidden Room – Stella Duffy

The blurb:

Life is good for Laurie and Martha. They have three great kids, a much-loved home in the countryside, and after years of struggle, Laurie’s career as an architect is taking off at last. Everything’s perfect.

Except, it isn’t.

Someone is about to walk into their happy family and tear it apart.

Laurie has been hiding from him for years. The question is, now that he’s found her, can she keep her family safe? And just how far will she go to protect them?


Tess – Kirsten McDougall

The blurb:

In the silence she could hear the oncoming hum, like a large flock approaching. She didn’t want to hear his story; she’d had enough of them. Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.


See You in September – Charity Norman

The blurb:

It was supposed to be a short trip – a break in New Zealand before her best friend’s wedding. But when Cassy waved goodbye to her parents, they never dreamed that it would be years before they’d see her again.

Having broken up with her boyfriend, Cassy accepts an invitation to stay in an idyllic farming collective. Overcome by the peace and beauty of the valley and swept up in the charisma of Justin, the community’s leader, Cassy becomes convinced that she has to stay.

As Cassy becomes more and more entrenched in the group’s rituals and beliefs, her frantic parents fight to bring her home – before Justin’s prophesied Last Day can come to pass.


The Ngaio Marsh Awards will be presented on 1 September – watch this space!


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from John Sebastian’s Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind.


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22 responses to “Did You Ever Have to Finally Decide?*

  1. This prize always has such a list of appealing books and I love that one of my favourite bloggers is involved in the decision making – This year is no different and I’d happily read them – can’t wait to see who the winner is.

  2. The books all sound interesting, and some about dark subjects too. It will be interesting.

  3. Hoping I can enter again next year. Was weird sitting it out this year, have gotten so used to being part of the whole experience.
    We have two to the finalists books in our bookshop. 🙂

    • I hope you’ll be able to enter next year, too, Cat. It is a great experience, and, for me, it’s a privilege to be involved. I’m glad you’ve got two of the finalist books in your shop; I hope they do well.

  4. Alex

    Now that’s going to be a hard choice to choose which will win out of such a great bunch of titles. All of which I’ve added to my Wish List! Some seriously good reading, I suspect, Margot.

  5. Great choices! I named Paul Cleeve’s “A Killer Harvest” my most memorable book in 2017 on my blog Avonna Loves Genres. I still recommend it to everyone.

  6. J.P. Choquette

    Ooooh, that’d be hard to pick! I think “See You in September,” sounds particularly interesting. I’m also drawn to “A Killer Harvest,” even though I usually don’t enjoy crime novels at all. It’s a really interesting concept though. I don’t envy you your task, Margot! 🙂

  7. Good luck! Lots of interesting stories here. 🙂

  8. These all sound like good reads. And I have to thank you for posting the blurbs; I need examples of good ones for when I write my own 😀

    • Blurbs can be tricky, can’t they, Julie? I’m always glad to see a good one, too, as it helps me focus on what I want for mine. As to these books, if you try them, I hope you’ll enjoy them.

  9. I like the sound of See You in September and Tess best from the blurbs. Will you be spotlighting them individually again this year?

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