Bound (Detective Sam Shephard) by Vanda Symon

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Bound (Detective Sam Shephard) by Vanda Symon

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's the fourth book in the series but reads perfectly well as a stand alone - as I've just proved - and you've got three earlier books to pick up in this New Zealand-based police procedural.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: March 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1913193522

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Dunedin was shocked when it heard of the murder of a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman out at Seacliff. His wife had been bound and gagged and placed so that she was forced to watch the murder, with the scene being discovered by their son, Declan, when he returned home from an evening out. The subsequent investigation would prove that John Henderson had been involved in some activities which might have been considered shady and certainly questionable if not illegal. His company, Eros Global, manufactured and marketed vitamin-type supplements and, well, sexual enhancers, that kind of thing, as Henderson's employee, Blair Harvey-Boyd explained.

Detective Sam Shephard wondered if the two men whom Jill Henderson described had spotted the trappings of wealth at the family home, but couldn't see that anything had been stolen. She's doing her best to keep her mind on the investigation but she's distracted by the presence of her boyfriend, Detective Paul Frost, and worried about her father whose illness is taking more from him each day. He'll soon be moved to a hospice. She's grateful for the help of Sheryl Shephard, her sister-in-law and a nurse, who's a steadying presence and something of a buffer between Sam and her mother.

Jill Henderson's descriptions lead the police to Gideon Powell and Jacob Sandhurst as suspects for the murder. Sam's boss, D I Johns, is delighted to have solid evidence against the people suspected of the murder of Detective David Reihana and the wounding of Detective Malcolm 'Smithy' Smith and isn't inclined to search any further. Sam - adept at putting his back up - isn't completely convinced that the truth has been told.

When I decided to read this book, I wasn't aware that it was the fourth book in a series - and I'm glad that I didn't know as I might have decided against it and that would have been my loss. Instead, I've read a superb book and now know that there are three earlier books to search out. That's a real treat. I liked Sam Shephard: she's feisty and to the point and very determined to do what she sees as right, no matter the consequences. It's something that you hope you could be, if push came to shove. Her fellow police officers are a mixed and engaging bunch, ranging from the supportive boyfriend to the grumpy (but with good reason) Smithy. DI Johns is there so that we can all think of unpleasant words to describe him. Every police department needs (and probably has) one of them.

I was really impressed by the plot. The solution does seem obvious from very early on and you could almost forgive DI Johns for his certainty even if you don't feel inclined to. When it comes, the real solution, came completely out of left field and blew me away. It's a cracker and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We're looking forward to the next book in the series.

For more New Zealand crime, we can recommend Fallout (Tito Ihaka) by Paul Thomas and The Last Time We Spoke by Fiona Sussman.

Vanda Symon's Detective Sam Shephard novels in chronological order

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