#BlogTour #BookReview The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon
Series: Sam Shephard 2
Available: 25th April 2019
Genre: Crime / Fiction
HUGE thanks to Anne Cater of #Randomthingstours for my spot on this blogtour as well as Karen from OrendaBooks and the Author Vanda Symon for my copy of this brilliant book! I absolutely LOVED it, easily in my top 5 this year!
Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand… Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…
Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…
Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer, Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling series.
When I picked this book up I had no idea that it was the second to a series, and by halfway I had figured it out and gone hunting to buy the first, for a few reasons!
First, I hate to read things out of order, I find it really stressful to realise that I have. Secondly, I was LOVING the story so much! In fact, I loved it enough that I had to finish the book before starting book one, and I then reread this one. Yup. Loved it enough to read it again a couple of days after finishing it haha. Thirdly… The Characters do mention situations from the previous book, not in detail, and not enough to spoil much of anything for the first book, but just enough to have me intrigued and needing to know what everyone was talking about.
But this is for the Ringmaster, so I suppose I should explain some particular whys for THAT story alone.
I adore Sam Shephard. I love the fact that she isn’t already a shining detective, in fact, she is trying to BE. A detective and is damned good at it, and yet there are hurdles. Superiors who do not want her to have the credit or see her rise, and this made the story that bit more gripping. I loved seeing the interactions and hurdles she went over in trying to learn and progress. I also loved the fact that this shows a very different outlook on how things can be in life, it shows the way some have to struggle to be noticed not because they lack talent, but because others don’t want that talent to be seen brighter than their own. A sad truth, but done very well. For myself, this honest look at human nature made the story feel that much more realistic.
The fact that this then fed into the scenarios created by the storyline and murders along the way was very very cleverly done. The situations and conversations that happened because of jealousy etc made me laugh, either because of the way Sam replied, or just situations generally. Sam faces a lot of attitude about a woman being a good murder detective or general dislike of her as a person, but her reactions there are what make the story. She is SO funny! I giggled my way through the book, much to the confusion of my boyfriend… I ended up explaining why a murder story had me in hysterics a few times.
The who did it element, the crime story? Wow. Cleverly interlinked with everything in the book! I loved the fact that a few traditional preconceptions and prejudices were seen in this, the stereotypical attitudes of “blame the travellers” and “blame the circus” for the crimes happening locally. The Characters ways of dealing with these, with the social tensions and juggling to do their respective jobs whilst navigating potential arguments and avoid giving offence made it all very plausible. I think the Author has done a wonderful job of giving a very real view of life in the forces! We see the less glamorous and less publicised steps to soling a crime, as well as the tensions and disagreements that go alongside the role.
Overall, an brilliantly written book that is fun, gripping and keeps you guessing! Absolutely a story I will return to AGAIN in the near future!
About The Author:
Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.