The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This is the second book in the Sam Shepard series, the previous being the wonderful OverKill. I enjoyed that book a lot but liked this one much more. Sam has moved with her friend to Dunedin and is a detective with the local force. She had a run in with her new boss before she started and he is determined to make her suffer. But, she has the backing from others in the team, he is one of those people who always needs someone to bully.

Sam is such a likeable character, I think one of the reasons I like her so much is because she is completely normal. She drinks, sometimes heavily, eats the wrong food, makes mistakes, has amusing dreams and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She has a great relationship with her father but a difficult one with her mother. Every time her mother featured with her ‘frosty nostril’ it made me smile. I could picture the scene so clearly.

Even though the main investigation concerns the murder of a university student, there is also a very sad investigation that involves a circus and a series of threats to Sam. But none of them dominate the story. It is Sam’s personality, the way she approaches each of the cases and her new position that the novel focuses on. And it works brilliantly. I hope that the rest of the series will be published by Orenda, I’m hooked. 


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