The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.
The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation. And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect
You just know sometimes that when you pick up a book by a certain author, that it is going to be fabulous and Vanda Symons is one of those writers for me. Every novel she delivers to eager readers is pitch perfect and guaranteed to be full of wonderful character development and a story that will thrill as well as entertain.
In Bound book four in the Sam Shepherd Series she has delivered a story that I found thrilling and yet at the same time moving. Sometimes continuing drama can become bogged down, but this series remains a fresh and addictive read.
It’s best asset is Sam Shephard herself, determined, flawed and honest. She is a breath of fresh air, as far removed from the traditional lead in such books, grumpy, badly dressed. worn down male detectives as you can dream of. In each instalment we get to know her better and this is definitely the case in Bound, where she battles a bullying boss and a complicated love life. Like many women Sam wants a career and to do so she has to navigate complex emotions and personal relationships every single day, to remain a functioning adult and this is why she is so loved by me. She is a complex, emotional human being and we can all identify with the challenges she faces. In this latest instalment Vanda Symon really put her and us through the emotional ringer and I know this sounds wrong, but her pain, her confusion, her distress, made this book a richer, more involving read. Her beloved dad is ill, she’s not sure what she wants from her current relationship and then a new dilemma throws her into a whole new level of soul searching and we ride those ups and downs with her. Yet it never distracts Sam from her determination to deliver justice for those victims that cross her path, in fact her career if effectively keeping her sane.
The story is equally addictive and that is because the writer not only knows that to keep a character fresh, she needs to develop them, but to keep readers hooked the stories have to be theatrical, with moments of humour and electrifying points within the narrative that have you glued to the edge of your seat. Bound, abounds with them all. We are swept across New Zealand as Sam seeks to tie together the treads of a murder investigation, that seems to be spiralling out of control, moments of humour help to lessen the pressure in our chests as we worry Sam is pushing herself towards ever greater danger. One minute we are holding on the edge of our chair as she is hurtled throw traffic in pursuit of a suspect, the next moment we are cheering her on as she gives her boss some overdue attitude and then holding her hand as she faces her father’s terminal diagnosis. We embrace the quiet moments, the conversations with family and friends and then are swept like adrenalin junkies on a roller coaster ride as Vanda Symons delivers the killer, sweeter and more delicious because it is Sam’s keen intelligence and analytical mind that captures the criminal.
From the mind of a first rate writer, comes a character and story with a flourish of magnificence, a large portion of humanity and oodles of excitement.
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.
You can follow the author on Twitter @vandasymon