19 February 2011

Review: BOUND, Vanda Symon

Publisher: Penguin Books 2011
ISBN 978-0-14-356527-7
314 pages
Source: I bought it. (from Wheeler Books)

Publisher's blurb
A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be.

My take:
This is #4 in the Sam Shephard series.
The story opens with a prologue, a woman bound to a chair, looking at the body of her husband, the top of his head blown off, waiting for her teenage son to arrive home.

The investigation of this horrific murder falls to D.I. Johns and his team. Sam Shephard, recently promoted to Detective, is the liaison with the wife and son of the victim.
The local newspaper instantly puts pressure on the police task force to find the perpetrators of this "Killer Home Invasion."  The description the victim's wife gives seems to tally with the idea of some sort of revenge killing, but what had John Henderson been involved in to become this sort of target?

The plot of BOUND seems to change tack at least twice. The original murder is followed by two more deaths, one of which is a murder. There is a range of candidates for the second murder, and just when the first appears to be solved, Sam throws a spanner in the works.

While I'm sure the author Vanda Symon has tried to make it possible for a new reader to meet Sam Shephard for the first time in BOUND, I find it hard to assess whether that would be realistic, as I've read them all. Elements of Sam's backstory flooded back to me as I read BOUND.
Be that as it may, if BOUND is your first Sam Shephard novel, I'm sure you will be looking for the earlier novels.
What BOUND does demonstrate is that Vanda Symon is a force to be reckoned with in Australasian, if not world, crime fiction. She is a skilled story teller, has managed the art of developing threads, at the same time as weaving peronal elements from Sam's life into the novel. And at the end, we are assured there will be another in this series - Sam has unfinished business.

My rating: 4.8

Vanda Symon's website
BOUND No. 1 Bestseller!
Of News and Reviews

CONTAINMENT was shortlisted for the inaugural Ngaio Marsh crime fiction award in 2010.
I'm adding BOUND to my list for the Australasian novels in 2011 Global Reading Challenge


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review. I'm so eager to read Bound. Well, I was anyway, and now I'm more eager than ever.

Bernadette said...

Sounds very good Kerrie. Might a fellow book club member borrow your copy at some stage?

Kerrie said...

Sure Bernadette - perhaps will send it off to Dorte after that

kathy d. said...

And Vanda Symon has a great sense of humor.

I love that the main character has her own mind and lots of nerve and bravado.

I read "Containment," as a way to get over a brutal book experience, and not only did it do that, but I was enjoying the characters, smiling and actually laughing.

So I look forward to reading "Bound," when I can get it from my library, which will take awhile.

Dorte H said...

Vanda recommended reading the series in order so I have decided to do that. And after having read the first, I think I can see why that is best.

Kath said...

What's all this 'Australasian' business? Vanda's books are set firmly in New Zealand. Please don't confuse us with that lot 'Across the Ditch'!
Wonderful books, eagerly anticipated even if the plots sometimes seem a little far-fetched for mainly law-abiding NZ.


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