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The Ringmaster

Published Date: 5th October 2018

Available in

$0

EBook
9781912374663
£5.99
18 February 2018
Paperback
9781912374656
£8.99
18 April 2018

Description

The heart-stoppingly tense next instalment in the richly atmospheric, bestselling Sam Shephard series … for fans of The Dry

 

Death is stalking the southern 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.

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 ‘Vanda Symon’s fast-paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip-roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa reading’ Kate Mosse

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‘Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout’ Crimewatch

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‘A plot that grabs the reader’s attention with a heart-stopping opening and doesn’t let go’ Sunday Times Crime Club

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‘Powerful, cooly assured, and an absolute belter of a read’ Liz Robinson, LoveReading

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‘It is Symon’s copper Sam, self-deprecating and very human, who represents the writer’s real achievement’ Barry Forshaw, The Guardian

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This one’s a cracker’ Liam McIlvanney

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‘One of the best in this genre that I’ve read in years’ Trena Marshall, Waikato Times

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‘A rollicking good read’ Kim Knight, Sunday Star Times

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‘Lively evocation of small-town life, with a plot that grabs the reader’s attention with a heart-stopping opening and doesn’t let go’ The Times

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‘Antipodean-set crime is riding high thanks to the likes of Jane Harper and fans of The Dry will also like Vanda Symons. The Ringmaster is the second book in a series featuring rookie detective Sam Shephard. But with a possible serial killer roaming round Dunedin, will Sam be able to prove herself to her higher-ups catch the wrong ‘un?’ The Ringmaster was selected as one of Ten Books by Brilliant Women around the World. Red Magazine Online

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‘Welcome return of perky New Zealand policewoman Sam Shephard, transplanted from her tiny rural community to the bottom rung of the detective ladder in Dunedin. A circus is in town, but is it linked to a series of unsolved murders? Sam detects with good humour, dogged determination and the odd flash of brilliance that might even be enough to impress her frosty nemesis, DI Johns’ The Sunday Times Crime Club

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‘A crime series you can really get your armchair sleuthing teeth into, Detective Sam Shepherd is back in her typical headstrong (oh so fabulous) style. I have quite simply adored the first two books in this award winning New Zealand based series, which starts with ‘Overkill’ and is followed by ‘The Ringmaster’ … Vanda Symon has the wonderful knack of conjuring Sam into being before my very eyes. I can hear her talking as plain as plain can be, her voice magically transfers from the page, straight into my head … The author allows you to be several steps ahead of Sam, sometimes it is a case of waiting for her to catch up, which I found to be exceedingly entertaining! ‘The Ringmaster’ is an absolute beauty of a read, well-written, absorbing, and extremely enjoyable’ Liz Robinson, LoveReading

 

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Author

Vanda Symon (born 1969) 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 hit 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.

Online Reviews

‘I adored this book so much – it made me laugh, cry, grimace and cheer. The Ringmaster is the second book in this crime fiction series set in New Zealand. The writing is fabulous and, as with the previous book, Overkill, I was drawn straight into the story by the chilling prologue … Vanda Symon writes with a distinctive style, with acute observations, vivid imagery, sharp witty dialogue and plenty of humour. I actually laughed all the way through the book – other than one scene that made me cry, but more on that shortly. Some crime novels could be set anywhere in the world, but The Ringmaster definitely brings the New Zealand setting to life. I found myself Googling locations, towns and even plant life, so that I could picture them as I read onwards … In summary, The Ringmaster wowed me with its twisty journey, weaving various threads together, right through the shocking, and surprising, ending. This gripping series is a definite ‘must read’ for me – and for anyone else who loves entertaining, humorous crime fiction with plenty of heart’ Off-the-Shelf Books

 

‘The more I read about Sam the more I want to know, I love that she is still with her friend Maggie and that previous events haven’t hindered her determination to become a detective even though she has been given a hard time by her DCI. A chance to prove herself comes up when she finds herself thrust into a homicide investigation and into the spotlight. I love that it’s not all about the murder or the killer, it’s about Sam and how she is managing, we see another side to her with a potential love interest and I hope we get to see that develop in future books. Knowing how the story ends I’m fascinated to know where Sam will go from here and if she has it any easier trying to nice up the ranks. A series I would be happy to just keep on reading. The Ringmaster is fast paced with short chapters so you just can’t put it down. An attention grabbing deadly read’ Not another Book Blogger

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‘Sam is a very clever, brave and determined character, I adored her. The Ringmaster is a brilliantly written, easy to read story… The outcome to the case was so unexpected. Shocking. Jaw dropping. I could not believe it at all. After all that time. Very clever. Sneaky. Just wow.. You won’t be able to guess it at all. I didn’t. Still thinking about it now… Very impressed’ Gemmas Book Reviews

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The Ringmaster was well put together, with enough of the detective language to make it sound authentic and well researched. I enjoyed the characters. Sam Shephard is a wise cracking, tough female lead. Her relationship with her boss is under strain and forms an interesting side plot. Her partner, Smithy, is a likeable family man. Their professional relationship was a nice touch in the book. Paul Frost is a potential love interest. I liked them as a prospective couple but found their to-and-fro banter became a little teenagery for me. Overall, it is a well written book that made me want to rush through it. It’s tense and at times dark, with one of the most heart-breaking scenes I’ve ever read. I’m very much looking forward to going back and reading OverkillMacs Book Review

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‘I loved how each of these gave a greater insight into the character that the author has created. A perfect sense of place transported me to Dunedin, New Zealand and certainly adds the truth to the statement about readers being able to travel the world without leaving their homes. I’ve never been there but could picture every little nuance of this city … The Ringmasterweaves each of the plots together alongside a fascinating exploration of character to provide the reader with a jaw dropping finale. It kept me guessing all the way through. I loved this, the second in the Sam Shephard series and I cannot wait to see where Vanda Symon takes us next with her’ Chapter in my Life

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‘The story is told in first person by the detective in training Sam Shephard, who seems to have a quite peculiar character but I think she is tenacious and wants to discover the truth, even if she has to sacrifice her own free time or her life. This is a police procedural book, but there are a few plots related on the story that makes the book more complex and full; but don’t expect a perfect “detective”, because Sam is human and she is not perfect, but after this case she will have all my respects and I can’t wait to read another of her cases! If you love a good investigation with interesting characters and being transported to the beautiful New Zealand, this is your next book, I am sure you’ll love it!’ Varietats

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Vanda writes a guest post about ‘when life imitates art …’ as part of the blog tour for The Ringmaster. My Reading Corner

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‘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 … 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’ Stephs Book Blog

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The Ringmasteris a really engaging police procedural. The murder investigation initially seemed to be making little progress but the story zipped along and I suddenly became aware that I had missed loads of clues about where the plot was heading. No better feeling for a reader than getting caught up in a story and just letting events unfold. I have been struggling to find reading time lately but I got completely caught up in The Ringmaster. It was inhaled in two sittings and I immediately began to look forward to the next!’ Grab this Book

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‘There are plenty of twists and turns and short chapters keep the pace moving.  Sam faces tough decisions in dramatic and traumatic circumstances which keeps the writing taut and makes for tense reading … Overall, although I missed the small town setting a bit, it was great to see Sam Shepherd in a new challenge. There’s an interesting development at the end of The Ringmaster so I can’t wait to read book 3!’ Joy Kluver

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‘This makes the plot more complex, as Sam has to unpick the various strands of the investigation and re-knit them to get at the whole picture. It makes The Ringmastermore of a police procedural than a thriller, without sacrificing the fast-pace and page-turning quality that made Overkillsuch an enjoyable read! … Overall The Ringmasteris a satisfyingly meaty police procedural, a taut and atmospheric page-turner with a fantastic female lead. Perfect for fans of Jane Harper, this is a brilliant addition to an already accomplished series and I cannot wait for Vanda’s next book so that I can see what Sam gets embroiled in next!’

 The Shelf of Unread Books

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‘I enjoyed the characters. Sam Shephard is a wise cracking, tough female lead. Her relationship with her boss is under strain and forms an interesting side plot. Her partner, Smithy, is a likeable family man. Their professional relationship was a nice touch in the book. Paul Frost is a potential love interest. I liked them as a prospective couple! Overall, it is a well written book that made me want to rush through it. It’s tense and at times dark, with one of the most heart-breaking scenes I’ve ever read. I’m very much looking forward to going back and reading Overkill’ Macs Book Reviews

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Vanda writes a guest post about what she does when she isn’t writing as part of the blog tour for The Ringmaster. Everywhere and Nowhere

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‘Sam is an excellent character, really well developed and whilst she isn’t one of my favourites, I think she is a bit more stroppy rather than sassy for me, I do think that the author has done an excellent job of creating a character I could really relate too!  I love that she is a strong female lead and can really hold her own. The book starts off straight away and I was thrown right in to the heart of the story.  I thought the pace was excellent and it was an easy one to read, I think that he author has a lovely writing style.  It was the perfect book for me to read on my lunches at work and thoroughly enjoyed escaping in the book. Its is four stars from me for this one, I really enjoyed the story and I loved the short chapters, and I have to say that the cover for this one is gorgeous!!’ Donnas Book Blog

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‘The ending was very shocking and completely unexpected! I had lots of theories about who the murderer was and what was happening but none of them proved to be corrected. I’m not sure I would have guessed even if I tried which is always a sign of a great readOver the Rainbow Book Blog

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‘I think the scenes involving the circus show Sam’s many faceted personality; tenacious, caring, aggressive and compassionate. It also shows that being a police officer is hard, dirty work. I don’t want to say too much about the plot and the investigation because I hate spoilers in reviews, but what I will say is, it is well-plotted, clever and satisfying’ Beverley Has Read

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‘Symon didn’t labour the point, but provided both sides of the story and the poignancy of the relationship between Sam and Cassie the elephant was an absolute highlight of the novel, the vivid descriptions created wonderful cinematic scenes that were utterly heartrending. The murder investigation pulled us one way and then the other, suspects came and went and the drama fuelled final pages did not disappoint. I have a feeling that Detective Constable Sam Shephard will be destined for bigger and greater things and I for one cannot wait’ My Bookish Blogspot

Reviews