It’s an absolute pleasure today to be sharing my review for The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon as part of the blog tour. Thanks as always to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for the opportunity.
About the book
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.
The first thing I have to mention is the stunning cover for this book, I have absolutely fallen in love with it and I know if I saw this in a book shop I would instantly pick it up.
The Ringmaster is book two in the Sam Shepard series and I didn’t realise when I started reading it but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this book though and it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. There’s enough information to keep you up to date but not too much as to spoil it if you wanted to go and read book one, Overkill. I know I certainly will be.
When a young student is found murdered in Dunedin it seems like a random murder, that is until trainee detective Sam Shepard looks closer at some other unsolved murders in neighbouring towns and she finds a connection.
I really liked Sam, I took to her straight away and it’s clear from the beginning she’s a good trainee detective, she’s determined, strong but has a softer side to her which made her feel real. She doesn’t have things easy though, it’s clear she’s going to really have to prove herself as a good detective and that’s not going to be easy in Dunedin with a bullying boss who really got my heckles up at times.
Sam has moved to Dunedin for reasons that must be explained in book one along with her flat mate Maggie. She’s another character I really liked, she has Sams back and is a good friend. Maggie’s studying at the local university and the chemistry between the two is strong and the banter they have also made me laugh.
The murder element of this story had me totally intrigued and baffled. There’s quite a few red herrings thrown in which kept me on my toes. I really felt Sams frustrations as she was sidelined and desperate to get her hands dirty, as any good detective would, all she wanted was to find a killer and get justice.
The Ringmaster is quite a quick read but oh boy is it packed full to the brim. It’s quite fast paced and is a fabulous mixture of mystery and suspense along with great characters, it’s so easy to just get totally absorbed and lost in the story.
I was so disappointed when I got to the last page, I could have done with it being another couple of hundred pages longer, I was enjoying it so much but I’ll just have to go and read Overkill now and hope and pray we don’t have too long to wait until Sam Shepard Book three is out.
So I’ll definitely be recommending The Ringmaster, a fast paced and utterly gripping read that I just absolutely loved every part of.
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