Blog Tour | Book Review: Overkill by Vanda Symon (PC Sam Shephard #1)

Overkill Cover

I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Overkill, the first book in a crime series set in New Zealand.


When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.

To find the murderer … and clear her name.

A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.


As soon as you read the first page, you’re hooked! Overkill has a killer opening, emphasis on ‘killer’ – the prologue to this novel ensures it grabs your full attention, it emotionally involves you from the offset. It also excites you from the offset because it sets the scene for an interesting story, and you immediately find out just how engaging Symon’s writing is.

Let’s talk setting, I haven’t read a novel set in New Zealand before, let alone visited the country, but after finishing this novel, I feel like it’s somewhere I’ve been, such is Symon’s ability to place you in the location. Overkill encompasses all that you want from novels set in small towns, that almost claustrophobic feeling of everyone knowing everyone, the vivid details that will attack the senses, and I’m not just talking about the visuals – I promise that will make more sense once you’ve read this novel! And as with small towns, you have your tight-knit communities, but it also means rumours spread, and you find out how you can be surrounded by so many people, yet feel so alone. 

Overkill is full of great characterisation, all the characters felt authentic. Sam, particularly, was a fantastic character, exactly what you want in a main protagonist – likeable, determined, someone you can get behind and root for. What I really liked was how real Sam felt, especially when you see her relationship with her best friend, Maggie – you can just picture it, the banter, the support, the genuine friendship.

The idea that a police officer has been taken off a case, but continues to investigate it, is not a new one. Yet, this novel felt entirely original. Partly due to the location, but what Symon did is take something we’ve seen before and make it her own, with the direction of the plot, and the characters, this novel has a fresh feel to it; different from the norm, in a way that makes you want more. Also, Overkill is such a fitting title. The originality also came from Symon’s writing style, there’s something so natural about it, nothing feels forced, it just works! A fresh, new [to me], and exciting voice in crime fiction!

I’m really excited for the future of this series, and looking forward to reading the next book

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to Orenda Books for providing me a copy of this book & Anne Cater (Random Things Tours) for inviting me to participate in the blog tour*


Vanda Symon

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.



Overkill Blog Tour Poster

9 thoughts on “Blog Tour | Book Review: Overkill by Vanda Symon (PC Sam Shephard #1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s