Back in the old days when I smoked, I used to tear off the end of the cigarettes in order to get my full-scale nicotine hit faster. It was no use dragging in a breath when they were full-length – the smoke would dissipate to almost nothing by the time it reached my lips. Although, every time I was asked, I laboriously pointed out the perfectly acceptable explanation for me doing so, people around me (usually also smoking) still used to give me funny looks. Of course, I could have fallen into step and smoked the damn things whole, but I’m stubborn and I would also m
Bretta Ariel works a job that few others have the stomach for—delving into the memories of deceased victims, searching for the scattered clues to identify their killers. A task that is as disrespected as it is dangerous.
But when a botched execution proves an innocent man was put to death, Bretta seizes the opportunity to prove her value. After all, the Bureau of Imprint Investigations has more than its reputation on the line.
Thousands of convicted offenders are seeking a judgement to render their initial verdicts unsafe. If Bretta can’t identify the correct killer before the clock counts down, the streets will seethe with men and women hungry to kill again.
Without even a firm identity for the murdered victim in the botched case, can Bretta solve the puzzle that those before her got so wrong?
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Detective Ngaire Blakes is back on the case when a skeletonized murder victim is discovered thirty-six years after his death. While a fierce and glorious fire lights up the Port Hills of Christchurch, Ngaire fights to piece together a crime that took place during the Springbok Tours of 1981. A period that pitted father against son, town against city, and showed the police using batons to beat back protesters on the evening news, night after night.
When the victim is identified as Sam Andie, a young African American man transplanted from the States to New Zealand by his family, Ngaire must investigate whether racial motives were behind the death. In line with evidence from the forensic pathologist, a police baton could easily have been the murder weapon. Or was his death connected to Sam’s girlfriend—a young woman convicted of a savage double homicide in the same week that Sam disappeared?
With files missing, memories hazy, and a strident false confession muddying the waters, Ngaire must sift through the detritus if she hopes to find the truth hiding deep beneath the lies.
- 09 May 2017
Today my left elbow started to send shooting pains up toward my wrist, followed shortly afterward by numbness and tingling. I shook it back to life, got back to work, then half an hour later it did the same thing again. This got me to thinking, partly because I’ve got a word count to reach today, so obviously I follow up any possible excuse for procrastination, but also because it seems there was a tipping point back in my early thirties when my body turned on me. I’m not saying that up until that point, everything was plain sailing. There were headaches, ha
- 26 Apr 2017
For the last few months, I’ve been writing like a demon as part of the Phoenix Prime group to put together a body of work to pummel PhD students into submission with. In many ways this is working, in sheer volume if not in sales volume, but it’s meant that for a very long time my arse has been in contact with my couch. Back when I had a day job (oh, regular paycheque, I miss you so) I may not have been the fittest member of the office but I did have to walk farther to my work than five metres down the hall. During the day, the copious volume of things I printed did