#RandomThingsTours Review – #Containment

Vanda Symon Containment


by Vanda Symon

Many thanks to Anne for inviting me to take part in this Random Things Tour and to Orenda Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in order to review.

  • Format Read  – E-copy
  • How did I get this book  – Sent by publisher via tour organiser
  • Date Read –  February 13th –
  • Genre – Crime / Mystery / Thriller
  • Publisher – Orenda Books


Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

My thoughts

The first thing I should say will probably be on benefit to some of you, but is also a bit of a confession for me. I haven’t read book 1 or 2 in this series, which is something I almost never do. However, this book works perfectly as a standalone. I felt like I hadn’t really missed anything from the previous books, although it did make me want to go back and read them in the future.

We are introduced early on to Sam Shephard who remains our protagonist throughout. The book focuses on her struggle to balance getting ahead in her job with her personal life. While the title of the book, Containment, may set off a few alarm bells with all the panic over Covid-19, I can reassure you that this is not a book about a deadly virus (again).

While the basics of the plot are quite simple – who killed the diver – the author has written a fantastic story. Sam and her colleagues are investigating an incredibly intricate case, that leads us down many paths, some of which lead nowhere. It was brilliantly intriguing and I was glued to it. I couldn’t put it down. This is one time where I didn’t see the end coming and it took my breath away.

Sam Shephard herself is an incredible character and I loved her inner turmoil both in a professional and personal capacity. There was something quite real about her indecisiveness and I thought that it made her one of the most “real” characters I have read for a long time. The other characters which include her best friends and flatmate, her work colleagues and her love interest are equally entertaining.

In conclusion, if you are a fan of crime fiction this is definitely one for you. Brilliant characters and a sublime plot make this one hard to miss. 5 big fat glowing stars!

About the author

Vanda Symon 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 climbed to 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.

vanda symon
Vanda Symon

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