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'A compelling, atmospheric page turner with an authentic insight into Māori culture' Val McDermid
A DETECTIVE IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH. A KILLER IN SEARCH OF RETRIBUTION. A CLASH BETWEEN CULTURE AND DUTY. THE PAST NEVER TRULY STAYS BURIED. WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE OF PARADISE.
Detective Senior Sergeant Hanna Westerman is a tenacious Māori detective juggling single motherhood and the pressures of her career in Auckland’s Central Investigation Branch. When she’s led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man hanging in a hidden room. With little to go on, Hana knows one thing: the killer is sending her a message.
As a Māori officer, there has always been a clash between duty and culture for Hana, but it is something that she’s found a way to live with. Until now. When more murders follow, Hana realises that her heritage and past are the keys to finding the perpetrator.
Especially when the killer's agenda of revenge may include Hana – and her family . . .
‘As page-turning as it is eye-opening’ Ambrose Parry
‘A remarkable new detective’ Daily Mail
‘[A] highly addictive read’ My Weekly
‘So chilling’ Crime Monthly
‘Opens a unique window onto a fascinating Antipodean society as only world-class crime fiction can’ Deon Meyer
Shortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Finalist for Best First Novel and Best Novel at the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards Longlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Shortlisted for Audio Book of the Year at the Capital Crime Fingerprint Awards
Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter, director and author. His first book, a non-fiction work telling the true story of New Zealand’s worst miscarriage of justice, In Dark Places, won Best Non-Fiction Book at the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Michael's second book, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas,is a time-travel graphic novel co-authored with Ant Sang.
Better the Blood, the first Hana Westerman thriller, was shortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction/Ockham New Zealand Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Audio Book of the Year at the Capital Crime Fingerprint Awards. It was also longlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Debut Dagger and was a finalist for both Best First Novel and Best Novel at the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards.
Michael's short and feature films have won awards internationally and have screened at numerous festivals, including Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, New York, London and Melbourne. Michael is the 2020 recipient of the Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award, in recognition of members of the Māori filmmaking community who have made high-level contributions to screen storytelling.
He lives in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand), with his partner Jane, and children Tīhema, Māhina and Matariki.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (August 3, 2022)
Length: 336 pages
Raves and Reviews
‘Stunning. Better the Blood is a tremendous debut, and Hana Westerman, the Maori detective at the center of the story, instantly becomes one of the great characters in crime fiction on any continent. This novel has it all: a gripping mystery, complex and memorable characters, and timely social and cultural commentary. Don’t miss it’
– David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts