Better the Blood

Michael Bennett

Better the Blood
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Better the Blood

Michael Bennett

A DETECTIVE IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH

Hana Westerman is a tenacious Ma ori 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 secret room. As Hana and her team work to track down the killer, other deaths lead her to think that they are searching for New Zealand’s first serial killer.

A KILLER IN SEARCH OF RETRIBUTION

With little to go on, Hana must use all her experience as a police officer to try and find a motive to these apparently unrelated murders. What she eventually discovers is a link to an historic crime that leads back to the brutal bloody colonisation of New Zealand.

A CLASH BETWEEN CULTURE AND DUTY

When the pursuit becomes frighteningly personal, Hana realises that her heritage and knowledge are their only keys to finding the killer.

THE PAST NEVER TRULY STAYS BURIED

But as the murders continue, it seems that the killer’s agenda of revenge may include Hana - and her family …

TO THE DARK SIDE OF PARADISE.

‘Better the Blood touches on themes that have become increasingly urgent in recent years including the far-reaching impacts of colonialism and the often uneasy integration of identity and heritage into modern multicultural society. A tensely plotted, gritty crime novel that has the courage to force us all to rethink our relationship with the past’ Vaseem Khan

‘As page-turning as it is eye-opening. An excitingly fresh perspective upon a world you thought you knew’ Ambrose Parry

Review

More than 150 years ago, on the top of Maunga Whakairoiro – or as the colonisers called it, Mount Suffolk – a picture is taken of a Māori chief, hanging from a tree, six victorious soldiers in the foreground. Despite all the inconsistent efforts of reconciliation in the intervening decades, there’s still injustice all over New Zealand. Nobody knows this better than Hana Westerman, a Māori cop with her own bitter history on that very same mountain, and who’s working the darkest case of her life. There’s a serial killer in Auckland, and they have Hana in their sights, sending her footage of crime scenes, putting her on the trail of a series of deaths that seem to otherwise have no links to each other. But Hana is tenacious, and she is determined. As the case spirals deeper into the past, she’s also the only one who can do anything about it.

Better the Blood is a superb police procedural, one that delivers a pitch-perfect crime novel that never ceases to be entertaining, all while challenging its readers to consider how they feel about death, revenge and the notion of bad guys versus good guys in fiction and real life. The footnote translations of Māori words lend the book authenticity, depth and immersion in a culture just across the Tasman Sea. Michael Bennett is in full control, effortlessly juggling these enthralling characters, gripping story, and the ever-shrinking distance between past and present when it comes to acts that must never be forgotten. Readers, let yourself hear what he has to tell you.

Fiona Hardy is from Readings Doncaster

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