Ihaka’s back

Cover of Death on DemandIt’s been a decade-long wait, but rogue detective Tito Ihaka is back solving murders and really annoying his superiors in Death on demand, Paul Thomas‘s latest novel.

An award-winning, internationally published New Zealand author whose work has been translated into several languages, Thomas is a journalist and has written several sports biographies, however he’s best known for the three popular thrillers that make up the Ihaka trilogy.

Out of condition, insubordinate in the extreme but unstoppable in his pursuit of the bad guys, Ihaka is a great character, and Thomas’s ear for New Zealand speech, his humour and his deft plots make these books a pleasure to wolf down in one sitting.

When hCover of The Ihaka Trilogye appeared at Writers and Readers Week in the 2012 International Arts Festival, the brochure said Thomas had “dragged local murder mysteries into modernity”. Fresh from his appearance with other New Zealand crime writers in Wellington, he will be appearing at Tommy Chang’s in Lyttelton on Wednesday 21st March from 5.30 – 7pm as part of New Zealand Book Month.

Don’t miss out – book now!

P.S. And there’s another treat in store: Devilish Mary & the Holy Rollers will provide the music.

The hidden heroes of New Zealand fiction

CoverWe all know about our world beating authors: Keri Hulme, Margaret Mahy, Janet Frame, Lloyd Jones and Lynley Dodd – they’ve all received the thumbs up outside New Zealand. Mr Hairy Maclary is even a favourite of no less a personage than Camilla. But have you heard of these successes?

Crime writer Paul Cleave. According to the Crimewatch website:

His debut The Cleaner was the biggest-selling crime/thriller novel for Amazon Germany in 2007, and on its release last year the German translation of this third thriller, Cemetery Lake, jumped straight to the number two spot overall, just behind Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, and ahead of the Stieg Larsson trilogy.

Further on the crime theme, there’s Neil Cross.

CoverHe was a lead writer for Spooks and has an award winning British TV series to his name. Like others on this list he has another nationality too, being born in the UK. I wondered if I could rightly claim him as a New Zealander, but there are many authors out there who were born in one country and now reside in another. It seems reasonable to me for both countries to claim them.

While we are appropriating multi-nationality authors there’s the award-winning Stella Duffy who spent her childhood in New Zealand, but now resides in the UK. Playwright, novelist and performer, she was longlisted for the 2008 Orange Prize, for her last novel, The Room of Lost Things.

Then there’s Eleanor Catton whose novel The Rehearsal won the UK Society of Authors’ Betty Trask Award, and was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Linda Olsson, a Swedish born New Zealander and author of Let me sing you gentle songs had her novel published overseas as Astrid and Veronika. A New York Times review praised the “simplicity and grace” of her writing and the “natural and vivid, utterly convincing” voices of her characters.

And what about our unheralded Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance author Natalie Anderson? She’s a USA Today bestselling author most of us have never heard of. She may not be likely to get a review in the Guardian, but shes a bestseller all the same.

Why not give one of them a go? There’s bound to be something here that you could enjoy.