Expectant by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

‘New Zealand’s modern Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid

The first new Sam Shephard mystery in twelve years

The entire series has been shortlisted for or won New Zealand’s prestigious NgaioMarsh Award, with Bound shortlisted for a Barry Award, and Overkill shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

A pregnant Sam Shephard investigates the murder of an expectant mother in Dunedin, as it becomes clear that the killer is ready to strike again … Queen of New Zealand Crime, Vanda Symon, returns with a shocking, twisty new Sam Shephard thriller…

Book blurb

The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave. Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy. For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that no one is safe and the clock is ticking…

My thoughts

I don’t think I have ever been so moved by the opening of a book as I was with the prologue of Expectant the horrific attack on a pregnant woman and the courage and compassion shown by a young lad who discovers her completely floored me. I was instantly engrossed in the story. I wanted to know who could commit such a loathsome act, why this horrendous thing happened and whether Sam and her colleagues would find out who was responsible.

The story moved on to the investigation. The details shocked and dismayed the team who realise just how urgent it is to find the perpetrator as they don’t know what the motive might be it is all to possible that there could be further attacks. Tensions run high as they the team look for a motive and anything that could help them find who did this.

Sam who is herself pregnant and soon to go on maternity leave has been given desk duties. She isn’t happy about it and is determined to help with the case. As more information is gathered she forms a theory about what has driven the attacker to commit this crime. Following her instincts Sam looks into past crimes involving mothers and children. It is a heartbreaking task for Sam but as she continues her efforts lead her to a crucial link.

As they race to find the perpetrator Sam finds herself in a dire situation and confronted with an appalling choice!

Vanda Symon has written a tense, stunning story which not only delivers a compelling and gripping narrative it explores through Sam Shephard, a terrific character, the heartbreaking circumstances that may compel someone to commit such an odious crime.

This is a book which delivers on every aspect – character, place and storyline. I was completely immersed in this compelling story and would highly recommend it.

Thanks: Many thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for an invitation to this tremendous BlogTour for Expectant by Vanda Symon and to Orenda Books, the publisher, for an eARC of the book.


Lot’s of amazing bloggers and IG-ers on this BlogTour well worth checking out.


Published: Orenda Books (16 Feb 2023)

Buy: Orenda shop | Your local bookshop | Your library | Bookshop.org (affiliate link)


Vanda Symon lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. As well as being a crime writer, she has a PhD in science communication and is a researcher at the Centre for Pacific Health at the University of Otago. Overkill was shortlisted for the 2019 CWA John Creasey Debut Dagger Award and she is a four-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel for her critically acclaimed Sam Shephard series. The fourth in the series, Bound, was shortlisted for a Barry Award. Vanda produces and hosts Write On, a monthly radio show focusing on the world of books at Otago Access Radio. When she isn’t working or writing, Vanda can be found in the garden, or on the business end of a fencing foil.

Follow Vanda on Twitter @vandasymon | Instagram @vandasymon | Facebook @vandasymonauthor or visit her website, www.vandasymon.com.

Other titles by Vanda Symon available from Orenda Books

The Sam Shephard Series

Overkill |The Ringmaster | Containment |Bound | Expectant

Standalone books


Other books

Dark Deeds Down Under: An Anthology

3 Comments on “Expectant by Vanda Symon #bookreview #blogtour @vandasymon @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

  1. Pingback: #WWWWednesday 15 February 2023 – Love Books, Read Books


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