Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel
Seven Jaded Kiwis off to be judged for the Ngaio Marsh Wards for Best Crime Novel and Best First Novel in New Zealand. I am on the very long list, now to get on the short list.
Given the author’s background, it’s fitting that this debut crime novel is a rollicking, madcap tale full of colourful characters. Spill grew up in 1960-1970s New Zealand and curated exhibitions at the National Gallery in Wellington before heading overseas, where he’s worked as a bodyguard and is now chief investigator for a government agency in Florida.
It’s summer in Auckland, 1976. Marijuana is in short supply. Two couples – a physicist and gynaecologist, and a violinist and actress – meet in a pub, help a Maori leader evade police, and find themselves caught up in the growing war on drugs and organised crime. It’s as crazy and fun as it sounds. Spill delivers the kind of crime tale that would appeal to fans of caper stories like Oceans’ Eleven and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Dark crime mixed with humour, packed with craziness yet still flows and fits together. This is an enjoyable if slightly over-the-top treat that never takes itself too seriously, and is very Kiwi.