Lead Review

  • Book: Bound
  • Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Author: Vanda Symon

Review Author: tripfiction



Bound is the fourth book in Vanda Symon’s Sam Shephard police procedural series. Sam has now been promoted to Detective and has relocated to Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand.

A leading businessman is brutally murdered in front of his wife – who is left gagged and bound to a chair left facing her husband’s body. Their teenage son discovers the scene when he returns home. It turns out that the businessman had some pretty unsavoury dealings and connections, as well as his conventional (and just legal) activities. The murder has all the indications of a gangland execution. The police come across pieces of DNA evidence incriminating two leading gang members, and it seems like a cut and dried case. But is it? Both of the accused very strongly deny any involvement – and Sam begins to believe them (much to the annoyance of her police colleagues).

Two dramatic events happen – and throw the investigation wide open. One is another murder and one is a killing by the police. Sam goes off piste in her efforts to track down what really happened in the original murder. The story builds to a quite startling conclusion. Sam is stressed, and not just by the case and her colleagues’ reaction to her theories – her father is in the process of dying from cancer, and the two themes overlap and entwine.

Bound, In TripFiction terms, is very firmly set in Dunedin. Vanda lives in the city, and clearly has a great affection for it. She describes different areas of the place and the running routes that Sam takes to help her de-stress. The population of Dunedin is only 130,000 – so living there is very manageable. We can imagine the surprise and fear that must have been generated by a gangland murder such as is described in the book.

Bound is very definitely recommended – as are the other three books in the series if you have not yet read them.

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

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First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

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Entries close 6th November 2021