Vanda Symon

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Vanda Symon is a crime writer and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the Chair of the Otago Southland Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. Born in Tauranga, New Zealand in 1969, Symon grew up there and in Hawke’s Bay (the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island). She calls herself “the product of a life-long love affair with books”, having developed a strong love of reading at an early age. After high school, Symon headed to Dunedin (the major city in the bottom half of New Zealand’s South Island) to study pharmacy at the University of Otago – later returning to Hawke’s Bay to practice as a pharmacist in the community and at the local hospice until she started a family in 2000. It was while she was bringing up her children that she began writing, working on what would later become her debut novel, Overkill (2007), which introduced sassy young policewoman Sam Shephard to the crime fiction world. Like most New Zealand crime authors, Symon has not yet received the attention she deserves for her writing but her books have received good reviews, and it will be interesting to watch her audience grow as the series continues, and more crime fiction fans are exposed to her writing. Bestselling international author Kate Mosse has said: “Vanda Symon’s fast paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up on the sofa reading.” The New Zealand webpage Crimewatch says, “Symon is part of a new wave of Kiwi crime writers, and The Ringmaster (2008) shows that we should feel no cultural cringe when devouring local stories in this most thrilling of genres. Of the many admirable aspects of Symon’s storytelling, chief is her creation of Sam Shephard, a protagonist you want to follow; headstrong, passionate, and flawed… Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout… Another impressive facet; from the opening Botanic Gardens murder, to Highlanders games, and student life, Symon brings Dunedin alive.” (Excerpted from Crimewatch)