Sur­ren­der to the plea­sure of a top Kiwi read

BOOK RE­VIEW: by Donna Malane

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON HOR­RELL

It’s clear that au­thor Donna Malane’s writ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is paying div­i­dends.

From the word go, Sur­ren­der is a com­pelling and gritty tale of crime and mys­tery.

I thor­oughly en­joyed it and as much as it’s a cliche, the book was hard to put down.

The book fol­lows miss­ing per­sons ex­pert Diane Rowe as she tries to un­ravel the story of who killed her sis­ter Niki, and why.

Then the man she has pegged for the mur­der turns up dead too.

Who killed her killer?

The level of de­tail is im­pres­sive – right down to things like which sec­tion of the Crimes Act 1961 one of the crim­i­nals has been charged with.

The plot jumps from one saga to the next.

There’s al­ways some­thing to keep you turn­ing the page.

But I do feel some of the char­ac­ter names are a bit silly – one of the main characters is a crim­i­nal called Snow.

He has twin sis­ters – Peaches and Cream.

Per­haps in the world of crim­i­nals one gets by on a nick­name.

And as

for his


sis­ters, they sound a strip­per names.

It’s still re­fresh­ing to read and the grip­ping crime novel is set in Welling­ton.



Lo­cal ref­er­ences to the Rimu­taka Ranges and Wainui Hill bring the story to life.

Ms Malane

is also

tal- ented at bring­ing a scene to life through de­tail.

For ex­am­ple, in chap­ter six she de­scribes the wait­ing area of the Wainuiomata po­lice sta­tion.

It reads: ‘‘. . . four enor­mous Maori guys balanced on the tiny wooden chairs pro­vided. They were all read­ing Woman’s Weeklys, their legs stretched out in iden­ti­cal pos­tures of re­lax­ation. Seven en­tirely dif­fer­ent coloured socks were on dis­play. One naked foot sat proud in this com­pany. None of the men looked up when I en­tered.’’

As clever as the book was, I did get con­fused in parts.

I don’t know if this is be­cause there were too many characters in­tro­duced, whether there were too many twists and turns or whether I sim­ply didn’t un­der­stand ev­ery­thing at first glance.

Re­gard­less, this book worth a read.

So it comes as no sur­prise to read Sur­ren­der won the in­au­gu­ral 2010 New Zealand So­ci­ety of AuthorsPin­dar Pub­lish­ing Prize.


Tal­ented au­thor: Donna Malane. In­set: The Auck­land City Har­bour News has a copy of Sur­ren­der and My Brother’s Keeper by Donna Malane to give­away to a lucky win­ner.

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