Promis­ing first novel

The Stu­dent Body By Si­mon Wy­att, Mary Egan Pub­lish­ing, $30

Havelock North Village Press - - News - — Jill Ni­cholas

Kiwi kids’ school camps all fun and games? Not when a mur­der’s in­volved.

That’s the start­ing point of Si­mon Wy­att’s de­but crime novel and if any­one knows the polic­ing side of a New Zealand mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion it’s Wy­att. A for­mer de­tec­tive sergeant based in West Auck­land, the area’s the set­ting of this rapid fire page turner, pos­i­tively ooz­ing with sus­pects.

With his prin­ci­pal char­ac­ter, Nick Knight, lead­ing the team on their di­verse trails in the wake of a pop­u­lar teenage stu­dent’s seem­ingly ran­dom killing, it would have been easy for this to have been a pro­saic re­count of the hand­book of po­lice pro­ce­dure. Wy­att’s far too clever a writer to have fallen into that trap.

His char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion is crys­tal clear, cops and those he and his team are af­ter are the real deal.

Days of in­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion fraught with more twists and turns than the Rau­rimu spi­ral, Knight and his team un­cover their cat­a­logue of sus­pects with a whole heap of stashed skele­tons be­fore fi­nally nailing who re­ally ‘dun it’.

With the hall­mark of a good crime writer who that is comes as a gen­uine sur­prise.

That Wy­att’s in­tro­duc­tory work fea­tured in the Best First

Novel cat­e­gory of the lat­est

Ngaio Marsh

Awards speaks vol­umes for his writ­ing skill. His sec­ond book is cur­rently a work in progress.

But Wy­att may never have turned au­thor had it not been for a run-in with the paralysing Guil­lain-Barre syn­drome. He wrote The Stu­dent Body while re­cov­er­ing from the rare lifethreat­en­ing auto im­mune dis­or­der that robbed him of his CIB ca­reer. This book’s ded­i­cated to fel­low sur­vivors.

Au­thor Si­mon Wy­att.

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