Promising first novel
The Student Body By Simon Wyatt, Mary Egan Publishing, $30
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
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.