Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Done: "Containment" by Vanda Symon

Done: Containment by Vanda Symon, 2009, 9780143202295.

Not what I thought was coming. I thought the novel was dead people in a shipping container. No, just a dead guy in the ocean.

New Zealand Detective Constable Sam Shephard is a newly minted detective in Dunedin, NZ on the South Island. She's been in the job for a short time after uniform work. Her boss is a dick. Her older partner is beset with marriage worries. Her mother is disapproving about most everything.

Shephard is house sitting at the beach town of Aramoana. She goes out for a morning walk and finds a container ship washed ashore with loose containers on the sand. Townspeople have gone nuts and are scavengin - stealing - anything they can get. When trying to show her badge and stop the looting Shephard gets slugged unconscious.

Shephard gets a bad concussion, her boyfriend provides some comfort, and she gets antsy being at home. When Shephard does arrive back at work she gets an assignment to be the Dead Body Cop. Normally, this can be kinda cool, but this time her dickhead supervisor sends her out on the ocean to recover a floater.

Things happen. Shephard follows along in Symon's police procedural. It's more a slice of life with Shephard than something heavy on mystery, crime, or scares. Shephard is a working officer in a
realistic plot. Symon does not dwell on any cop lingo, crime scene details, or obscure histories of stolen objects. Shephard is there to work the case and catch the bad guy. And the bad guy is not some evil mastermind with a cruel streak either.

Shephard is in her late 20s with a best friend, a boyfriend who wants to get serious, a parent who is ill, and a desire to get ahead in her chosen career. There are some violent bits - and Symon has a scene I thought was kinda forced where Symon sets Shephard up against her boss during a shooting crisis - but mostly this is personal life and detective work.

I enjoyed the book but this is the only Symon book in the library system and she wrote three other Shephard novels.

1. Aramoana is freaking tiny.

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