ARC Review: Better the Blood by Michael Bennett

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A DETECTIVE IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH
Hana Westerman is a tenacious Ma¯ori detective juggling single motherhood and the pressures of her career in Auckland’s Central Investigation Branch. When she’s led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man hanging in a secret room. As Hana and her team work to track down the killer, other deaths lead her to think that they are searching for New Zealand’s first serial killer.
A KILLER IN SEARCH OF RETRIBUTION
With little to go on, Hana must use all her experience as a police officer to try and find a motive to these
apparently unrelated murders. What she eventually discovers is a link to an historic crime that leads back to the brutal bloody colonisation of New Zealand.
A CLASH BETWEEN CULTURE AND DUTY
When the pursuit becomes frighteningly personal, Hana realises that her heritage and knowledge are their only keys to finding the killer.
THE PAST NEVER TRULY STAYS BURIED
But as the murders continue, it seems that the killer’s agenda of revenge may include Hana – and her family . . .
WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE OF PARADISE. 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was such an interesting combination of thriller and historical. I was initially quite hesitant to dive into this one as I don’t really read historical fiction at all – but this one is actually set in contemporary New Zealand with a historical influence.

I liked the main character, Hana, who gave us a modern voice for this story. She also had a lot of depth and her own secrets, which are revealed throughout the book alongside the historical background. Hana’s story also included a lot of discussions of family and relationships that added another layer to the story.

The pacing of this book did feel quite slow, however, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to go back to reading it and honestly haven’t retained a lot of information about the book since. The atmosphere was quite good, and I could picture the story well, which I imagine would translate well to screen.

The best part of this book was definitely the historical connection and the way it was reflected in a modern setting without feeling too heavy or literary. However, it didn’t find it as compelling as I would hope from a thriller, which did disappoint me.

★★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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