Review: Better the Blood by Michael Bennett

A killer intent on avenging past wrongs is at the heart of this twisty crime novel set in Auckland. Hana Westerman is a Maori detective, and a singly mother, working in the Central Investigations Branch. She has always had to walk a very difficult line between her culture and her work, and even more so when she discovers a link between a number of supposedly unrelated murders and the colonisation of New Zealand.

While it would be easy to write Better the Blood off as yet another story about a serial killer whose crimes are investigated by a cop who has all kinds of trouble in their personal life, that would mean totally ignoring one of the finest, and key points of difference in this novel--it's intimate glimpse into past wrongs, Maori culture and the effect those wrongs have in modern day New Zealand. 

Initially, I had trouble getting into this one as much of it is quite confronting and I wasn't in a great headspace. However, a second reading, when I was in a better mindset, proved just how well written, twisty and how deeply immersed this novel is in New Zealand culture, the latter of which is something that is not often discussed in Australia. 

Recommended. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC of Better the Blood.

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