4 out of 4 stars
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I seem to seek out novels that take place in exotic locales. Finn Bell’s third novel, The Easter Make Believers, gave me that in spades. Located on the southern-most island in New Zealand, called Central Otago, in winter no less, this crime thriller gives its all to the reader: an impending record breaking blizzard, gang violence, domestic violence and the chase – what a chase! I can easily give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. The book itself was error-free with professional editing, which made reading all the more enjoyable.
What starts as a domestic home invasion with hostages and police intervention quickly takes a turn into gang violence on a scale never seen in the small community of Lawrence. Initially puzzled as to why they were being called to the scene, Nick and Tobe from the Gang Intelligence Centre quickly learn that most of the leaders of the local drug gangs have been killed in this faraway hamlet by an explosion triggered inside the house where the Chen family was being held captive. What ensues after this explosion untangles a complicated mystery and Nick and his partner must use their connections throughout the underworld in which to resolve it.
Besides the foreign setting and inclusion of Maori traditions, the menacing storm acts as a character in the story threatening the search for the Chen patriarch and one of the last remaining gang family members. However, just when much is revealed and loose ends tied up, the author throws a monkey wrench into the works when Nick reveals a crucial truth.
Throughout the book, readers will learn how this remote island became settled and how gold mining in particular played a pivotal role in shaping its inhabitants. In addition to this backstory, readers will learn what makes Nick and Tobe tick and why they are determined to resolve this case with a minimal loss of life.
The writing kept me engaged and the tension created by the many storylines only heightened the experience. If Finn Bell keeps producing this quality of a crime drama, I can anticipate his works becoming more popular and accessible to a broader audience.
The Easter Make Believers
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