Blog tour: Expectant by Vanda Symon


This post is part of a blog tour organised by Random Things Blog Tours. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

‘The shocking murder of a heavily pregnant woman throws the New Zealand city of Dunedin into a tailspin, and the devastating crime feels uncomfortably close to home for Detective Sam Shephard as she counts down the days to her own maternity leave.

‘Confined to a desk job in the department, Sam must find the missing link between this brutal crime and a string of cases involving mothers and children in the past. As the pieces start to come together and the realisation dawns that the killer’s actions are escalating, drastic measures must be taken to prevent more tragedy.

‘For Sam, the case becomes personal, when it becomes increasingly clear that she is no longer safe, and the clock is ticking…’


In Expectant, by Vanda Symon, Dunedin is shaken when a heavily pregnant young mother Aleisha Newman is found dead in an alleyway, her unborn child brutally taken from her.

Even though Detective Sam Shephard is approaching her due date herself, she’s determined to take an active role in the investigation.

In doing so, she attracts the attention of a desperate killer, whose plight gets her - and the reader - thinking about the roles played by circumstances and intention when it comes to delivering justice.

As you’d guess from the description, Expectant doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to engaging with one of the most horrific crimes imaginable.

The descriptions of what’s been done to Aleisha are necessarily explicit and unflinching, and the reactions of the police and public are highly realistic.

Yet, despite the heavy material, I zoomed through Expectant due to the smooth writing style and continual developments, red herrings, and twists.

As with Overkill and Bound (and presumably The Ringmaster and Containment, which I still have to look forward to!), Sam’s character makes what could be quite a grim book a really enjoyable read.

Sam hasn’t let pregnancy slow her down: she’s still regularly falling afoul of her superiors by overstepping the boundaries of her role and running her mouth.

Along with her sense of humour (including some truly groan-worthy puns), I love Sam’s enthusiasm for food, and her relationships: the one with her mum is hilarious; the one with her partner Paul is adorable; and the one with her best friend and former housemate Maggie is possibly one of my favourite female friendships in fiction.

Expectant is hard-hitting and fast-paced, with brilliant glimmers of light.

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About Alice Violett

Writer of blogs and short stories, reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK