Better the Blood: A Hana Westerman Thriller


Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
Grove Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 1.2 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and author whose films have been selections at major festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and New York. His nonfiction book, In Dark Places, which explored an infamous miscarriage of justice, won awards, and his young adult graphic novel, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, was a finalist for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards.


Praise for Better the Blood: Winner of the Ngaio Marsh First Novel AwardShortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, Ockham New Zealand Book AwardsBarry Award Finalist for Best First Mystery or Crime NovelLonglisted for the Crime Writers' Association ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger
Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Deadly Pleasures Mystery MagazineNamed a Best Book of the Month by Amazon (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense)
"Michael Bennett's crime fiction debut explores themes of colonization and Indigenous culture by way of New Zealand. A serial killer looking to avenge the 160-year-old murder of a Maori chief is pursued by police detective Hana Westerman, whose Maori ancestry makes the case personal."--Christian Science Monitor "Stunning . . . With an incisive close third-person narration that digs into the thoughts and feelings of all of the players, the story commands attention from start to spectacular finish."--Oprah Daily"A stunning and completely unique debut thriller . . . I cannot speak more highly of Michael Bennett's ability as a writer to share his own heritage within the guise of a page-turning thriller that will keep you guessing, along with teaching you some little-known New Zealand history. I can only hope that this is the start of a wonderful and long-running series."--Book Reporter"Thoroughly absorbing . . . Bennett writes about Māori culture and history with generosity and care, reflected in the final acknowledgments paid to those in his community who lent him additional insights and guidance. He also crafts a compelling detective in Hana Westerman . . . Under Bennett's strong command of tension in all directions, Better the Blood is a magnificently arranged confrontation with histories personal and public."--Shelf Awareness"Better the Blood is an astonishing debut novel, full of twists and vivid characters, but also with much more on its mind. It is a deep exploration into cultural identity and justice, into the unbreakable bonds between the present and the past. It captures a voice like none you have read before, and it'll keep you thinking even as you rapidly turn the pages to its devastating conclusion."--BookTrib"Extraordinary . . . Outstanding . . . The characters are exceptional, their motives and doubts all so magnificently drawn, so many of them strangers in a strange land in their own land."--Nick Martin, Winnipeg Free Press"A captivating crime story, an informative exploration of Maori culture through their history and language, and a pressurized (and very contemporary) family drama between mother and daughter."--ArtsFuse
"When it comes to thrillers, I am hard to please. But Michael Bennett's new novel Better the Blood amazed me. I cannot wait to read more . . . Captivating . . . Stunningly good."--Ashley Riggleson, The Free Lance-Star"A stellar series launch set in contemporary New Zealand . . . The narrative moves at a quick pace. Immersed in modern-day technologies and with a keen sensitivity to cultural issues, this is a finely crafted page-turner. Bennett is a writer to watch."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Bennett establishes himself as an excellent storyteller . . . The book's immersion in tribal culture and history makes the greatest impact, lending complexity and sweep to the narrative . . . One can only hope this is the beginning of a series. A striking debut and a significant addition to Indigenous literature."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Riveting . . . Bennett deftly illuminates the plight of the Māori people and its continuing effects in New Zealand. His action-packed narrative, blended with various cultural references, recalls the novels of Tony and Anne Hillerman, Craig Johnson, and William Kent Krueger."--Library Journal"Bennett unflinchingly weaves together layers of fallout from New Zealand's bloody colonization, enduring Māori culture, and gripping procedural details. Hopefully this compelling debut heralds the start of a long-running series."--Booklist"With plenty of suspense, sympathetically drawn characters and crisp dialogue, Better the Blood promises to be the start of a long and rewarding literary career for Bennett."--BookPage"A compelling, atmospheric page turner with an authentic insight into Māori culture."--Val McDermid"Stunning. Better the Blood is a tremendous debut, and Hana Westerman, the Māori detective at the center of the story, instantly becomes one of the great characters in crime fiction on any continent. This novel has it all: a gripping mystery, complex and memorable characters, and timely social and cultural commentary. Don't miss it."--David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts "Carefully crafted and beautifully written, intelligent and insightful, Bennett opens a unique window onto a fascinating Antipodean society as only world-class crime fiction can. I devoured it. (And, as a South African, I found great pleasure in the rugby references too.)"--Deon Meyer, author of The Dark Flood"Better the Blood touches on themes that have become increasingly urgent in recent years including the far-reaching impacts of colonialism and the often uneasy integration of identity and heritage into modern multicultural society. A tensely plotted, gritty crime novel that has the courage to force us all to rethink our relationship with the past."--Vaseem Khan"As page-turning as it is eye-opening. An excitingly fresh perspective upon a world you thought you knew."--Ambrose Parry