Two couples, a kung fu gynecologist and a theoretical physicist meet a classical violinist and an actress in a pub in Ponsonby, one Friday night. They stumble upon a charismatic Maori activist and help him escape a Police dragnet only to become engulfed in a series of events beyond their control.
There is a false flag kidnapping, the sickest torture scene with a lawnmower ever written and a disturbing rape scene. A cockney criminal mastermind and a creative Police inspector stalk each other and in the pursuit of truckloads of marijuana start what becomes the war against drugs in New Zealand.
Set in 1976 Auckland, New Zealand over 10 days, this is a love story and a twisted crime mystery with intense action sequences.
Reviewed by Karen Chisholm
A gynaecologist, a physicist, a violinist and an actress all walk into a pub and help a Maori leader evade the police. With no apologies to anyone for the pun because really, that’s part of what THE JADED KIWI is all about. An absolutely madcap plot, peopled with a cast of seeming thousands and a lot of crazy behaviour.
Heaps of pace where it mattered really helps what’s not so much a complicated plot, as a complex execution, scamper along. Many of the rapidly expanding character set are wonderfully engaging, if not slightly over the top. Whether it’s the gynaecologist paired up with the physicist who find themselves back in his (the physicist’s) home territory, or the bear like violinist with a heart of gold and concern for his musician’s hands, who has gone to New York and back to rescue his girlfriend with the Asian background. All of whom meet up with the Maori fugitive from the law, and somehow find themselves at the centre of a drug war/organised crime sort of plot with stolen cars, mysterious phone calls, and much sneaking around in the back streets and byways.
It’s a very busy story though, and readers will have to concentrate hard to keep up with what seems like an ever expanding cast, to say nothing of some incredibly complicated connections. For this reader, a little pairing down of some of the byways and offshoots may have uncomplicated some elements, allowing the central themes more concentration – and therefore a little more clarity.
However, everything is delivered with great verve, almost gusto, papering over any potential logical cracks with sufficient engagement to make you wonder if you actually saw what you thought you might have just seen. The added bonus is a real feeling of affection for New Zealand and it’s people. All of which makes THE JADED KIWI a debut thriller which shows promise, delivered as it is, with a slightly tongue in cheek, very New Zealander sort of sense of humour, style and language.
Karen Chisholm is one of Australia’s leading crime reviewers