Folded – Tina Clough (Lightpool Publishing, $35)
Reviewed by Louise Ward, Wardini Books
This is the third novel to feature Hunter Grant and Dao and their lives just keep on inviting danger.
In The Chinese Proverb, Hunter (or more precisely, his dog, Scruff) save the life of a young woman who has been held in captivity by a criminal organisation for years. This is Dao, self-educated, smart, as mentally resilient as she is slight of build.
She and Hunter make a formidable team and book two, One Single Thing, saw them called upon to investigate the disappearance of a journalist.
In Folded, Hunter and Dao have settled in to a calm, safe life in their beautiful Auckland home. Dao is studying, Hunter is working from home and Scruff is their ever present companion. But their reputation for solving problems without recourse to the rules that hamper the police precedes them and they are called upon to take a look at another missing person case.
Origami notes have been dropped from an apartment window. They seem to be calling for urgent help, but the police are not acting. Hunter and Dao begin to probe, quickly getting on the wrong side of Inspector Bakker, an officer with a chip on her shoulder and an unexplained dislike of Hunter.
The plot quickly thickens with shady men, missing persons and an American businessman with a secret (now missing) daughter and more to do with things than he should have.
Dao and Hunter have always worked together but in this novel Dao gets to shine. There's a whole section of the book in which Hunter is indisposed (no spoilers here) and Dao uses her fine logical mind to progress the investigation by herself.
There's a solid investigation of the exploitation of women, keeping the victim at the heart of the story, and it's fitting that Dao gets to do this by herself. A small, childlike woman to look at, she is underestimated by those who don't know her and admired by those who do.
Dao and Hunter are a formidable team, and although they often vow to lead a quiet, safe life, who knows what they'll be unable to say no to next.
■ The Details
When: Thursday, April 29, 6pm
Where: Wardini Books, Hastings St, Napier
Info: Tina Clough will be launching Folded. All welcome.