Blog Tour: Expectant, Vanda Symon

Book Review: ExpectantA Sam Shephard Thriller Book 5, Vanda Symon

Expectant, A Sam Shephard Thriller Book 5, Vanda Symon

Mystery: ExpectantA Sam Shephard Thriller Book 5, Vanda Symon

Blog Tour February 3, 2023


When a young pregnant woman near her delivery date is savagely murdered on the streets of Dunedin and her baby taken from its mother’s womb, Detective Sam Shephard is less ready for the case than she would have been in other circumstances. She is also pregnant, also near her delivery date, and identifies quite personally with the victim. Because she is so close to taking maternity leave–and because her boss is a misogynist jerk–Sam is kept on the sidelines for this investigation. The other detectives keep her involved, but she truly misses being at the center of the investigation.


As the few leads they have fall apart, the team begins evaluating motives and suspects that seem less likely. Was the baby the target or the mother? Was there a personal motive or a profit motive? Was this a crime of passion or of deliberation?


Most importantly, was the baby still alive? And was the killer going to strike again?


Vanda Symon and her detective protagonist have perhaps their most personal and emotional collaboration to date. Symon writes about pregnancy in an immediate and personal way, the way a mother who’s been through the process would write. She does not gloss over the things that make pregnancy a drudge: heartburn, frequent bathroom visits, body changes, inability to run (or even walk gracefully). Honestly, despite the painful subject matter of the crime, the passages on pregnancy should become required reading for the partners of any woman who is pregnant or is planning a pregnancy.


Symon also looks straight into the eyes of how the police, the media, and the public handle high profile cases. A teenage mother who panicked and left her baby at a church comes under   scrutiny. Another young mother with a newborn becomes a focus. Police are attacked in the press for failing to solve the case in the one-hour provided by CSI. Police tip lines are flooded with calls turning in neighbors, coworkers, “suspicious” persons. One man even tries to extort a ransom from the situation. All involved (and many not really involved) feel the pressure and many respond to it poorly. Still, all the press and all the police work and all the public tips do lead to a very disturbing possibility: was this young mother murdered by someone she knew?


I love Vanda Symon’s books. Sam Shephard is a kickass heroine who is a solid, even brilliant, detective. She is also quite comfortable in her own skin, willing to stand up for herself when necessary. 


Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things for our copy of Expectant, provided so we could review it as part of this blog tour The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

Expectant, A Sam Shephard Thriller Book 5, Vanda Symon

Book Review: ExpectantA Sam Shephard Thriller Book 5, Vanda Symon

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