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Better the Blood by Michael Bennett


Detective Senior Sergeant Hanna Westerman is a tenacious Māori detective juggling single motherhood and the pressures of her career in Auckland’s Central Investigation Branch.

When she’s led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man hanging in a hidden room. With little to go on, Hana knows one thing: the killer is sending her a message. As a Māori officer, there has always been a clash between duty and culture for Hana, but it is something that she’s found a way to live with. However, when more murders occur, Hana realises her heritage and past may provide vital clues to help find the perpetrator.

Better the Blood is a compelling, crime thriller exploring important themes about social and racial injustice.

“Aotearoa is paradise. But it’s a parade with an awful and bloody colonial history which still impacts everyday life,” says author Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue).


“The social consequences and mamae (trauma, pain) of colonisation remain unhealed. Better the Blood explores these raw and unhealed scars through the genre I most love, the crime thriller. My goal was to craft a nail-biting novel that becomes a Trojan horse carrying big, complex, difficult themes.”

The result is an impressively entertaining, page-turning, thought-provoking high-tension novel! Not only has Michael’s novel already been shortlisted for awards, it’s impact is being felt across the globe. Better the Blood was published simultaneously in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom with pre-emptive rights sold in five countries. It is also in development for a six-part television series.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Simon & Schuster, RRP $37.99


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