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Death on Demand [NOOK Book]

Overview

These days Maori cop Tito Ihaka is leading a quieter life in the Wairarapa. Five years earlier he'd sought to step into the shoes of his long-time boss Detective Inspector Finbar McGrail after the latter's promotion to Auckland District Commander. Dogged by the fall-out from his handling of the hit and run death of a prominent businesswoman, Ihaka was overlooked for a younger, more presentable candidate. After a men's room confrontation with his new boss's right-hand man, Ihaka was sent into exile. Out of the ...
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Death on Demand

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Overview

These days Maori cop Tito Ihaka is leading a quieter life in the Wairarapa. Five years earlier he'd sought to step into the shoes of his long-time boss Detective Inspector Finbar McGrail after the latter's promotion to Auckland District Commander. Dogged by the fall-out from his handling of the hit and run death of a prominent businesswoman, Ihaka was overlooked for a younger, more presentable candidate. After a men's room confrontation with his new boss's right-hand man, Ihaka was sent into exile. Out of the blue McGrail summons him back to Auckland. Christopher Lilywhite, the businesswoman's terminally ill husband whom Ihaka suspected was behind his wife's death, wants to see him. Lilywhite confesses that he had his wife murdered, but he dealt with the hit-man at arm's length so has no idea who he is. In quick succession Lilywhite and another potential source of information are murdered. Ihaka's old rival Detective Inspector Tony Charlton takes control of the case but with more corpses turning up and Auckland Central stretched to breaking point, he agrees to let Ihaka investigate the apparently unrelated murder of a young man about town. As the investigations expand uncovering a blackmail operation preying on married women, gang activities controlled from inside Paremeremo prison and possible police corruption, Ihaka realises that the cases are related and he's hunting a faceless and prolific hit-man. Or is the hit-man hunting him?

Finished reading Paul Thomas's 'Death on Demand' on flight to NY. Big, bruising police procedural set in New Zealand. Excellent.

— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) January 29, 2014

@HachetteNZ Mazey, gripping plot, terrific maverick cop, violent, profane, funny.

— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) January 30, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
Ned Kelly Award–winner Thomas takes his time letting readers in on what he’s got up his sleeve in his fourth police procedural starring Maori Det. Sgt. Tito Ihaka (after 1996’s Guerilla Season), but the deferred gratification is well worth it. A prologue opens 14 years in the past in Greytown, New Zealand. Eight years later, four male friends, a property developer, a lawyer, a dentist, and a businessman, are enjoying a regular weekend away together on Waiheke Island. A discussion of marital discontent ends with a joke about using the phone directory to call a hit man. Three months later, Joyce, presumably the wife of one of the four pals, is fatally struck by a car while jogging in an Auckland suburb. More people die, one way or another, as the action moves to the present. Ihaka, who must deal with prejudice from within the force, investigates. A twisty plot and an unusual lead combine to make this a winner, and even newcomers will hope that the wait for the next installment will be less than 17 years. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

‘A husband’s offhand remark about hiring a hit man loses its humor when someone offers to take care of the task. The Auckland, New Zealand, case was never solved, and only Maori DS Tito Ihaka suspected the moneyed husband. Ihaka’s rough edges and zeal effectively doomed him, and six years ago, he was reassigned to the Wellington area. Now, new revelations indicate that Ihaka’s instincts were right; he is brought back to reopen the cold case. Before long, things turn hot as a complicated case involving grifters and shifting identities means more victims will fall. VERDICT New Zealand’s irascible cop Tito Ihaka has been MIA since Thomas’s last series entry in 1996 (Guerilla Season), and his return pleases on so many levels. Thomas is a past winner of the Ned Kelly Award, and this one looks to be a future nominee as well.’ Library Journal

‘Ned Kelly Award–winner Thomas takes his time letting readers in on what he’s got up his sleeve in his fourth police procedural starring Maori Det. Sgt. Tito Ihaka (after 1996’s Guerilla Season), but the deferred gratification is well worth it. A prologue opens 14 years in the past in Greytown, New Zealand. Eight years later, four male friends, a property developer, a lawyer, a dentist, and a businessman, are enjoying a regular weekend away together on Waiheke Island. A discussion of marital discontent ends with a joke about using the phone directory to call a hit man. Three months later, Joyce, presumably the wife of one of the four pals, is fatally struck by a car while jogging in an Auckland suburb. More people die, one way or another, as the action moves to the present. Ihaka, who must deal with prejudice from within the force, investigates. A twisty plot and an unusual lead combine to make this a winner, and even newcomers will hope that the wait for the next installment will be less than 17 years.’ Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“It’s the stuff the best gangster films are made of, and as a suspense/crime novel ‘Death on Demand’ is perfectly composed, with the action kept in the realm of reality and a steady, tense wire of human pathos running down its spine. Just as Ihaka fails to be surprised by the mendacity he encounters, living in a world in which cops and crims engage gladly in mutual back-scratching, so Thomas shows us that in the end, anyone is capable of just about anything. As Ihaka reflects: “Everyone gets called to account . . . One way or another, everybody pays.” The Coast

"Paul Thomas, a bestselling New Zealand crime writer, deserves to be better known here. A lively plot, a good variety of characters, and Thomas doesn’t burden us with excessive stuff about the detective’s ethnic or tribal background." Times

“Local hero, local setting, world-class crime writing: Ihaka’s return is a rollicking read” The Listener

"A splendidly written, constantly engaging, deliberately puzzling, always gripping story. Ihaka is wonderful, his fellow-cops and the crims (not always the same people) well delineated, and the women both femme and fatale." Crime Time

“Tito Ihaka, the maverick Maori cop, dances through a minefield of police politics, old grudges, blackmail, and gangs as he hunts a faceless killer in Auckland. Filled with helter-skelter storylines, witty dialogue, and captivating characters.” Herald on Sunday

"Foul-mouthed, ungovernable and not above meeting racist abuse with physical assault Maori detective Tito Ihaka of the Auckland police is a splendid creation. As a reader, you can't help wincing at the scrapes he gets himself into but you can't take your eyes off him either. Those familiar with the dry Kiwi wit will know what to expect from Thomas's dialogue. It may be occasionally shocking but it's never disappointing. It's early in the year but this is already on my list of 2013's best." Morning Star

“Death on Demand sees the welcome return of Tito Ihaka, a maverick Maori cop, who this time goes after an elusive hitman. The unfamiliar locations are as compelling as the actions.” Sunday Telegraph

“Moves along very smartly, the action is non-stop, the protagonist entertaining enough to hold the attention, and the New Zealand setting provides a dimension of interest. It would be just the thing for a medium-haul flight.”Reviewing The Evidence

“Incredibly, readers believed in the private eye with cricket team ideals. We assumed that Chandler perhaps resembled his hero. He must have been similar, the kind of man who would stand steadfast in a difficult situation. Hard-boiled thrillers are written in a style that suggests tough guys behind the keyboard. Cynical lawyers like George V Higgins remembered the transcripts of interviews with their clients and reproduced it as noir crime. James Ellroy insisted he was authentic because he was honest about seedy sexual obsessions. This need for authenticity spread to other crime fiction. Women authors, like Patricia Cornwell, used their previous experience as pathologists and wrote novels about crime busting medics. Of course, time renders most attempts at authenticity as inadequate. Philip Marlowe is now a male fantasy that embarrasses modern men and those who read ‘Death On Demand’ will afterwards be less susceptible to tales of strong potentially decent men redeemed by a virtuous or potentially virtuous female. James Ellroy may have to re-think his definition of authenticity. Paul Thomas has become addictive to New Zealand readers and this book demonstrates how.” Crime Chronicles

Library Journal
★ 10/01/2013
A husband's offhand remark about hiring a hit man loses its humor when someone offers to take care of the task. The Auckland, New Zealand, case was never solved, and only Maori DS Tito Ihaka suspected the moneyed husband. Ihaka's rough edges and zeal effectively doomed him, and six years ago, he was reassigned to the Wellington area. Now, new revelations indicate that Ihaka's instincts were right; he is brought back to reopen the cold case. Before long, things turn hot as a complicated case involving grifters and shifting identities means more victims will fall. VERDICT New Zealand's irascible cop Tito Ihaka has been MIA since Thomas's last series entry in 1996 (Guerilla Season), and his return pleases on so many levels. Thomas is a past winner of the Ned Kelly Award, and this one looks to be a future nominee as well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781908524188
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press, Ltd
  • Publication date: 3/4/2013
  • Series: Tito Ihaka
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 557,704
  • File size: 393 KB

Meet the Author

Author and columnist Paul Thomas? seven works of fiction include three novels featuring maverick cop Tito Ihaka which were republished by Hodder Moa in 2009 as The Ihaka Trilogy. His work has been widely published internationally and translated into several languages.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This newest novel by Paul Thomas opens with brief flashbacks goi

    This newest novel by Paul Thomas opens with brief flashbacks going back 14 years but swiftly brings us to the present, after short chapters (and a prologue) from several different points of view, introducing the reader to all the important players, from, among others, the members of the “boys’ club” (a small group of men who’d known each other from their boarding school days through their various marriages and divorces, with varying degrees of financial success).

    When we come to the present day, we meet several members of the Auckland police, past and present: First and foremost, D.I. Johan Van Roon, and the man who had at one time been his mentor: Maori cop Tito Ihaka, described as “unkempt, overweight, intemperate, unruly, unorthodox and profane” and “the brown Sherlock Holmes,” the latter having been banished to the hinterlands several years ago after a case which he had stubbornly insisted was a murder, not, as everyone else was convinced, a ‘simple’ hit-and-run accident. A spate recent of killings brings Ihaka back into the fold, after a fashion, when a former boss is promoted to Auckland District Commander; it soon emerges that there’s a hired killer in the picture, and unsurprisingly more deaths ensue, in rapid succession.

    The author was born in the UK but has lived for most of his life in New Zealand, which is the setting for his novels. The only hurdle for me in this book was with the local vernacular/regional jargon/idiom. This was soon overcome, I hasten to add, by the complex and absorbing plot, well presented, that soon made the book difficult to put down. There is also a lot of quiet humor, e.g., description of a man who wears “T-shirts with slogans intended to cause offence like ‘So many Christians, so few lions.’”

    Recommended.

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