Return to Blood by Michael Bennett

Our Rating
Author: Michael Bennett

Category: Thriller / suspense

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

ISBN: 9781398512269

RRP: $34.99

This is the second book in the crime series featuring Hana Westerman. While it may be beneficial to have read the first book, especially to flesh out some of the characters, it is not essential.

A traumatic event has forced Hana to retire from her position in the New Zealand Police Force and move back in with her father in the tiny town of Tata Bay. While recuperating, Hana’s daughter finds a dead body in the black sand dunes close to the town. A body that has duct tape around the wrists and ankles.

It turns out that this is the second body to have turned up in the dunes. Twenty-one years ago, another body was found, but the killer confessed to the murder and died in jail. Eru, Hana’s father, knew the man and never believed he was guilty. With the discovery of the second body Hana’s instincts tell her that her father may be right. Although Hana is now a civilian, she cannot help herself and starts to investigate on her own. An investigation that crosses the line of the law and may just get her killed.

A highlight are the chapters devoted to the second murdered girl who narrates her tale to the reader from the grave. We also learn about Maori culture and words, with definitions provided as footnotes
at the bottom of the page. 

Return to Blood is a most enjoyable read, especially for readers who enjoy learning about other cultures. 

Reviewed by Neale Lucas


Read an interview with Michael Bennett about his book, Better the Blood.


Michael Bennett crime/thriller authorMichael Bennett (Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Whakaue) is an award-winning New Zealand screenwriter and author whose films have been selected for numerous festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and New York.

In 2008 Michael was the inaugural recipient of the Writers Award from the New Zealand Film Commission, and in 2005 he was awarded the British Council/New Zealand Writers Foundation Award. In 2011 Michael’s feature film Matariki won Best Feature Film Screenplay at the New Zealand Screenwriting Awards, and in 2013 he was awarded Best Documentary Screenplay for his documentary on the Teina Pora case, The Confessions of Prisoner T.

He went on to publish In Dark Places in 2016, which won Best Non-Fiction Book at the Ngaio Marsh Awards and Best Biography/History at the Nga Kupu Ora Awards 2017. In 2019 his graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, a collaboration with acclaimed artist Ant Sang, received an international White Raven Award.

Michael lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and is Head of Screenwriting at South Seas Film School.

Visit the publisher’s website


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