Book review: The Kingfisher’s Debt, by Kura Carpenter

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_kingfishers_debtTamsin Fairchild, thought to be a physic by local police, is called in to assist when the body of a baby is found at the Forsyth Bar Stadium in Dunedin. She teams up with Officer Scott Gale to examine the bizarre crime scene and they wonder is it a satanic ritual or hoax?

‘There wasn’t a spell painted on the body …..And there was no sacrifice. The baby was already dead, a preserved medical specimen.’

Kura Carpenter’s novel The Kingfisher’s Debt, unravels two storylines as it moves from the present day crime and another mystery disappearance during the summer twelve years ago.

The story weaves through layers, starting with alternating chapters of past and present running in parallel, with the reader learning about the Fair Folk of Dunedin, their Elemental rivals and their darkly exciting half  hidden world.

Reading The Kingfisher’s Debt took me on a wild romp around Dunedin to many places I have been to, but after reading this Urban Fantasy I will look and think differently about these familiar places.

Carpenter’s crisp descriptive writing is delightful and I could mentally picture many places she includes in the novel. ‘Their vivid dark blooms a tangle of untrimmed canes. The state of the roses, like the cars filling every space along Pitt Street, indicated this neighbourhood was primarily rental properties.’ The cover of the book is stunning and inviting, with appropriate photos cleverly aligned in the kingfisher photo.

I enjoy a good thriller / mystery but this book is unlike what I normally read, with fantasy elements skillfully interwoven throughout, adding more intrigue and mystery to the plot, and keeping me guessing to the end. The ending was strong but I am hoping the Dunedin based author will write a sequel to The Kingfisher’s Debt, so we can get a chance to learn more about these characters and the Power of the Solstice.

Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh

The Kingfisher’s Debt
by Kura Carpenter
Published by IFWG Publishing
ISBN 9780994522924