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Better the Blood


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About the Author

Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter, director and author. His first book, a non-fiction work telling the true story of New Zealand’s worst miscarriage of justice, In Dark Places, won Best Non-Fiction Book at the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Michael's second book, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, is a time-travel graphic novel co-authored with Ant Sang.

Better the Blood, the first Hana Westerman thriller, was shortlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction/Ockham New Zealand Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Audio Book of the Year at the Capital Crime Fingerprint Awards. It was also longlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Debut Dagger and was a finalist for both Best First Novel and Best Novel at the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards.
Michael's short and feature films have won awards internationally and have screened at numerous festivals, including Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, New York, London and Melbourne. Michael is the 2020 recipient of the Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award, in recognition of members of the Māori filmmaking community who have made high-level contributions to screen storytelling.  
He lives in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand), with his partner Jane, and children Tīhema, Māhina and Matariki.


‘Stunning. Better the Blood is a tremendous debut, and Hana Westerman, the Maori detective at the center of the story, instantly becomes one of the great characters in crime fiction on any continent. This novel has it all:  a gripping mystery, complex and memorable characters, and timely social and cultural commentary. Don’t miss it’ 
*David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts*

'Better the Blood touches on themes that have become increasingly urgent in recent years including the far-reaching impacts of colonialism and the often uneasy integration of identity and heritage into modern multicultural society. A tensely plotted, gritty crime novel that has the courage to force us all to rethink our relationship with the past' Vaseem Khan

 ‘As page-turning as it is eye-opening. An excitingly fresh perspective upon a world you thought you knew’ Ambrose Parry

‘Packed with intricate detail about Maori history and culture, this tense and involving story ushers in a remarkable new detective’  Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail

‘This thought-provoking debut is a compelling, insightful and highly addictive read’ My Weekly
‘So chilling’ Crime Monthly

‘[A] stellar series launch . . . Immersed in modern-day technologies and with a keen sensitivity to cultural issues, this is a finely crafted page-turner. Bennett is a writer to watch’ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'Bennett unflinchingly weaves together layers of fallout from New Zealand’s bloody colonization, enduring Maori culture, and gripping procedural details. Hopefully this compelling debut heralds the start of a long-running series' Booklist

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