When the wilderness is not your only enemy, who do you trust?
“Taut suspense and lush descriptions.” Literary Inklings
“Satisfyingly insightful.” Margaret Newman
“By turns shocking, satisfying, tragic, and poignant, but ultimately life-affirming.” Debbie Young’s Reading Life
“So far this is my favourite fiction read of the year.” Clare O’Beara, Amazon UK Top 500 Reviewer
Eight people were in the room when a fledgling actress died. Ten years later they are together again, invited to trek into the wild heart of Fiordland, New Zealand. Most are not athletes, so why have they agreed to come? They expect to test an alternative to the famed Milford Track. By the time they understand the expedition’s true purpose, old secrets are baring their claws, and it is too late to turn back.
Book 1 in the Wild Crimes Series
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IPPY Awards Silver Medal 2015
Varuna Publisher Fellowship for Manuscript Development 2011
About the Author
Belinda Pollard is an award-winning former journalist who loves mountain hiking despite bad knees and a fear of heights. She has been a professional writer/editor for decades, and a contributor to the Closer to God series since 1999. Her light memoir, Dogged Optimism: Lessons in Joy from a Disaster-Prone Dog, has won multiple awards.
The words “Poison Bay” on a map triggered her journey to the sinister end of the bookshelf. Spooky and remote, it was a location just begging for a mystery. Poison Bay is her first novel, winning a Varuna Publisher Fellowship and an IPPY Silver Medal.
Belinda lives in Brisbane, Australia where she undertakes ball-throwing duties for a dog named Rufus, and turns on the air-conditioning so she can dream of snow…
The stories behind the making of Poison Bay
I did some day hikes while touring the south island of New Zealand some years ago, and was astonished by the Fiordland mountains. My cardio-vascular system was equally astonished. Man, are those mountains steep. And gorgeous. So gorgeous.
I might still be saying: “I’d love to hike the Milford track” if it wasn’t for that mosquito. That horrible insect that brought such suffering into my life was also the catalyst for one of my greatest achievements.
A guest appearance on The Writing Desk, by Tony Riches:
As an aspiring mystery writer and all-round nice person, I thought, “This landscape would make a good murder weapon.”
Activist Debbie Young writes about that character with Type 1 diabetes…
Although Belinda’s initial intention was just to write a great thriller, the final result is a terrific novel that will raise awareness and foster better understanding of Type 1 around the world. I was privileged to help her fine-tune the diabetes story line drawing on my family’s experience of living with the disease.
Interviewed by Maggie Christensen at Cafe Cala:
the novel that hovered at the edge of my imagination for 20 years. … The idea developed in 1995 after a New Zealand holiday during which (thankfully) no one was murdered.
More reader reactions:
“Suspenseful and nearly impossible to put down, the story grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them guessing as deeper layers slowly begin to reveal themselves. Poison Bay is a diligent study of human behavior, of how tragedy can unhinge us and desperation can motivate us; it also examines the way we look at people, as Callie begins to understand her misguided teenage fancies and sees the merit in people she had always overlooked for their simplicity.” Casee Marie, Literary Inklings
“Poison Bay is a journey of self-discovery in the same mould as Deliverance (without the duelling banjos) and Lord of the Flies (without the kids) and, on a lighter note, City Slickers (without the laughs), but up there with them in the memorability stakes. I’ll definitely be on the look-out for Belinda Pollard’s next novel.” Debbie Young, Debbie Young’s Reading Life
“[E]xemplary research, an evocative location, consistently spot-on narrative pacing, a deepening mystery and an intriguing ensemble cast.” David Antrobus, thebookreviewers.com
“I love stories that transport me to a different world, suck me into the lives and emotions of others so that I become unaware of my surroundings … The characters are well written – not just the eight friends, but the anxious mother and the tenacious police officer as well. … It is clear also that Belinda Pollard has carried out thorough research. If you like mysteries or stories about the outdoors, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Clare, The TBR Pile
“If you only read one book this year, make it Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard. An absolutely brilliant read.” Sandra, Beauty Balm
“Belinda Pollard expertly weaves the different points of view into a plot that will leave you at the edge of your seat. By the middle of the book I was not able to put it down anymore.” Felicity Green, Goodreads Reviewer
“With excellent prose that you just want to read over and over again, mixed with plot twists and intense characters, this is definitely one to pick up.” Amie McCracken, Goodreads Reviewer
“Belinda Pollard has written a complex thriller and set it in an amazing location.” Alison Gray, Goodreads Reviewer
“Ms Pollard’s previous career as a journalist is evident in this perfectly balanced and well-plotted story.” Georgie, Goodreads Reviewer
“The writing is wonderful – at times I felt I was there alongside the characters in the cold and relentless rain on the side of a mountain in New Zealand. This is a story about greed and revenge and how they can destroy lives… friendship and teamwork and parents’ love for their children… survival of the elements, mistrust and faith.” Wordsmith, Goodreads Reviewer
“It was a story I was keen to continue reading and sorry when it was ended. A great first novel.” Anne Moorhouse, Amazon Reviewer
“It is a hugely enjoyable read, which had me guessing throughout. It is packed with action and full of gripping description of one of New Zealand’s most remote and magnificent landscapes.” Marianne, Amazon Reviewer
“Ticks every box for a great read. Couldn’t put it down! Moves along at a cracking pace, my jaw actually dropped a couple of times.” MJ Dunstone, Amazon Reviewer