Major James Arnold studied the tussocked wasteland of the central plateau. Beyond the bleak rolling plains of tundra, the snow-capped peak of Mount Ruapehu dominated the skyline, magnificent despite the flurries of ash on the window pane. It wasn’t the first time Arnold had borrowed the office or stood in this spot, yet never had the situation been so grave.This was one of the finalists for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards at CoNZealand last year. It turns out to be the third in a series where New Zealand law enforcers find themselves entangled with the ancient forces of Aotearoa, and I felt it depended a bit on having read at least one of the previous two to fully get what was going on. However, it's well written and suitably tense - in the middle of an evacuation from a volcanic eruption, a group of dangerous prisoners escape and cause even greater mayhem. Will keep an eye out for this writer. You can get this one here.
This rose to the top of my pile of unread books by non-white authors (Murray's family background is Chinese). Next on that list is another CoNZealand trophy, Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers, edited by Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka.