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About the book
  • Published: 7 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775535539
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

Drowning City


Formats & editions


A compelling noir novel, set in the 1930s, echoing elements of classic hardboiled fiction while foreshadowing contemporary ills.

A compelling noir novel, set in the 1930s, echoing elements of classic hardboiled fiction while foreshadowing contemporary ills.

In a city of elusive agendas, it's hard to find the truth. It's even harder to find what's right. A bootlegger's dream is rocked by an attempt to destroy his lucrative business. What begins as a curious evening snowballs into a night-time odyssey as Fontana searches for answers he never thought he'd have to find. The city is saturated with criminal and political extremism - is there anyone he can trust?

Setting and style are just as much characters in this evocative Depression-era novel by an astonishingly talented young author.

  • Pub date: 7 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775535539
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the Author

Ben Atkins

Ben Atkins completed the first draft of his first novel aged only seventeen, and yet writes with the maturity of a forty year old. He is a student of Political Studies and Film & Media Studies at Auckland University. He has a deep interest in how politics permeates and defines society. This, tied in with his passion for mid-20th century crime fiction, resulted in Drowning City. Ben intends to continue writing fiction alongside his growing interest in film and screenwriting.


Praise for Drowning City

“[An] extraordinary debut . . . This is a good book by any standards - and a little miracle in the context of the author's youth.”

Paul Little, North and South

“As always with a new author, I opened the book curious as to what I'd find. Hopefully something good. I didn't. I found something great. Atkins has an astonishingly evocative and distinctive authorial voice. I really, really enjoyed this book, much more than I thought I might. Keep an eye on him. And grab a copy.”

Craig Sisterson, http://kiwicrime.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/remember-this-name-ben-atkins.html

“Atkins peppers his debut with nods to mid-century noir: intriguing femmes fatales, hulking goons, a taciturn yet philosophical hero, mean streets, and plenty of zany characters. Yet Drowning City is no pastiche. There's maturity and freshness to Atkins' storytelling. Intriguing questions are raised as the plot dances along. An evocative atmosphere combines with a distinct authorial voice to raise the novel to something quite impressive.”

Craig Sisterson, New Zealand Herald

“. . . it’s a wonderfully absorbing read once you really get under way. As I neared the end of the book, I was surprised I had got through it so quickly—always a good sign. With descriptions that put you right in the story, this young author knows how to create a really absorbing scene, a ploy many much more experienced writers have yet to master. . . . Ben Atkins is young and talented. I look forward to reading more from him.”

Elisabeth Morrow, Daily Post, Northern Advocate

“REMEMBER this name: Ben Atkins. I’m certain we are going to hear a lot more from this 19-year-old New Zealand student who has just had his first book published. I had to keep reminding myself while I read Drowning City that the author was still in his teens. . . It’s not just the plot and the characters that make this book so fantastic, it’s the way it’s written. Atkins writes with a maturity far beyond his years. I loved how he described things . . .”

Linda Hall, Horowhenua Chronicle

“Drowning City is remarkable, written in the short sentences and style of Atkin’s heroes: James Caan, Raymond Chandler. Thoughtful, evocative, unsettling. It’s only April, but this is surely one of the New Zealand novels of the year.”

Sue Green, Dominion Post

“Atkins writing is fast-paced and conversational. The dialogue is sharp, witty and (if the rumours are true) will suit being made into a film script . . . It's apparent that Atkins has done his research, and you can barely tell this wasn't written by an American writer. Drowning City is a brilliant first novel from a highly talented young author. I look forward to reading (or seeing!) his future endeavours. Four Stars”

Emma McAuliffe, Salient

“The story is set firmly in the political mix of the time, and is full of the irony of criminals feeling ripped off when virtually anyone who wasn’t begging on the streets in the Depression must have been ripping someone off. What a great read from a young New Zealand author!”

alysontheblog, https://alysontheblog.wordpress.com/


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