Paper Cage

Baragwanath, Tom

  9 Reviews

Lorraine Henry may only be a records clerk for the Masterton police station, but she's a fount of knowledge about the 'ins' and 'outs' of the town. But now with two children missing, one of them her great-nephew Bradley, Lo has skin in the game and in conjunction with Justin Hayes, a Wellington detective, she becomes a vital cog in the investigation.

With its descriptive writing, its strong sense of place and its sharp-eyed protagonist, this is a slow-burn thriller that skilfully exposes the dark underbelly of small-town New Zealand. [Larger font]

Comments from BDS Reviewers

"Lots of tension and underlying sub-plots and themes - racism, violence, poverty, drugs and alcohol. Sound grim? I loved it!"

"I really liked the main character. What a character!"

"You can't help but root for Lorraine. She is no superhero, flawed, aging, fond of a gin, yet she is so genuine, feisty, and fiercely loving. There's lots to like!"

"Any New Zealand reader will find this very relevant in theme and language."

"A very different take on crime in a small town - enjoyed it immensely."

"The author perfectly captures the seedy side of small town New Zealand - the racial tension, crimes, families in angst. It's so real you can feel the wind on your face. I loved the descriptive yet succinct use of language."

"While there is tragedy in the story, there's also lots of love around the characters involved."

"The book contains a vivid description of small-town tensions and problems. Descriptions of NZ ways is evocative."



Well-written for a first novel. We believe the author (known to one of our group) has had experience as a social worker so has written with substantial background knowledge and insight. Some of our group more aware and understanding of these themes. We all acknowledge it is a true and accurate portrayal. This made some of us uncomfortable admitting that it wouldn't worry us so much if about another cultural divide in another country.
NELS 089
Thought provoking book - many ideas present that led to a good robust discussion.
Overall 'Paper Cage' was enjoyed by everyone, and was a good reflection of small town life in New Zealand. Some considered the themes overstated and that the book would only be relatable to New Zealand readers. It reflected badly on N.Z. police, especially their lack of concern for the missing children. Hayes is an exception. It was an easy fast exciting read even though a little improbable at times. Some readers are looking forward to his next book.
WELL 066
Group members mostly enjoyed this book. The author cleverly looks at the impact of racism, poverty and inequalities on crime solving and in communities in N.Z, while depicting a series of kidnappings.
WELL 093
Enjoyed the book. Thank you.
TAUR 004
Everyone (bar one) enjoyed this. The author's description of N.Z. small towns and the countryside was very evocative. Suspense maintained. A part of N.Z. life most of us don't know about but very well-written and researched.
CHCH 561
Hard to get into for the first few chapters and then it gets very captivating and hard to put down. Would have liked more character descriptions. Enjoyed it being set in Aotearoa.
NEWP 001
Most people enjoyed the book, but didn't like the unresolved ending.
CHCH 539
All loved this novel. Easy read with good level of suspense. Some very thoughtful discussion on 'community secrets' and different layers of justice. Definitely a good read.