Your Preview Verdict: Doom Creek by Alan Carter

Your Preview Verdict: Doom Creek by Alan Carter

Sergeant Nick Chester has dodged the Geordie gangsters he once feared, is out of hiding and looking forward to a quiet life. But gold fever is creating ill-feeling between prospectors, and a new threat lurks in the form of trigger-happy Americans preparing for Doomsday by building a bolthole at the top of the South Island.

As tensions simmer in the Wakamarina valley, Nick finds himself working on a cold-case murder and investigating a scandal-plagued religious sect. When local and international events reach fever pitch, Chester finds himself up against an evil that knows no borders.

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

Doom Creek is the first book of Alan Carter’s that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is actually the second Nick Chester novel, but I had no problems reading it as stand-alone. Incidents from the first book are referred to and my curiosity has been piqued so I will now need to go and read that one as well! I’m also so involved with the main characters now that if there is a third novel then I will be getting that to see what happens next. I’ve never been to New Zealand but have seen photos and heard stories from friends who have lived there or visited so I was able to imagine I was there, watching the events unfold. The characters are very easy to relate to and I quickly developed feelings for my favourites. I spent a few late nights reading way past bedtime because I simply had to find out what happened! Thank you to Better Reading for the preview copy in exchange for a review. – Maree, QLD, 5 Stars

Doom Creek is a fast-paced murder mystery, full of beautiful prose, wry humour and well-defined characters. The New Zealand landscape is poignantly presented as a key element, and the current political climate is deftly woven into the story. I will definitely search out other works by Alan Carter after this – I want more! – Alanna, QLD, 5 Stars

Doom Creek is the first Alan Carter book I have read and thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The author kept me turning the pages awaiting the next development in the beautiful but menacing New Zealand countryside and concerned for the slightly flawed hero and his family. As a fan of Garry Disher and Chris Hammer books, I was not disappointed and some references to issues of the day and intermittent humour were refreshing. I will be reading more of his books and thank you to the publishers for the chance to read this one. – Diana, VIC, 5 Stars

Doom Creek by Alan Carter is a follow-up novel to Marlborough Man featuring Sergeant Nick Chester. I haven’t read the first novel, but I will certainly be looking for it. This read well as a stand-alone novel, enough information was given to keep new readers in the loop. This was a cracking novel set in New Zealand and I’ll certainly be looking for more of this author’s books. Thanks to Better Reading for an advance copy in exchange for an unbiased review. – Tracy, VIC, 5 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the writing style refreshing with interesting characters. Although there were references to previous books and events in the series and indeed indications of others to follow, it did not detract from the stand-alone nature of the book. I totally enjoyed the novelty of the New Zealand setting, descriptions of the pristine nature and the Maori culture and language is woven into the story. A great ‘whodunit? ‘ story touching on topical current events, small-town mentality and fundamentally flawed humans. – Lina, VIC, 5 Stars

From the first page of Doom Creek to the last, you will not want to put this book down. Set in a picturesque mountain village in New Zealand you are immediately drawn into the life of the local police chief, Nick Chester and his deputy Latifa. Not all is as it seems in this quiet town. With a history of gold mining and bandits, there is a new threat from abroad that weaves its way into the lives of all who live there. This is a whodunnit spanning all walks of life and Chester will need both his allies and enemies to find the truth. – Bindy, VIC, 5 Stars

Having not read Alan Carter’s earlier Nick Chester novel, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was in for with Doom Creek. What I discovered was a gripping crime story that had my attention from the get go. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am now keen to check out Marlborough Man. – Susan, NSW, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed Doom Creek by Alan Carter. Written well with strong characters and an unusual Doomsday back story, Sgt Nick Chester attempts to solve a number of murders while occupied with personal problems of his own. Nick is my perfect ‘hero’ who uses his gut feelings and stubborn persistence to solve cases. Other characters either the good guys or the bad guys, add to the depth of the story. Brutal justice being the order of the day. The story rolls along effortlessly, even lyrically in places where Alan describes countryside New Zealand and other mundane things. Everything about Doom Creek is solid and keeps you guessing right to the last page. A very good read. Thank you. – Sharon, ACT, 5 Stars

I recently had the pleasure to read Doom Creek by Alan Carter, which is the second in a series about a police officer called Nick Chester, set in a small town in New Zealand, it follows him as he has a run-in with some newcomers to town. Tension builds amongst the local population as the religious nutjobs prepare for Doomsday, with no regards for the towns unspoken local rules. While dealing with them, a grisly discovery is made in the local supermarket, and an older one uncovered after a natural disaster, with so many cases on the go at once, it looks like his quiet new start will not be so quiet after all. Will he be able to link them all together or is he making connections that just are not there? What I liked about Doom Creek, is that it is a compelling stand-alone read and I didn’t feel like I needed to have read the first Nick Chester novel to enjoy it. The characters have many layers and although I personally didn’t like Chester, he was relatable and multifaceted. The way the case unfolds in Doom Creek, feeding the reader just another clue, another tidbit meant that I stayed up late finishing the book, I had to keep reading, just one more chapter, one more page. Over-all it was an enjoyable thriller for anyone into the crime genre, and I’m compelled to go read the first in the series and await the third eagerly. – Shontel, NSW, 5 Stars

As an avid reader, I’d crime fiction, I was very excited to be able to preview Alan Carter’s “Doom Creek”…and I was not disappointed. The main character, Nick Carter, gives his perspective as the narrator. He is a most affable persona-wise, yet at times a bumbling fool, but always with his focus on the crimes at hand. The crimes are quite gruesome but not gratuitously described. His relationship with his wife and son is represented beautifully. Both appreciate his position in the police force, and both are frustrated with the time spent away from them. The New Zealand landscape is quite integral to the plot, and Carter has quite expertly included indigenous ideology. I am looking forward to reading Carter’s previous Nick Carter novels. – Denise, NSW, 5 Stars

Alan Carter’s writing vividly showcases his love for the beautiful New Zealand landscape, the Mãori people and their culture. I loved how Doom Creek made me long to explore this magnificent country in person. Carter creates characters that are authentic and relatable: tough, emotionally flawed, gritty and often stubborn to their own detriment. You can’t help but empathise. Sergeant Nick Chester is just such a character – he’s the perfect hero for the second instalment in Carter’s crime series set in the glorious Marlborough Sounds. The first, Marlborough Man, was a blockbuster read – one of the best of 2018. It won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel. After such accolades, could Doom Creek also deliver? And then some… Sergeant Chester, aided by Constable Latifa Rapata, still runs the local cop shop in sleepy Havelock. When a local film crew uncovers a body on-set, a cold-case is reopened and with it erupts a hornets’ nest of trouble. Meanwhile, a gang of gun-wielding, gung-ho Americans have moved into the Wakamarina valley – Nick senses trouble — and Nick Chester’s hunches are usually spot on… Doom Creek is intricately plotted, explosive, unputdownable – much like the New Zealand landscape, it’s simply stunning. – Linda, QLD, 5 Stars

Sergeant Nick Chester is living a quiet life on the South Island of New Zealand with his wife Vanessa and their son Paulie, “getting a taste for the simple life.” Along with Constable Latifa, they are stationed in the usually quite Marlborough Sounds town of Havelock. While looking after a local film crew, part of a body turns up on location when an earthquake causes a landslide, and a body is discovered in the local supermarket cold-room, and a prospector turns up dead. He starts working on a cold-case murder, dealing with gold prospectors, investigating a religious sect and dealing with a doomsday group led by Cunningham who lives at the heavily guarded “hunting lodge-cum-resort” nearby. Doom Creek is a great procedural novel, with a lot of cases running in parallel, a great read for those who enjoy a lot of character development, and an evolving story. – Teresa, VIC, 4 Stars

Doom Creek is the 2nd book in a series set in NZ which stands up really well as a stand-alone (I haven’t read the first). The plot shifts between the mystery of a new group of people moving into town and a multiple murder investigation. I absolutely loved all the flawed characters, they make such great relatable reading. And you really can’t get much better than the backdrop of NZ. – Hanadi, NSW, 4 Stars

I received my copy of Doom Creek by Alan Carter from a Better Reading giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Carter’s two main characters were believable and likeable. Sergeant Nick Chester and Constable Latifa are stationed in the usually quite Marlborough Sounds town of Havelock. Their mundane duties are suddenly upended by the arrival of a group of unpleasant Americans who make their presence known by upsetting both the police and the general population. When an earthquake uncovers the top half of a partially decomposed body, Nick and Latifa are joined by their Nelson colleagues. Where is the remainder of the body, and when did this murder occur? As the hypotheses change so too does the focus of the investigation. Meanwhile, Nick must face his health and marital problems. When his family is dragged into the investigation he relocates to Nelson and then the police house in Havelock. Latifa also is targeted by the murderer. Carter brings all the contemporary issues into this novel from gun control to environmental concerns, gangs to cults, development versus sustainability, sexual abuse to neighbourhood disagreements. An excellent police procedural! Looking forward to reading Carter’s other novels. – Annette, ACT, 4 Stars

From the outset, Doom Creek captures the essence of kiwi living. The small community connections, long-standing feuds, earthquakes and even a movie set. Alan’s new novel, like life, seems to have everything hit the small community at once. Sergeant Nick Chester is a likeable character that just can’t seem to catch a break. Hamstrung by his boss and taunted by the crims his behaviour leads the story into unpredictable places that more than once landed him in trouble. A great read if you like good crime fiction. – Mary, VIC, 4 Stars

For a basic whodunnit, this is pretty good. The character of Nick Chester, Scottish policeman in New Zealand, is a laid back and take-it-as-it-comes type with a bit of fish out of water feel. The plot takes a meandering journey with a few red herrings thrown in until the surprise finale. No spoilers here but it is a good story wrap up. I have never read any Alan Carter novels before, but as a crime genre one of a series of books it is a satisfying look at a type of story I am familiar with and quite enjoy. The policeman coworkers and family are all quite well fleshed out with the criminal a mystery right until the end. It moves along at a pace that will keep the reader interested. All said and done with a personal cliff hanger ending I think the series has the legs to go along way. – Denis, SA, 4 Stars

Not often does a quality murder mystery story play out in the wilds of country New Zealand. Local Cop, Nick Chester is confronted with a mysterious cold case and a bizarre religious sect implicated in murders in the area. He also has his own demons to wrestle with. A thrilling read filled with tension and intrigue. You will keep turning the pages until the very end. – Peter, NSW, 3 Stars

This isn’t my genre at all, so if it didn’t have all the crimes to solve I would have probably loved it! I really enjoyed the armchair travel to Marlborough Sounds, especially now! I loved the endless cups of coffee and tea and yummy bakery food. The character development was all there and I was completely so worried for everyone. It’s really unfair for the book to have had to cop the Christchurch tragedy, I just assumed it had been inspired by, rather than a foreshadow. – Anna, NSW, 3 Stars

This is my first book by Alan Carter and it took a while to get into the story and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue, I did and glad I finished it, the main character Sergeant Nick Chester had an interesting story. There were a lot of conversations and characters and I got a bit lost, had to read paragraphs a couple of times. I would like to read another book by Alan Carter just to compare the writing. Thanks to better reading for an advance copy. – Lee-anne, NT, 3 Stars

I’d never read any Alan Carter books before, but now that I’ve been introduced to Sergeant Nick Chester I’m gonna have to go back and read Marlborough Man… Doom Creek – what an amazing title! This is an intriguing story, well told, with believable characters, which left me wanting to know more about Nick and his life. My favourite character was Nick’s son Paul (not Paulie!) who helps to humanise an otherwise somewhat (emotionally) cool cop. I’ll definitely be checking out more by Alan Carter – Ayesha, NSW, 3 Stars

Is the Law able to view right from wrong, or can the circumstances be too subjective for that to work? Are guns the problem or the solution? Doom Creek is the second Sergeant Nick Chester novel and follows on directly from Marlborough Man. Written in the first person, the narrative is modern and irreverent and gives the reader a personal view into the complex intertwining of rural town grudges, vendettas, histories and international mercenaries. Set in the South Island of New Zealand, this is more than just a police procedural. It is a look at the vigilante justice that happens when bureaucracy is too slow to act. When a gold prospector is savagely murdered and left in the grocery store freezer, the tensions in the town are heightened as local suspects are investigated. An earthquake at a film site unearths part of a body and this leads Nick Chester to an examination of cold cases to try to identify the body. The similarity between these two murders does not go unnoticed. Throw into the mix an American Doomsday cult setting up a secret headquarters and you have enough suspense and intrigue to keep you wanting to turn the pages. – Catherine, QLD, 3 Stars

Slow-moving, repetitive, too many characters, knowledge of Maori language would be helpful. Hard to follow the plot, however, it came together in the last couple of chapters. – Annette, NSW, 3 Stars

Set in the Malborough Sounds on the South Island of New Zealand, Sergeant Nick Chester is investigating a multifaceted crime. This is the first novel I have read from Alan Carter, but it is his fifth published novel and his second Nick Chester novel. Set in rural New Zealand, Nick Chester is a policeman from the UK who has moved across the world with his wife and son to escape a violent criminal. In this novel, he certainly encounters more of the same, although some in unlikely places. The book includes gold prospectors, Doomsday preppers and a religious sect. The story starts slowly and I found it hard to get in to until about the last 75 pages, and even then, although the actual “crime” part of the novel concludes, it is certainly left open for further character development. Alan Carter is a descriptive writer who is able to paint a picture well and allow the reader to fully immerse themselves in the scene. For me, it was a little too descriptive, but this is a personal preference. As a reader who enjoys crime novels, the plot of this novel was interesting and evolved gradually, however, I personally would not describe it as a page-turner. The reader is certainly introduced appropriately to all the characters, although I found it difficult to follow some of the conversations, often having to re-read the paragraph to figure out who was talking. This was perhaps due to unfamiliarity with the author’s style of writing. – Karyn, SA, 3 Stars

As this book was the second in a series I feared I might feel left behind with the storyline, however, Alan Carter provided plenty of backstory. Doom Creek proved to be a multi-layered mystery with several storylines. In my opinion, maybe a few too many characters were included, at times I struggled to remember who was who. But overall a cracking read, and at the end, I wanted to go to a bakery! – Kate, VIC, 3 Stars

Thanks to Better Reading for my copy of Doom Creek by Alan Carter. This is the first novel I have read by Alan Carter and I did not realise that this novel was a sequel to Carter’s previous novel, Marlborough Man. While enough information is given for this to read as a stand-alone novel, I did think it started slowly and there were a lot of characters to keep track off. At the start, I found that I was often having to re-read paragraphs to figure out who was who and what was going on. Two main characters, who are police officers in a small, quiet country town located in New Zealand usually have mundane police duties. Their lives are suddenly in upheaval while they investigate the uncovering of a partially decomposed body, while the town is disrupted by a group of unpleasant Americans. I usually enjoy crime novels but I found this one a little hard to read, it was hard to hold my interest and was not a page-turner for me. – Ally, TAS, 2 Stars

Thanks to Better Reading for an advance copy to review. I did find this book a bit hard to follow, quite a lot of characters in the book. I enjoyed the NZ landscape mentioned in the book and the references to the Maori culture. – Virginia, NSW, 2 Stars

Whilst Alan Carter set up a very exciting and unique story in Marlborough Man, I couldn’t help but feel that his latest book, Doom Creek, was lacking. The main character Sergeant Nick Chester is interesting but I found it had far too many different characters involved in the plots which made it for me very confusing. It had a couple of ongoing investigations which were far from exciting. Normally I cannot put a book down near the end, but as for Doom’s Creek I slowly managed to reach the end only to be disappointed. – Karin, VIC, 1 Star

Publisher details


Sergeant Nick Chester has dodged the Geordie gangsters he once feared, is out of hiding and looking forward to a quiet life. But gold fever is creating ill-feeling between prospectors, and a new threat lurks in the form of trigger-happy Americans preparing for Doomsday by building a bolthole at the top of the South Island.As tensions simmer in the Wakamarina valley, Nick finds himself working on a cold-case murder and investigating a scandal-plagued religious sect. When local and international events reach fever pitch, Chester finds himself up against an evil that knows no borders.
Alan Carter
About the author

Alan Carter

Alan Carter was born in Sunderland, UK. He immigrated to Australia in 1991 and lives in Fremantle with his wife Kath and son Liam. He works as a television documentary director. In his spare time he follows a black line up and down the Fremantle pool. He is the author of three Cato Kwong novels – Prime Cut,Getting Warmer and Bad Seed.


Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction (Winner 2010) UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award (Shortlisted 2010)

Books by Alan Carter


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