Mak Vanderwall

Created by Tara Moss

I‘ve only read one MAKEDDE “MAK” VANDERWALL book so far, and I  the character appears to be closely based on the author herself, a Canadian ex-pat and former model now living in Australia.

Mak is studying forensic psychologist and working as a part-time model… and a budding P.I. for the Marion Wendell agency in Sydney. She’s ambitious, tough and nobody’s bimbo–there’s a definite whiff of Lisbeth Salander coming off her–she even tools around Sydney on a motorbike (although it should be noted that Mak predated Lisbeth by five or six years).

I’ve got to say, I was far from impressed with Hit (2006), finding the story  continually bogged down by Mak moping over her personal life, while the investigation dragged to the point that it was unfinished by the book’s conclusion (obviously, you’re supposed to read the next one, I guess). I’d recommend this one last on my list if I were to rank them.

Somebody must like them, though. Her debut, Fetish (1999), was shortlisted for the 2000 Ned Kelly award for Best First Novel, and won the 1999 Sassy Award for Best Novel, and by the time her second book was published, she was already being billed as “Australias #1 selling (and #1 sexiest) crime writer.” Mind you, that may have more to do with the Yowsah! packaging of both the series and the author, and the milieu of hookers and strippers Mak seems to be constantly wandering through–when she’s not going up against vast criminal conspiracies and serial killers.


Born in Victoria, British Columbia, and residing in Sydney, Australia, Tara Moss is proud of her dual Australian/Canadian citizenship. A former fashion model (she certainly looks better in lingerie than Raymond Chandler ever did), she spends her time, when not researching and writing, riding her 900cc Triumph Scrambler motorcycle and spending time with her two pythons and her faithful dog “Bogart.” She also serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and does work for the YWCA and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. She also hosts the crime documentary series “Tara Moss Investigates” on the National Geographic Channel in the UK, across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.



Report respectfully submitted by Damien Gay of Crime Down Under, with additional information by Kevin Burton Smith.

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