When the wilderness is not your only enemy, who do you trust?

“A breathtakingly fast-paced and original eco/wilderness thriller.” Karin Cox

"A superb book – a gripping story with plenty of mystery and twists." Wordsmith, Goodreads

"Poison Bay is the rare debut that feels as though it’s being handled by a veteran." Literary Inklings

"If you like mysteries or stories about the outdoors, I can’t recommend this book highly enough." The TBR Pile

"If you only read one book this year, make it Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard. An absolutely brilliant read." Beauty Balm

  • Winner -- IPPY Awards Silver Medal 2015

  • Winner -- Varuna Publisher Fellowship for Manuscript Development 2011

  • About Poison Bay...

    “The Maori call this place Ata Whenua—Shadow Land.”

    Television reporter Callie Brown likes safe places with good coffee. But she joins friends from the past on a trek into New Zealand’s most brutal wilderness, in the hope of healing a broken heart.

    What she doesn’t know is that someone wants them all dead.

    Lost in every sense of the word, the hikers’ primal instincts erupt. Surrounded by people who have harbored secrets for a decade, Callie must choose the right ally if she doesn’t want to be the next to die…

    Eight people were in the room when a beautiful teenager died. Ten years later, they are together again, invited to trek into the wild heart of Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. Most are not athletes, so why have they agreed to come? Old loves and old rivalries reignite as the group begins to disintegrate. 

    They were told their expedition would establish an alternative to the famed Milford Track. By the time they understand that its true purpose is much more sinister, it is too late. Far from the reach of outside help, they must face a deadly wilderness and a murderer alone.

  • About the author...

    Belinda Pollard is an award-winning former journalist who loves mountain hiking despite bad knees and a fear of heights. She has been a professional writer/editor for decades, and a contributor to the Closer to God series since 1999.

    The words “Poison Bay” on a map triggered her journey to the sinister end of the bookshelf. Spooky and remote, it was a location just begging for a mystery. Poison Bay is her first novel, and won a Varuna Publisher Fellowship in 2011.

    Belinda lives in Brisbane, Australia where she undertakes ball-throwing duties for a dog named Rufus, and turns on the air-conditioning so she can dream of snow…


What people are saying about Poison Bay...

The writing is wonderful – at times I felt I was there alongside the characters in the cold and relentless rain on the side of a mountain in New Zealand. This is a story about greed and revenge and how they can destroy lives...  friendship and teamwork and parents’ love for their children... survival of the elements, mistrust and faith. I rarely write the over-used term ‘page-turner’, but in this case it is fully justified ... I have no hesitation in recommending it to mystery/thriller readers or those that like a tale set in the wild outdoors. 5 STARS


As you read, you will feel as if you are there and it is certainly not where you want to be. You will make it out alive, but who else will be with you? Very exciting reading! 5 STARS

Barbara J. Tobey
Amazon Reviewer

The characters were believable, the location vividly described. I felt the cold, the rain, the wind as well as the discomfort of the trampers. It was a story I was keen to continue reading and sorry when it was ended. A great first novel.

Anne Moorhouse
Amazon Reviewer

If you only read one book this year, make it Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard. An absolutely brilliant read.

Blogger -- Beauty Balm

Eight people start out on a trek in New Zealand’s wilderness. Eight people are supposed to die, and this is the story of a fight for survival. ... I love stories that transport me to a different world, suck me into the lives and emotions of others so that I become unaware of my surroundings ... (Curled up on my sofa in front of the fire is not actually the same as being on a precarious ledge on a mountain while being battered by wind and driving rain and wondering whether someone has me in the sights of a rifle, but in my mind I was RIGHT THERE!) The characters are well written – not just the eight friends, but the anxious mother and the tenacious police officer as well. ... It is clear also that Belinda Pollard has carried out thorough research. If you like mysteries or stories about the outdoors, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

The TBR Pile

If you want to go to sleep early, don't start this book at night; you'll find yourself avidly turning the next page in the small hours wondering who is next and whether it will be the killer, or the beautiful, savage wilderness of New Zealand's Fjordland that will be the cause of the next death.


It is a hugely enjoyable read, which had me guessing throughout. It is packed with action and full of gripping description of one of New Zealand's most remote and magnificent landscapes. I felt I was there, with the (gradually dwindling) group, smelling and seeing, touching and experiencing savage nature in all her glory for better and worst. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the author seamlessly wove the mountain rescue team's story with the main story. 5 STARS


Suspenseful and nearly impossible to put down, the story grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them guessing as deeper layers slowly begin to reveal themselves. … Poison Bay is a diligent study of human behavior, of how tragedy can unhinge us and desperation can motivate us; it also examines the way we look at people, as Callie begins to understand her misguided teenage fancies and sees the merit in people she had always overlooked for their simplicity. 5 STARS

Casee Marie
Literary Inklings

Poison Bay is a journey of self-discovery in the same mould as Deliverance (without the duelling banjos) and Lord of the Flies (without the kids) and, on a lighter note, City Slickers (without the laughs), but up there with them in the memorability stakes.  I’ll definitely be on the look-out for Belinda Pollard’s next novel.

Debbie Young
Debbie Young's Reading Life

Read about the making of this book...

I wanted to know what it really felt like to hike those mountains, so I could describe it in my book. I wanted to write notes and take photos and interview people.

The Mosquito Bite
The Mosquito Bite www.belindapollard.com

...I was a former journalist and a developing mystery writer, so this is what I thought: This landscape would make a good murder weapon. (Yes, I know, I know. And you thought I was a nice person.)...

Poison Bay: The next big thing?
Poison Bay: The next big thing? www.belindapollard.com

...I heard stories of narrow escapes in the wilderness… people being thrown bodily off hiking trails by the wind, becoming disorientated in sudden summer blizzards, or endangered by “tree avalanches” – after heavy rain, dense rainforest can slide down off the mountain leaving in its place hundreds of storeys of bare near-vertical granite...

The long trail to Poison Bay, by Belinda Pollard
The long trail to Poison Bay, by Belinda Pollard The Writing Desk - Tony Riches

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