on May 23rd 2017
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Shadow man begins as a serial killer is watching a woman preparing her evening meal completely unaware that she is being watched. Detective Ben Wade is called in to assist in the investigation. It quickly becomes evident that this quiet Southern California town now has a serial killer who is adept at being still, quietly waiting to sneak undetected into the homes of his victims. Assisted by medical examiner, Natasha Betencourt, Detective Ben Wade attempts to solve this crime, when the body of an illegal teenager is found in a field. Could these cases be related? The M.O. is not the same, the serial killer strangles his victims, this young man was shot in the head with all signs pointing to suicide. Troubled by the youths death, Detective Wade begins looking into this death and his past comes rushes back to him.
Detective Wade has a secret and it has haunted and affected him for years. His secret has had a negative effect on his marriage. He currently has joint custody of his daughter and keeps a close eye on her and his ex-wife. If dealing with a murder investigation is not enough, Ben has issues to deal with at home. He is uncomfortable with his daughter dating a boy a couple of years older than her and fears she will make some poor choices that he hopes she does not regret.
As the investigation continues we see Detective Wade wrestle with his past, his conscience and his feelings of responsibility. He is a good man. It was touching to see him offer to pay for the burial of the dead youth. He is also a conflicted man with a lot on his plate. His conflict is really what made this book shine for me. Yes, this book is about solving a crime(s), but it also a glimpse into one man’s life. We see his inner struggles, his hard time trying to be a protective loving father without alienating his daughter. He is attempting to cope with his divorce, trying to figure out his friendship with Natasha, deal with his elderly Mother and also be a good detective. It becomes evident as the bodies pile up that his secret cannot be hidden any longer.
This isn’t your classic murder mystery/thriller book. I found this to be refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE mysteries. I love police procedural books. I worked in forensics for years and these books get my juices flowing especially when done well! But this book is different in the best possible way. There is not a lot of police procedural in this book but there doesn’t need to be. Work is being done to solve the cases but the real beauty is in Ben’s conflict, his struggles, his story as he attempts to hunt down a killer and put another behind bars.
Yes, we do get to see into the mind of the killer and his horrific childhood. His mind has become as twisted as his body. These glimpses are insightful and also serve to keep the crime/mystery part of the book moving. But let’s be real – this book is about Ben. As Martha Stewart would say “It’s a Good thing.” I found this book to be a perfect mix of various elements: mystery, thriller, drama, etc. The pacing of this book was great – nothing felt rushed or forced. Living in Southern California, I could easily imagine this book taking place, I had a vivid image in my mind on Ben and his daughter horseback riding in the mountains, the fields the migrant workers worked and lived in, the quiet dusty towns. This book had mood and atmosphere which almost felt like another character at times.
I received a copy of this book from Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.