Friday, August 4, 2017

My take on: Shadow Girl

Is it ever a good idea to read book #2 in a series, if you haven't read book #1? I'm a staunch believer in reading a series in sequence. Not having all the background details of the prior book could make for a disappointing read. But sometimes the plot description wins me over. The review pitch for Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt sounded intriguing. And trust me, you don't need to have read book #1 to get sucked into this thrilling mystery!

Leland Odin is the wealthy CEO of Diamond Shopping Network, and he is on the verge of death. His days are numbered if he doesn't get a heart transplant. Leland's luck changes for the better when a donor heart becomes available. The joy is short-lived when the helicopter carrying the donor heart is shot down, killing both pilots, injuring dozens, and taking away Leland's shot at survival. Leland made a very powerful enemy in Mom Chao Cherry, and she will not stop until he pays for stealing from her. I should say I don't see that little nugget of information as a spoiler since it's revealed very early that Mom Chao is behind the helicopter crash. It's the why and the how that's at the heart of this mystery.

Enter lead detective Max Montgomery and his defacto partner family liaison officer Afton Tangler. Afton isn't a cop, she's called upon to be an advocate for victims and their families. But she aspires to be a cop. She's around them all day, Afton can't help but thinking and acting like a cop. She's a vital member of the local police department, and hopes that Chief Thacker will soon see how valuable Afton could be as member of the police force. Max supports Afton's dream, but cautions her to take things one step at a time. She's quick to put herself in dangerous situations, leading Max to constantly remind Afton how her impulsiveness could put her in danger. As a single mother of two daughters, Poppy and Tess, Afton is often reminded that she has a family that depends on her to come home safely every night. However, investigating the crash and the deep plot behind it, is full of danger.

With little clues to start with, Afton and Max are left to investigate everyone in Leland's life. Did his trophy wife, Sunny, have a hand in this? Did she want access to Leland's money sooner rather than later? What about his robotic stepdaughter, Terrell? She acts like she has no interest in her stepfather's money, but Terrell is definitely hiding something. Her aura of perfectionism is just a facade. Meanwhile, Mom Chao Cherry is just getting started in her revenge against Leland. She's one of the most powerful criminal figures in Thailand, if Leland knew what was good for him he would have left Mom Chao alone.

Each chapter peels back a layer of the mystery. Yes the investigation plays out like a by-the-book police procedural, but this is by no means a boring book. It's a fast-paced, engrossing novel and I highly recommend it!

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Berkley) in exchange for an honest review.
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