Shadow Man

Shadow Man

Large Print - 2017 | Large print ed
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There's been a killing in Rancho Santa Elena, CA, with a woman strangled in her home. Called to the scene is Ben Wade, a former LAPD detective who had returned to his hometown to escape hectic city life. It soon becomes apparent that the quaint town, where people know one another by name and leave their doors unlocked, has a serial killer on the loose. A second death, an apparent teen suicide, sends Ben reeling, as the young boy had been a member of the high school swim team that Ben once belonged to. Now Ben must revisit a past that he would rather forget. He also must come to grips with knowing his ex-wife is involved with someone else and his daughter is growing up faster than he would like.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, c2017
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781432842680
Branch Call Number: LP DREW
Characteristics: 565 pages (large print) ; 22 cm


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May 10, 2017

F-4's flying overhead, watching VHS movies, wait wait don't tell me that I'm confused. Then I get it, this book is set in the ever-expanding L.A. suburbs of 1986. Not a conceit, this is important. What some of the characters have to finally do would have been SO much harder back in the 1980s. and would take a much larger measure of courage.

This book is all about victims; the woman laying on her kitchen floor, the young, promising, unclaimed, and undocumented boy lying in the strawberry fields, and the restless detective tasked with finding answers and courage. This is a book about demons; those controlled and those uncontrolled. Think about it, we had just learned about Ted Bundy, Silence of the Lambs hadn't been published yet; BSU was really just coming into its own. Serial killers were a fairly new concept back then. They sure as hell hadn't been romanticized in fiction yet, except of course Jack/Jill the Ripper.

This is a story of two death investigations. Two serial killers, one physical and one of the soul.
This is a story of forceful redemptive love, but not a love story. This story moves-both the pace and the reader. This a story of destruction; the physical beauty of southern California until the developers move in and the destruction caused by long held secrets.
Quibble-of sorts, any one of us will probably be squirming at the crime scene investigation thinking they could be a better murder detective at the scene and do much better forensic work. Those scenes will show how much real forensics -not CSI crap- has grown in 20 years.

But at those same death scenes, such a grace note, the assistant ME Natalie Betancourt being questioned about her tender treatment and saying "A little kindness to take with them.” Her perception and tenderness continues through out the story holding the promise of hope.

This is a beautifully written book that explores damage on all levels; physical of the body and landscape, psychological, and of the soul. The old saying, no one escapes this life alive, no one escapes this story unmarked.

Mar 12, 2017

Just so prospective readers know: this is not a thriller. Maybe those in charge of publicity were trying to tap into that market but they do a disservice to the author.
He's penned a fine, family drama/police procedural about a man coming to terms with his past. He just happens to be a cop involved in the search for a serial killer.
That part of the plot is secondary & frequently interrupted by long passages detailing the childhood of Ben Wade, a cop who moved back to this home town of Rancho Santa Elena, a bedroom community north of Los Angeles in an effort to save his failing marriage.
The author has some serious skills & those who enjoy a poignant character driven mystery will find much to like here. Those picking it up expecting an edge-of-your-set thriller will be disappointed & perhaps a bit cranky after being misled by the publisher.


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