Friday 16 April 2021

The Shadow Man - Helen Fields

He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.

Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.
Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.
Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
And he’s watching.

What did I think?

I've bought Helen Fields' DI Callanach series over the years but I haven't had time to read any of them yet so I made sure that The Shadow Man, her new standalone thriller, didn't linger on my TBR pile for long.  It didn't linger in my hands long either as once I picked it up I couldn't put it down!

The character pairing of forensic psychologist Dr Connie Woolwine and DI Brodie Baarda is electric, not in a sexual chemistry kind of way but more the way they complement and challenge each other.  I loved Connie's sarcasm and wit above all but she also suffers from achromatopsia (an inability to see colours) which heightens her other senses and sometimes makes her actions look very weird.  It's absolute genius of Helen Fields to give Connie this condition; who best to seek out the shadow man than a woman who only sees light and dark?

Woolwine and Baarda are investigating a murder and a spate of abductions in Edinburgh.  In an unusual twist, the reader knows the identity of the perpetrator so there's no guessing whodunit or a big reveal involved, but surprisingly it doesn't make it any less gripping.  Fergus is the most chilling character I have come across in a long while; he is cold and emotionless as he collects his victims for his bizarre tableau.  He is so vividly described (with a rather amusing likeness to a character in a film) that it made my skin crawl whenever he appeared.  

Helen Fields sure does have a way with words; she not only creates exceptional characters and gripping storylines but she adds elements of dark, dry humour that makes her book stand out from the crowd.  The whole book is outstanding from beginning to end and I didn't want it to finish but I couldn't slow down my reading either...and so begins my addiction to Helen Fields' writing.  Luckily I have more of her books to keep me going!

Chilling, creepy and compelling, The Shadow Man will get under your skin and creep you out but you will not be able to tear your eyes away from the page.  Highly recommended reading, if you're brave enough.

I received an ARC from the publisher to read and review; all opinions are my own.

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