Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review: The Night Shadow by Chéri Vausé

The Night Shadow, by Chéri Vausé
2014, 442p, Mystery/Suspense
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the author for an honest review

The first four years of the 1960s have been filled with tragedy and violence for Esther Charlemagne; divorce from her abusive, alcoholic husband, the death of her thirteen year-old son, the assassination of President Kennedy, and her battle with breast cancer. None of these events, however, have prepared her for the investigation of her life, into the circumstantial death of a talented young ballet dancer, killed in a mysterious fire. Teamed with her former partner on the New York City Police, Aiden "Mac" McManus, the case will be the first that their fledgling private investigation firm will take on, engaging all the skills learned while detectives on the elite homicide squad of the NYPD. Amid the deception and danger, Esther and Mac are thrown together and forced to face their own demons and their long-buried feelings for each other.

"From the first page, The Night Shadow grabs you with instant fascination, as a serial killer’s work pulls you into this journey of intrigue, adding surprise at every turn. Just when you think you’ve solved the mystery, the author cleverly throws another curve. The story is rife with psychological elements, putting you inside each character’s mind, the motives for suspicious behaviors, misinformation, and murder. As the journey progresses, characters change their masks. Good? Bad? Innocent? Guilty? Suspense rises. And the story takes on new tones along the way.

The road to discovery is traveled by two private investigators, former police officers, pursuing the crafty and illusive killer. Esther and Mac are in their familiar realm of activity, but now with more latitude to cut corners and surpass accepted methods of pursuit. They encounter many clues, lies, and dead ends, but are driven by any means to expose the devious killer and stop the seemingly senseless murders. As they attempt to unravel the pieces, their romantic relationship struggles to survive, each with their own inner pain to deal with. Esther’s over-involvement with the case becomes a reflection of her personal inner turmoil brought to the surface, and plays an important part in the ongoing turn of events.

As the story unfolds, the author guides you from one character, one suspenseful event, one emotional experience to another… and another… and another, changing lives in the process. In places, the story seems to approach resolution, but then takes an unexpected turn, and the journey moves on. And everything might be a clue. But many clues are misleading, and you will finally be brought to a most astounding ending.

In this book, the author presents a fascinating chain of events and, given the many characters involved, you will need to get to know them, for they will turn up again with meaning in the story. Final resolution on this intriguing journey will invite your re-assessment of where you’ve been, the clues, the surprises, the struggles, the emotional ups and downs you’ve experienced. And you will re-live much of it before you can put the book down. And you will feel very satisfied and gratified. A read you won’t forget."

This story takes place in the 1960's and is three stories in one! It starts in Los Angeles and ends up in New York. We have Esther and Mac, former NYPD detectives who are now private investigators in Los Angeles. When the book begins, they are working on a Peeping Tom case, which comes to an interesting conclusion. They have a complicated relationship and work through their issues throughout the book.

The same night we meet them, a ballerina is practicing at a warehouse turned into a dance studio. A fire breaks out and she is caught inside and dies. It takes a while for them to become involved in this case, but the dancer's parents reach out to them since they feel like it was a homicide rather than a tragic accident. Also that same night, a different dancer wakes up realizing she's been assaulted. As we learn more about her and her connection to the other dancer, the plot thickens.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! There were times that I felt the scenes with Esther and Mac went a bit long and I wanted them to get back to solving the case. They did have quite a bit to figure out, though, and we were given bits and pieces of their history and families along the way.

I loved trying to figure out what was happening and had to pay close attention. Things weren't always what they appeared to be and this book was full of surprises. Towards the end, I couldn't put it down because I wanted to see how everything came together and the ending was satisfying!

Content: Mild swearing, talk of rape (no details)

The Noir Mystery Thriller is not your ordinary mystery or thriller. You take a walk on the "noir side", confronting shadows and psychological twisters, doppelgängers, and ghosts. Using Carl Jung's Shadow Archetype, Chéri Vausé developed a unique way of developing her heroes and villains, and carrying the plot points through the lives of both. Just when you think you know what's going on, you're wrong. Chéri offers her hand to help lead you through the lies of The Truth and Nothing but Lies, and to walk briskly through The Night Shadow (the first book of The Shadow series). Shudder at the icy characters in The Touch of a Shadow (the second book in The Shadow series). Scream when you stand at the edge of the cliff in Cornwall in the new Gothic Thriller, The Portrait of Lilith, to be released in 2016. Dress to Kill, and meet her on a dark, foggy night, where shadows startle and menace, and you just might have to face yourself.

~ Chéri Vausé is an author, lecturer, and noted expert on the Catholic Ladder, a time line developed by the Jesuit black robes sent to the Americas to teach the scriptures. She has taught theology for twenty years using the Talmud (Rabbinic commentaries on the scripture), the Aggadah (Oral stories of the Old Testament), the Kabbalah (the Jewish ladder of creation), the Catholic Catechism, and Canon Law as resources.

~ Chéri has travelled and lived all over the continental US and Europe. When she chose a place to settle, nothing would do but Texas. She settled on a small ranch in South Central Texas with her husband, the love of her life. She is a mother and grandmother, and a willing vassal to her majesty, a Coydog named Scully (half coyote and half beagle), and her partner in crime, Mulder, a black Great Pyrenees. Together they equal an X-File.


Post a Comment