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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • An outstanding read!

    Shadow Sands is a tantalising crime thriller and is the second instalment in the Kate Marshall series. Still reeling from the events in Nine Elms, I had been eagerly waiting for Shadow Sands and once I got my hands on a copy, I immediately got stuck into it and what is always the case with Robert Bryndza’s books, I was not disappointed! Just a heads up that Shadow Sands can be read as a standalone, but I do recommend you reading Nine Elms first, as it is another brilliant read! For Kate Marshall’s second outing, we see her become embroiled in a case involving the death of a young man whom her son Jake and herself find in the reservoir, Shadow Sands whilst out diving. The victims mother is unable to accept what the police have deemed a tragic accident and she enlists the help of Kate who quickly realises that things don’t add up about this mans death. With the help of her research assistant Tristan Harper, they set out in search of the truth and what they uncover is more than they bargained for. Shadow Sands is set two years after the events of Nine Elms and although not as dark, still packs a punch. Robert Bryndza kicks things off with a chilling prologue and first chapter, which sets off the tone of the book well. From there, in true Robert Bryndza form, things move at breakneck speed never letting up until the final page. The ending is satisfying and I like where it is going to head next. It has also been well researched, plotted and perfectly executed. I instantly connected with Kate Marshall in Nine Elms and it was great to catch up with her again. She has been through a lot and although not without flaws, I admire her strength to keep pushing on when her personal struggles, could see her giving up. Tristan Harper plays more of a role this time and I loved how we see a more vulnerable side to him, when something significant he has been hiding has to come out. He is also a great character and I love the dynamics between him and Kate. They really do compliment each other well. What I love about Robert Bryndza’s books is you know you are going to get a first class read each and every time and Shadow Sands in no different. He has a knack of pulling you into these fictitious worlds that he masterfully creates and with writing that is so vivid, has you experiencing the story as the characters do. I love it when an author is able to do this, which just enhances the greatness of the story all the more for me. Already after two books this series is now a favourite of mine and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Kate next. I could just write about Robert Bryndza’s books all day. He really knows how to spin a tale and with each book he writes, he raises the bar higher and higher. His plots are always fresh and he creates characters that you find yourself really caring about. He is a real talent and one of the best crime thriller authors out there and I hope will be writing books for many years to come. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review Shadow Sands which I highly recommend.

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  • Great British crime fiction

    Shadow Sands is the second book in the Kate Marshall series by British author, Robert Bryndza. While diving with her son in the Shadow Sands Reservoir, Kate Marshall discovers the recently-dead body of a young man, Simon Kendal. The police quickly (too quickly?) rule it accidental drowning, but it doesn’t sit right with Kate, a former police detective and now lecturer in Criminology at Ashdean. Simon’s mother asks Kate to investigate, citing Simon’s fitness as an Olympic-level swimmer, and the absence of alcohol in his system. Lyn Kendal suspects Simon’s best friend, Geraint Jones, but Kate and her research assistant, Tristan Harper, note the inconsistencies in both the police case and this theory. Then an attractive young professor at Ashdean with an interest in “The Fog Phantom of the A1328” goes missing on a foggy Sunday from the A1328. Kate and Tristan follow up on the young woman’s research and begin to suspect there is a serial killer at work. There’s plenty of good detective work apparent here, despite Kate’s handicap of a lack of access to police resources. Her assistant’s talents are clearly an asset. Bryndza gives the reader a solid plot with a few red herrings and a nice twist, a little Nine Elms Cannibal distraction and an exciting climax. The ends are neatly tied up in the epilogue, with a promise of more from this pair. Great British crime fiction. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer.

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  • Perfect thriller

    Ex-Police Detective turned University Lecturer and Private Detective Kate Marshall is back in the second instalment of her thriller series. This time a young man’s body has been found by Kate whilst she was diving in the Shadow Sands reservoir with her son Jake. The police rule it as an accidental drowning but the boy’s mother is sure there is more to it and asks Kate to investigate. Her investigation, with her young colleague Tristan, takes them on a frightening path, one that might just put their lives in danger. They are also looking for a missing lecturer from the university whose disappearance may just have something to do with the case they are working on. I first came across Kate Marshall at the start of the year in Robert Bryndza’s book ‘Nine Elms‘. The book was so dark and terrifying in places and yet I couldn’t put it down, so when I heard Kate was back I just had to continue her story. Whilst this book can be read as a standalone I do personally think that you miss out on Kate’s backstory and the hard relationship she has with her parents and her son, who her parents have custody of. You also miss out on a great story. This time Kate reluctantly helps out the mother of a boy found dead in the reservoir, he was a champion swimmer and there was no way that he just drowned. She is convinced that his friend killed him and wants Kate to help. She feels sorry for the woman and also a little guilty at being the person who found his body. Under pressure from herself she agrees but what started as a simple case turns far more deadly and sinister. Again I was captivated by the plot which just kept on giving. The main part of the story is Kate and Tristan trying to piece together what is happening in a place called Ashdean, where the Shadow Sands reservoir is. There are also sections from the missing lecturer Magdalena and her capture. You do get to understand that her kidnapping is related to the case Kate is working on and to a local family who owns much of the area but I hadn’t worked out who the person was by the time it was revealed, which doesn’t happen often. Shadow Sands had me glued to the pages, I didn’t want to put in down once I had begun. In fact, I read it in just two sittings as I needed to know what was going on and who the culprit was. I now can’t want to delve back into Kate’s world and see what new cases come her way.

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  • Excellent Suspenseful Thriller

    Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza A Kate Marshall Thriller #2 Chilling, creepy, killer abducting, terrorizing, torturing, and killing unsuspecting young people is the focus of the case Kate takes on in this book. A young man dies and then a professor where Kate teaches disappears and the hunt is on to find out where she is and what really happened that caused Simon’s death. Great book! What I liked: * Kate: smart, tenacious, methodical, uses her police background wisely, flawed but likable. I am invested in hearing more about her. * Tristan: a great investigator, supportive, good brother, shares a personal truth in this book, likable and a great person for Kate to have as her assistant. * Jake: Kate’s son is mature for his 16 years on earth. I have a feeling there will be more about him in the future. * The many threads followed in pursuit of finding the evil person doing wicked things and how it was all tied up in the end. * Magdalena: admirable woman with internal strength that was amazing * The plot, writing, twists, turns, and surprises * That the baddie was caught in the end What I didn’t like: * Knowing that psycho sickos exist and do the horrible things they do * The Baker family all seemed a bit off the deep end and overly entitled * Having to wait for the next book to be ready to read. Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I read more in this series/by this author? Definitely! Thank you to NetGalley and Tomas & Mercer for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars

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  • A gripping new instalment in Kate Marshall series

    I really enjoyed reading this second book in Robert Bryndza's Kate Marshall series. The plot is multi-layered and twisty, a slow build of tension to a gripping edge-of-your seat conclusion. Two years after the action of Nine Elms (Kate Marshall #1), former police officer Kate is again drawn away from her work as an academic into a real life crime. While diving in the Shadow Sands reservoir with her 16-year-old son, Jake, Kate comes across the recently deceased body of a young man. After becoming aware of a series of worrying discrepancies in the police investigation, and having been approached by the mother of the young man, Kate and her assistant Tristan again take on their private investigator mantle and begin trying to uncover the truth. The stakes are raised when an Italian academic, Magdalena, who has recently befriended Tristan, goes missing on a stretch of the A1238 notorious for disappearances of young women over recent years. I feel that Shadow Sands is a step up from its predecessor, Nine Elms, both in terms of plot and character development - the previous book perhaps suffered from the weight of the lead character's backstory which, while essential to understanding her motivations, sometimes detracted from the main plotline. I still find some of Bryndza's prose and dialogue a bit awkward - he also seems to frequently fall foul of the "show, don't tell" maxim. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable and stimulating read, with great characters and a gripping finale. My thanks to the author, Robert Bryndza, publisher Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title in advance of its publication on 3 November 2020.

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