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Ratings and Reviews (2 2 star ratings
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    Planned Community

    Shadow Man is a good book with strong plotting and relatively strong characterisation. Unfortunately, it did not stand above the herd of books in this genre sufficiently to garner anything more than 3 stars from me even though I did enjoy reading it. Our main protagonist, Ben, has moved back to his home town to get away from the violence of Los Angeles but it seems it may have followed him. Whilst Ben is busy bemoaning his marriage breaking up and the erosion of the Cowboy way of life in the canyons the Night Prowler is making his way down the Pacific Coast Highway and striking at random in quiet planned communities on it's path. So far so good, if a little trite in places. At least Ben appears to be a troubled cop with a lowercase t rather than the more standard uppercase one. He is maintaining a relationship with his family and doesn't appear to be alcoholic (although he has flirted with it). Then he finds an illegal Mexican shot in the back of the head in a strawberry field and this leads him back into his own past (cue descent in to Troubled). Although the themes explored are handled well and the writing has good flow and cadence it still feels all a little contrived. Too much angst from Ben about his past and his decisions start to look more and more like those of a maverick cop. We have more than a surfeit of those in this genre and it would have been nice to have a more balanced character at the helm. The resolution of the book is not a cliched one and is paced correctly for maximum reader satisfaction. The villain of the piece is described with some amount of empathy so he is not just a stereotype from the writer's handbook - I just wasn't convinced that either Ben or the Night Prowler could have made their way up the steep canyon side in their respective conditions. Overall this is not a bad book but neither is it a great book. It is a good book within it's genre and you won't feel cheated reading I was just, somehow, left expecting more from it.
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    Great read!

    "Shadow Man" by Alan Drew is a suspenseful and entertaining thriller that I really enjoyed reading from start to finish. Although not the sadistic, psychotic serial killer book some maybe expecting but still a very well written crime book that's as much a character driven story as a murder one. It has your typical mixed up and troubled serial killer, the actual murders as they happen, dead bodies, the chase to catch the killer before he strikes again and a detective who has his own deep, dark, long buried secret that suddenly starts to sadly expose itself. I loved how we got straight into the serial killer's mind in the opening of the book and I enjoy reading books that have chapters dedicated to a killer and his/her thoughts. Due to this style of writing we were able to see the killer's past and what brought him/her to commit the murders, the actual murders themselves through their eyes and more importantly the truth of what went on during an unexplained death in the story. The characters are very well developed, likeable and interesting. Detective Ben Wade, a solid, decent policeman, is carrying a painful dark secret that starts to raise its ugly head when sadly, it looks like what he's been trying to come to terms with over the years is still going on. At the same time he's trying to be a good father to his teenage daughter Emma and protect both her and his ex wife Rachel from the unknown killer. I also liked forensic specialist Natasha, her kindness towards the dead was lovely of her personality and truly showed her true emotions towards her harrowing job, while at the same time you learnt her past and came to know her very well. The author has also created a fabulous atmospheric setting of Southern California, which I found quite unique and with excellent literary writing, descriptive and creative narrative that was intriguing and entertaining, this is a really good book that I would have no hesitation in recommending. Quite a slow burner but still keeping an acceptable pace, I'm truly pleased I've read this book and would be more than happy to read more by Alan Drew again. 4 stars
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