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    Genre-crossing romantic thriller

    Lying in Shadows, the first book of her new Event Horizon series appears to be set before the events of Sofia Grey’s bestselling Talisman series, but many old book friends do appear. Marianne is a fast-rising young executive who has just been put in charge of the elite team charged with uncovering the source and target of corporate espionage at her American-based company. She returns to London, where her new boss is Marcus. Marianne and Marcus have worked together in the past and never acknowledged their mutual attraction—Marcus because he has a wife and baby, and Marianne because she’s never gotten over her former lover, the rocker AJ who now heads up super band, Event Horizon. The long hours and high stakes of their investigation take their toll on all members of the team. As admin Sylvie and forensic accountant Rico begin a tentative relationship, Marcus and Marianne become lovers. Meanwhile, Marianne’s old lover Alex (now AJ) is rescued from a suicidal depression when he meets his new neighbors and their houseguest, each of whom is related and/or married to someone on Marianne’s task force. Meanwhile, a sinister and shadowy figure lurks in the background, twisting all these all these characters and their varied story threads toward his own malevolent ends. As mentioned in my reviews of some of her earlier books, I admire author Grey’s command of character development, split-second thriller pacing, and especially her fearless approach to mashing genres and subverting tropes. In Addiction, for example, the usual Good Girl gets Bad Boy trope that’s powered everything from Georgette Heyer’s regency rakes to most of Hollywood is subverted when her Good Boy hero goes after the motorcycle-riding, addiction-dependent, leather-wearing Badass Girl. In this new book, though, Sofia Grey moves past genre mashing through a breath-stealing parade of genres–rock star romance, marry-the-boss, star-crossed lovers, tragedy, thriller, corporate espionage, love triangle… no wait… love tetragon… or maybe love hendecagon…or big-friggin-love-mess-agon… where everyone has slept with everyone else at some point, all while being shot, stabbed, beaten up, kidnapped, and bitch-slapped. And she nails it. Each character is so well-drawn that the huge cast is memorable and three-dimensional. But in what I’m coming to see as author Sophia Grey’s trademark, each character is also fundamentally flawed—toting emotional baggage, scars, or still-open wounds. Their wounds also blind each in some basic way, leaving them unable to correctly interpret or even perceive the true feelings and motivations of those around them. Lying in Shadows is not a perfect book. The villain, oddly, is so flatly malevolent that some of the suspense leading to the undoubtedly adrenaline-pumping climax is muted. But for me, the biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the main characters, Marianne and Marcus. She came across as emotionally dishonest and manipulative, while he was weak and whining. It was hard (okay, impossible) for me to root for these star-crossed lovers, when they seemed to have so little regard for the other lives—wife, child, lover, employee, friend—being smashed by their relationship. But, as with all Sofia Grey novels, if you’re willing to take on a large cast of flawed characters who grow, love, suffer, and above all change during the course of the book, Lying in Shadows is a good choice. And if you’re looking for a book whose steady pace and world building hurls to a breath-stopping climax, Lying in Shadows makes a terrific start to a new series. As always, I can’t wait to see what Sofia Grey comes up with next. **I received this book for free from the publisher or author to facilitate an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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