Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Shadow Fall

SHADOW FALL
Tracers #9
Laura Griffin
Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Pocket Books
357 pages
Available Now
Source: Bought

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Special Agent Tara Rushing arrives at a grisly murder scene and quickly discovers she’s got a serial killer on her hands. The killer is meticulous, making sure to wipe up even the smallest traces of evidence…but the Delphi Center experts are on the case.

The local sheriff has a suspect all picked out—ex-Marine and current security expert Liam Wolfe. Despite all her digging, Tara knows very little about Liam when she shows up at his sprawling Texas compound, which serves as headquarters for Wolfe Securities, and she’s surprised by her intense physical reaction to him.

As she and Liam grow closer, Tara finds herself depending on his skills and expertise to help her track a killer. But when another body turns up, Tara must decide if she can trust the man who’s quickly stealing her heart.


MY THOUGHTS
Shadow Fall easily stands on its own despite being the ninth book in the Tracers series, giving us a new murder to solve and a new set of lead characters to guide us through it. Ms. Griffin truly excels at crafting a believable investigation full of individuals who know their job and do it well, neither weighing us down with too many complicated forensic details nor denying us information required to feel as though we're a part of things. We crack the spine of this thriller and find ourselves surrounded by the story, all our senses on full alert as we try and identify a brutally misogynistic killer.
 

Tara is an incredibly strong woman, forced to fight a battle on two fronts as she's assigned a new case, both that of a woman in a male-dominated field as well as that of a Federal Agent sent to assist a small town police force. As a result she has more than a few hard edges, but she never tries to one-up those around her in order to prove her competence, instead the only person she consistently strives to impress is herself. She's good at her job and makes smart decisions, never asking us to suspend disbelief as she goes running headlong into danger without so much as putting in a call for backup, and we can't help but root for her throughout.
 

While the murder mystery element is brilliantly executed, forcing us to bite our nails further into nubs with every chapter as our killer gains confidence, the romantic element between Tara and ex-military/current security specialist Liam isn't quite as strong. Because Tara's fighting the aforementioned battles, she does feel a need to assert her independence and show everyone (but most of all herself) that she's more than capable of handling whatever is thrown at her on her own, and therefore she never really lets Liam in. He in turn gets frustrated with her when his protective streak takes over, and they do a dance around one another for most of the book. It's not a huge source of frustration mind you, and any tension between them gets resolved quickly and with little drama, but it does make the declaration of love at the end feel a touch forced.

There's also a backstory with regard to the last case Tara was on just before she was assigned this new job, but we're only given tiny hints about it here and there when she has a nightmare or two, and it's hard not to wish for a little more information regarding the outcome (it's possible it was in a previous book though, this is the first of the series I've read and I'm not entirely sure how/if the books are loosely connected). Overall however, Shadow Fall is a lighting-fast read with an extremely well done murder investigation and an enjoyable romance even if it's not quite as emotionally engaging as we might have liked.

Rating: 4/5


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30 comments:

  1. I've never tried this author before but this sounds like a great series. I love that each book can be read as a stand alone!

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    1. Me too. This came highly recommended from another blogger and I didn't have time to read the previous 8 first, so I was glad I could just dive in:)

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  2. I'm always interested in stories with serial killers but the mystery needs to be done right. It sounds like that's the case here. Too bad about the romance though and the fact that Tara's backstory isn't completely addressed for new readers.

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    1. The mystery was really well done Z, I did not have the killer pegged correctly at all:) The romance was a little disappointing, but everything else was great:)

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  3. It's always great to have a good mystery like that. Well it's also nice to know that we can read it even if it's part of the series.

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    1. Yes! I like series where I can jump in in the middle and then go back and to the beginning if I want:)

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  4. Glad to hear that this was a great mystery and that the main character was great, even if the romantic part felt a bit frustrating or forced at times.
    Great review Jenny!

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    1. It was fun for me to read a little something different Pili. It had been a while since I read a romantic suspense:)

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  5. I haven't read a good murder mystery in quite sometime and this one sounds pretty good despite the issues with the romance. I will have to check this book out and this series. Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I hope you give it a try Christina!

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  6. While I LOVE the sound of the mystery, I'm not too sure how I would feel about the romance. From your description, it doesn't seem like they are the best fit for each other and I generally dislike books with forced love declarations.
    I'm willing to try this for the murder mystery though!
    Wonderful review, Jenny! :)

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    1. I never really felt the emotional connection between them Nick, but they were perfectly enjoyable together, and their romance was definitely secondary to the serial killer aspect:)

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  7. I mysteries but I'm not the biggest fan of police procedural ones usually. I'm glad you enjoyed this one though.

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    1. I'm not either usually Candace, mostly because all the details can make my head hurt sometimes, but this was really well done in my opinion:)

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  8. I'm glad that you could read this one as a stand alone, Jenny, and not be lost. I always feel compelled to start from the beginning when I hear it's a series. Though the romance is a bit of a bummer at least the mystery held up and I might pick this one up because of it.

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    1. I hope you give this series a try Rummanah! I need to go back and read the first few now:)

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  9. Wasn't this good Jenny. I have the whole series now and plan to go back and read the rest!!

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  10. I haven't tried this author or series, but it is nice to know I can jump in with this one and not be lost.

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    1. Yes. I love series like this where we get different characters and a different mystery in each book:)

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  11. I've been in the mood for a mystery for quite a while so imagine my surprise when i read your review for this one. I;m interested enough in the mystery element in this one to pick up, even if the romance seems a bit lackluster. Lovely review Jenny!

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    1. YAY! I recommend it for sure Lily, the romance was minor compared to the murder mystery:)

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  12. Maybe, maybe not, it depends on my mood

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    1. Well hopefully you feel up to it at some point, it was a solid read:)

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  13. YEAH :) I am skipping ahead to this one since I got behind in the series :)

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  14. This sounds good! I really like that cover.

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    1. I do too! It's different from the more typical romantic suspense covers:)

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  15. I love a gripping mystery but I especially love when the romance can be on par with the plot so while I definitely think I'm going to be checking out this author's work, I'm not so sure this is going to be the one I pick up. At least not at first. Thanks for putting this on my radar, though, Jenny--I can't wait to pick up a gripping thriller like this one soon!

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    1. You're welcome Keertana! I'm hoping to go back to the beginning soon, so I'm hoping those romances are as strong as the murder mysteries:)

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