Publication: 4 February 2021 from Avon Books
Narrator: Robin Laing, Cathleen McCarron
Length: 12hrs 49 mins
ASIN : B08LQQK4NH
My thanks to Avon Books for the opportunity to review this audiobook
Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go. Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth. Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
And he’s watching.
Readers of Helen Fields Luc Callanach series will be pleased to know that although Luc doesn’t make an appearance in this stand-alone novel, he does appear in a short story included after the end of the audiobook and Gayfield Square Station and the redoubtable Superintendent Overbeck do feature strongly in the novel.
In The Shadow Man Helen Fields gives us a new protagonist, Dr Connie Woolwine. Connie is American and a psychological profiler, just arrived in Edinburgh. She’s been called in to work with D.I. Brodie Baarda, a kidnapping specialist from Met Ops Team in London, following the disappearance of a young mother, Elspeth Dunwoody.
Connie is straight talking, a little sweary and not given to over indulging in politeness or bureaucracy. She has a fascinating backstory that I hope we will hear more of in future books. Baarda is a more gentle soul, a little closed in and together they are a brilliant pairing. From the outset, we know who we are dealing with, even if Connie and Baarda do not.
The Shadow Man is never concealed from the reader; rather we are brought into his fiendish plans; made to be voyeurs as he does what he sets out to achieve and not long into the book, one woman is dead and another has gone missing. More people will disappear as The Shadow Man carries out his focussed research and executes his nightmarish plans….what Connie and Baarda have to do is to work out why this is happening and then work back to who and where to find him.
Those familiar to Fields writing will know that she does not shrink from graphic and stomach churning descriptions when it suits her plotting. This one is certainly dark and gritty, but here it is the sheer creepiness of the antagonist and the skin crawling nature of his demented thought processes that produces the visceral reaction.
Fields is innovative and original in her choice of killer and her well researched medical knowledge plays into this character brilliantly and enhances the character of Connie, too. Her characters are excellent – I especially liked the interplay between Connie and the Pathologist as each begins to take the measure of the other.
The plot is intricate and well-paced and the creepiness level ramps up as the book develops, leading to massive tension and a growing intensity that threatens to explode. Fortunately this is leavened by some excellent light and shade in the dialogue between the characters of Baarda and Woolwine.
The narration by Robin Laing and Cathleen McCarron is excellent – it really helps to have a male and a female voice and their voices and accents work well together.
Verdict: Another hugely successful read from Helen Fields. It is quite a long book and could have used a little more editing, but nothing that distracts from a truly terrifying plot and some great characters. I predict this one will be a sure fire winner and hope to see much more of Woolwine and Baarda in the future.
An international and Amazon #1 best-selling author, Helen is a former criminal and family law barrister. Every book in the Callanach series claimed an Amazon #1 bestseller flag. Helen also writes as HS Chandler, and last year released legal thriller ‘Degrees of Guilt’. Her audio book ‘Perfect Crime’ knocked Michelle Obama off the #1 spot. Translated into 15 languages, and also selling in the USA, Canada & Australasia, Helen’s books have won global recognition. Her first historical thriller ‘These Lost & Broken Things’ came out in May 2020. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, where she lives with her husband and three children.