THE SITE FOR DIE HARD CRIME & THRILLER FANS
PrintReviews

Hunting Shadows

2 Mins read

huntingshadowsWritten by Sheila Bugler — Brian Fletcher has had a lousy  life. After his mother died, he and his sister Marion were looked after by their father. Well, looked after is stretching it a bit, because Brian’s father abused him, and eventually abandoned the son he called useless, leaving the tumbledown shack they called home, never to return. And he took Marion with him.

Brian is now in his 20s, and he is still hunting for the sister he adored. But he is a simple soul who received little, if any, education, and in his mind she is still the little girl he lost all those years ago. Which is why, as Hunting Shadows opens, Brian is hiding in bushes, waiting for 10-year-old Jodie Hudson to pass by on her way to school. She is Marion, and he is going to take her and keep her safe.

It is a few hours before the young schoolgirl is missed and DI Ellen Kelly is called to the scene, but other than Jodie’s abandoned schoolbag there is little in the way of clues for her and her team to chase up. No-one saw anything, there are no leads, and the officers feel almost as if they are hunting shadows.

There are also deep shadows in Ellen’s past. She is freshly back to work following an investigation into a fatal killing the previous year. It was Ellen who pulled the trigger, and she has never had any remorse over killing the man – a fact which troubles the counsellor she is still seeing regularly. Some feel she has gone back to work too early, but Ellen immerses herself in the search for Jodie and soon sees similarities between her disappearance and the unsolved abduction and murder of little Molly York three years previously. The trouble is, her boss doesn’t agree and is adamant that Jodie’s case will be solved much closer to home. As the clock ticks and the investigation stalls, it is touch and go as to whether they will find Jodie alive.

The story is told from the viewpoints of Brian, Jodie and Ellen, and the addition of a timeline throughout the chapters serves to underline the sense of time slipping away as the police investigation stutters along to its dramatic conclusion.

If the name Sheila Bugler is new to you, then don’t be surprised, because Hunting Shadows is her debut novel. It is a most assured debut too, set in South East London and the bleak North Kent coast, with a cracking, serpentine plot and a strong central character in Ellen Kelly. Ellen is a widow, and the mother to two young children, who are cared for by her adoptive parents when Ellen is at work. Both Ellen and her brother were adopted after a family tragedy took away their mother and baby sister and this is yet another facet of Ellen’s complex character which makes her so fascinating.

The adoption storyline is skimmed over in this book, but there is plenty of scope for it to reappear and find resolution in later novels for,  mark my words, we will be hearing from Ellen Kelly again.

Brandon
Print
£8.99

CFL Rating: 4 Stars


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts
iBookKindlePrintReviews

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Long-buried truth meets long-awaited fiction with deadly consequences in The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, the third fiendishly complex novel by Janice Hallett. Having skewered the venerable pastimes of amateur dramatics and children’s literature in her previous books, this time round Hallett focuses her…
KindlePrintReviews

The Simple Truth by James Buckler

With a background of writing for film and television, James Buckler is bringing his scene-setting skills and cinematic eye to the crime fiction genre. In 2017, his debut Last Stop Tokyo featured a Brit fleeing problems at home only to find new ones in Japan….
KindlePrintReviews

Murder at the Christmas Carols by Izzie Harper

When we last heard from Vicky Newham, she was deep in the East End of London, following the trail of DI Maya Rahman. That was back in 2019, when Out of the Ashes was just pipped at the post for a place in my Top…
Crime Fiction Lover