In the Shadow of Revenge
by Patricia Hale
on Tour September 1-30, 2013
Published by: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 15, 2013
Number of Pages: 280 ISBN: 978-14268-9584-5Purchase Links:
Everybody thought brilliant Cecily would leave dead-end Miller's Falls for something better. But a two-decades-old tragedy locks her in place. Few understand the fierce bond that Cecily and Amelia share with Hilary, who was assaulted one summer as the two other girls watched helplessly. It's a bond of love and guilt…and a desire for vengeance that cuts clear to the bone. So Assistant DA Cecily Minos waits, eager to see the guy in her courtroom. When Amelia meets a man who has the tattoo the girls remember seeing that day, they think they've finally caught a break. But the police refuse to reopen the case, and it's up to Cecily and Amelia to pursue their suspect. Their investigation soon uncovers secrets best left buried. But the law is slow, and they've waited long enough for revenge…
Read an excerpt:
Patricia Hale is a graduate of the MFA program at Goddard College in Vermont. She is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. Her essays and articles have appeared in New England literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. When not writing, she enjoys hiking with her dogs and kayaking on the lakes near her home. Patricia lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two German shepherds.
Consider me impressed with author Patrica Hale's debut novel, In The Shadow of Revenge. This story centers around three childhood friends, Cecily, Hilary and Amelia, and a tragic event involving the trio. The stunted versions of lives they now lead as adults turns mysterious when someone from their past shows up ensnaring them in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. I can't reveal much about this tale but I read it through in one sitting, not wanting to leave this small town mystery.
Cecily is the narrator and with her strong, determined voice we experience second-hand what she's been dealing with. Living with the ghost of tragedy has affected the the lives of herself and her two friends. As nine-year-old girls, they were forced to grow up suddenly, unprotected by the adults in their lives. In their small Maine town, we see Cecily's life with a overtly religious mother and an absentee father who abandoned their family. Her older brother Jarod is horrible and abusive so she spends time with Hilary, who has a less than stellar family as well. Amelia rounds out their group. Parts of their childhood are revealed as we see them as the damaged adults they became. The past haunts the present. Cecily is a lawyer living with Ben, a man she's not sure she can commit to since she's frequently busy taking care of Hilary, a recovering alcoholic, and watching out for Amelia and her one night stands. Each woman handles the trauma in their own way and they vowed as kids to never break apart their friendship.
There's a paranormal thread weaved throughout the book concerning Cecily and her grandmother's "gift" which gave the story a cool vibe. I loved the way Cecily described things and people in her life. She had some great lines and her outlook made the story visually stimulating. Her observations about her childhood and about her mother are so well stated they are the lines readers like to stop reading in order to reread again. Rich. Poignant. Heartbreaking at times. The mystery had me going for a while, trying to figure out what exactly was going on. The friendships between the three stood out, enriching the story. I did feel Hilary and Amelia could have been fleshed out a bit more. As for the secondary characters, I liked police officer Marquette from his first scene and Ben was a nice guy. The antagonist was just that-really bad and realistically so. The pacing was consistent and there were some tense scenes which kept me riveted.
I don't read many mysteries so when I do I want to get sucked into them. In The Shadow of Revenge intrigued me from its first pages and kept me enthused with its rich descriptions, brutally honest depictions of realistic characters, small town life, and how evil can penetrate the fabric of anyone's life--even a child--and yet, time, good friends and selfless love can help one persevere. Sometimes, through revenge, wrongs can be righted enabling those who've suffered to get on with their lives. A gripping read.
Upon first inspection, it is easy to dismiss this cover as boring. The train tracks are symbolic and play an important role in the story so I like the cover.
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review during a blog tour.