The Shadow brings Munro fans yet another fabulous read! If you are not already salivating in anticipation, you should be. If you are not familiar with this author, you should endeavor to be – quickly! None of Shelley Munro's books are a disappointment. Print or electronic, Shelley Munro is one author you should never pass over – and I do mean never. The Shadow is different from what I have become accustomed to from Ms Munro, which only goes to show how adept she is in writing of different genres. This romantic suspense kept me involved, and reading. I did not want to put it down, and neither will you.
Lady Katherine Fawkner has spent the last six years living in France with her godmother and young daughter, in a society that is less questioning, less judgmental, and which enables her not to confront her horrific past. But desperation draws her home. Not her own desperation, but her father's. Katherine has not returned home in all of those six years, and is unaware of the situation her father is getting himself into. Gambling debts and loans threaten to kill him – quite literally. The goons – ahem – debt collectors are on his back, and he doesn't have the money to pay them. Not only is his life at risk, but Katherine's young daughter, Amber, is also being threatened. It is up to Katherine to sort the whole sordid mess out, but she doesn't have the funds to pay off the debt, either. The amounts owed are staggering, coming in at close to £1 million. Katherine has no choice but to go into the family business. Her father was forced into retirement by ill health. Arthritis does not a good cat burglar make. Yep, that's right. Katherine is to become a cat burglar to pay off the debts, as were five generations of her forbearers.
Katherine reenters society, attending various balls to scout out possible jobs. She's shopping for rocks, and not the kind that can be found on a beach or in the mountains. Rubies are in high demand at the moment, so rubies are what she is keeping a keen eye out for. Her fellow ball attendees are positively dripping with jewels. There is plenty of choice, though diamonds are by far the currently most worn of all jewels.
Katherine picks out her target and prepares for the job. Everything is in place. She has a mental map of the property, which she has already scouted. She knows where the security cameras are. Seemingly, everything is set to go off without a hitch. But they do say something about the best-laid plans… Getting caught unawares by a guard dog she had not seen when scouting the property should have given her some forewarning that things were going to go wrong. Seriously, and terribly wrong. But nobody can foresee a murder.
Even more unexpectedly, Katharine did not expect to find a clue as to the identity of Amber's father, the man who ‘date' raped her and took her virginity six years previous at the tender age of eighteen. She had been celebrating with her friends at a party. Not believing in casual sex, Katherine had wanted her first time to be special. Alas, this chance was stripped from her and motherhood became her route. She loves her child and would not see her harmed for the entire world. She could not give her up at birth, and she will protect her now. But revenge against her rapist would be sweet, and so "detective" is added to her increasing workload. Will Katherine be able to ferret out who drugged and raped her? Will she be able to gain the revenge she has thought of for so long? Is it someone she knows, or a stranger?
As if things weren't complicated and difficult enough, into her life steps Inspector Kahu Williams. He draws out feelings in her that she hasn't felt for a long time, not since before her rape. The attraction between them is great, but the obstacles seem too large. He's a cop, and she is a cat burglar. Their occupations are as different as night and day, as oil and water. They do not mix well, and any attempt to get close would be consorting with the enemy. But never before has Katherine been so drawn to a man whom she would consider having a sexual relationship with. Could it be that Kahu is the one man who could show her the pleasures of making love? Could he be the one to love and cherish her? Will she tell him the family secrets?
The Shadow, which is the nickname for the family occupation, is a story that will keep you engrossed in the plot. Nothing is revealed until the author is ready to unveil it. As a reader, you know not where the story is going next, nor do you get an inkling of who the rapist is. Most of The Shadow is mainly concerned with the character of Katherine, her rape and her attempts to acquire the assets to pay off the debts and loans. Her budding, on-again-off-again romance with Kahu is mostly in the background, though it is undoubtedly an intricate part of the plot. Her one non-consensual experience with sex was horrific, and her ability to trust men, much depleted. If any relationship is to develop between her and Kahu, in spite of her burgling on the side, she will need to open herself up to a man, and this may be one of the most difficult things she will ever have to do.
Whilst there are some intimate encounters in The Shadow, there is no sex, though there are some dubious characters who are always angling to do the horizontal limbo. The characters are all fully developed, and The Shadow is a novel you can easily get stuck into. The Shadow is a light suspense, which is a must for any Munro fan, and a recommended-to-get-you-hooked to everyone else.
Reviewed By Elizabeth
© April 2006