I received this book for free from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Mira on November 29th 2016
Format: Physical ARC
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The dead still talk if you know how to listen…
Every case that Claire Britten cracks is a win, not only professionally but personally. The forensic psychologist has spent a lifetime fighting a neurological disorder, and her ability to conquer it is a testament to her razor-sharp intuition.
Nick Markwood is used to winning in the courtroom, so when his latest case is overthrown by Claire's expert testimony, he can't help being impressed by her skill. He needs her on the team of his passion project—investigating unusual cases involving mysterious deaths. Her condition doesn't deter him, and neither does the attraction that sparks between them…even if it should.
As they join forces to investigate a murder in St. Augustine, Florida, Claire is thrust into a situation far more dangerous than she'd anticipated, pushing her disorder to a breaking point. Just when she fears she can't trust her own mind, she discovers Nick's personal connection to the case—and wonders whether she can trust anyone at all.
Chasing Shadows is a decent detective novel with plenty of details to keep reader guessing. Ignoring the parts that were rather drawn out, this was an acceptable read with strong plot and character development.
We enter with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the mysterious murder/suicide of a plantation owner, a slowly burn romance between our main characters Claire and Nick, and end with a shocking revelation concerning Nick’s past that impacts every single character we meet in Karen Harper’s first novel in the South Shores series. A slow, often plodding plot, Chasing Shadows is a novel that takes some effort getting into, but makes it all worth while with some pretty interesting plot twists.
Chasing Shadows is a wonderful who-dun-it mystery, but far too slow in the beginning to be a great mystery. The cliffhanger ending in Chasing Shadows hints at an exciting and fast paced follow up novel in Drowning Tides and an even more promising series.
I found the main character a bit annoying and difficult to relate too early on in the novel with some serious snap judgements about other characters that makes me wonder how good of a Forensic Questioner she really is. I mean, I get that her job is to make judgements on people, but I felt like Claire entered the situation with value judgements at the fore front rather than an unbiased. I also felt like Claire’s jealousy of Nick’s old flame made her incapable of being unbiased and she probably should have given up the case the minute she became involved with her boss, but perhaps I am just puritanical.
I understand that Claire’s medical condition is potentially serious and also a major burden on her daily..but without sharing the illness with her husband, then over sharing and demanding special treatment from her new boss, I was a bit frustrated that Claire did not find a way to be less abrasive about her condition. However, I will concede that Claire’s difficulties sharing (or not sharing) her condition made her a more realistic character rather than a cookie cutter generalization. Claire is a flawed individual.
In the end, I think my issue with Claire’s character was her lack of professionalism rather than a critique on how she handled her illness – the woman is raising a daughter and running her own start up business while struggling with a life altering disease! That’s serious girl power!
Regardless, by the end of the novel it appeared the author had found her stride with the South Shore series. Harper had successfully closed the murder mystery in a satisfying and exciting way, as well as created a strong overall plot that will follow the series in the future. Chasing Shadows was a decent novel that sets up what has potential to be a fantastic series.
This novel will appeal to readers to enjoy murder mysteries, novels with less action and more “sleuthing”, clean romance and sweet love interests. I would recommend this to readers looking for novels with strong female leads, flawed/realistic characters and lead characters struggling with health issues. This series will probably fall under the “diverse” genre because of it’s focus on the daily struggles of mental health.