Book Title: Chasing Shadows
Author: Karen Harper
Series: South Shores #1
Genres: Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Fiction, Thriller
Date Read: 10/18/16
Pub Date: 11/29/16
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.
I’ve heard wonderful things of Karen Harper’s work for awhile but am just now reading my first book by her. What a book it was! I really like her style of writing; she does an excellent job of blending many genres into one piece that is her own. A murder mystery at heart, this book holds true to form while adding in elements of romance and southern suspense; this is the type of book you could just as easily hand to your grandmother as you could your mother or even grown daughter. This type of story is timeless and classic; no matter how many times it has been done, it will continually read as fresh and welcoming.
While the mystery was really well done, intriguing, and truly puzzling, I think what really won me over were the elements of character depth and setting. I could almost feel the humidity causing sweat on my upper lip, that’s how well she described St. Augustine! Claire and Nick are a couple you can really root for; sure, the formatting was a bit formulaic, but it worked well. You have a female battling a neurological disease causing as many emotional issues as physical, yet she holds her ground by being intelligent, strong, and more than competent at her job. Charming man enters scene; he’s holding a secret too close for comfort that turns out to be a big deal, but not so big we can’t overlook it and continue to root for him. Anything more will spoil the plot, but I promise it works and keeps you glued from start to finish.
Between the setting, characters, and mystery, this book hit the trifecta and I am loving how she has set this up for the remainder of the series. At times it was a bit wordy, and I had to skim through a few sections, but overall the pacing was pretty great. I’m not sure if this is intended to be a trilogy or something longer, but it appears we won’t have too wait long for book #2 and #3 (Drowning Tides in Jan 2017 and Falling Darkness in April 2017). Be warned, it does leave you with a major cliff hanger, but knowing that the wait won’t be long I think it doesn’t feel as painful. I’m super excited to see how this series is accepted and can’t wait to discuss this with someone else!
*Many thanks to MIRA pub for providing my copy; it was my pleasure to write an honest review.