Woman in Shadow by Carrie Stuart Parks
Published by Thomas Nelson Fiction July 13, 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Christian
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks combines her expertise as a forensic artist with her talent for crafting a gripping story in this page-turning web of light and shadow.
A woman off the grid.
Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.
A town on fire.
More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.
A growing darkness.
As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.
This new stand-alone story from Carrie is filled with intrigue, secrets, danger and a chance at redemption – you definitely don’t want to miss out on it.
Its not often that I find stand-alone stories to be as good as a series. I love a good slow burn mystery/suspense that is developed over several books but Carrie has something special here. It’s a story that grabs you right away and keeps you searching for answers all the way to the last page. She begins with Darby Graham, a former forensic linguist who has come to Mule Shoe Ranch to complete an assignment meant to prove she is ready to move on with her life. She is content to keep her past in the past and move beyond the pain of loss into a better future. But first she has to find out what’s happening at MSR. There have been several injuries and accidents recently along with the tragic deaths of two guests that requires that someone dig a little bit deeper than local law enforcement has been able to do. So Darby intends to figure things out quickly and get back to Clan Firinn for discharge. Problem is, no one seems to have any idea who would cause such problems. The staff all seem friendly and helpful, honestly shocked at the recent happenings and willing to answer all her subtle questions. But sheriff’s deputy Bram White, is also working the case and is suspicious of Darby’s interest and questioning of the staff. He’s got a second case of interest involving a serial arsonist who enjoys taunting law enforcement with snarky notes left at the burn sites and with little help coming from the sheriff, he’s quickly getting overwhelmed. Figuring out Darby’s past takes a bit of work, but Bram is good at investigating and soon sorts it all out. If he can convince Darby to help him out with the cases, he just might stand a chance at solving them. But when more of the guests are targeted in tragic ways, Bram and Darby will have to use all their investigative know-how to figure things out or it just might mean the death of them all. What does the elusive Shadow Woman have to do with it all and why is it so hard to catch the culprit? They’ll have to find out in a hurry before someone ends their investigation for good.
Clearly, the plot lines of the story are engaging and intriguing. It’s the kind of story that you just have to know what is going to happen before you set it down. I personally read the whole thing in my hammock one afternoon and refused to stop until I finished. I loved the slow reveal of the characters thoughts and pasts as well as the carefully crafted mystery that gave nothing away until necessary. I suspected a number of characters but didn’t really know for sure until I read the how or why of everything. I loved that the story was located near Yellowstone. I took a trip there two years ago and relished every second we had there, exploring and hiking the area. There is so much history and nature to be found there and I really enjoyed revisiting the area in my mind through this story. I also liked that one of the main characters dealt with an previous injury that required a prosthetic limb. It gave the story another depth that could be explored and expounded on to help readers learn about living with that kind of disability. Everything concerning the prosthetic was told with clarity and honesty and I liked hearing about the details. I have several family members who have lived with this type of disability and it helps me understand them better. I will certainly be recommending this story to others in the hope that they will enjoy it as much as I did. It’s definitely one you want to be on your TBR list and your shelves to reread again.
I received this temporary complimentary E-book from Thomas Nelson Fiction via NetGalley in order to provide a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.