You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong…
The little girl drags her eyes open, realizing she’s starting to fade. She tries calling out—“Daddy?”—using all her remaining strength. But she’s too late and her voice just isn’t loud enough…
When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.
The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.
But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?
One thing is certain, if Madison doesn’t find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…
An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller that will keep you up all night! Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Melinda Leigh. Previously titled Find My Child.
My first psychological thriller of the year, and what a way to start. I must admit that it’s a bug-bear of mine whenever the book’s subtitle insists on calling the story unputdownable or absolutely gripping – because, all too often, that is not the case, for me, anyway – however, this is one book where such a claim is 100% valid.
That this is the first in the series is another reason to dive in, because the two main characters – Nate & Madison – have really interesting stories to tell, both having been imprisoned on murder charges and both keen to prove who set them up.
Shadow Falls sets the reader up for a fascinating ride if we’re to believe their own issues will be met head on in future books. But, back to the plot in question … Nate is hired by the grandmother of a missing 12-year-old girl, who feels police efforts to find her granddaughter have not been thorough enough. As a PI (without license), Nate is ready to investigate. His own experience of being wrongfully imprisoned has put justice centre stage in his life, and if he can also expose police corruption or negligence, then so much the better.
Madison, having served her time, is desperate to find out who set her up too, but she lacks the financial resources to start her own investigations. She persuades Nate that, as a former cop, she can help him with the investigation and asks that he then helps her out afterwards.
Both characters are wounded by their experiences and focusing on something else outside of their own lives helps them to function. At first, there is some awkwardness between them. Nate is way more sceptical of Madison’s cop-like methods, and her directness doesn’t sit well with him. As time goes on, though, they settle into their roles and complement each other.
In the pursuit of the missing girl, they head off to a summer camp where suspects seem to crop up all over the place. With the help of Brody, an ex-police dog, they start to eliminate options while finding more twists and turns that lead them temporarily off-track, until a series of mistakes by the girl’s abductor (now potentially her killer too) allows them to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Although, this is not without putting themselves in great danger first.
It’s a thrilling story that held my attention. An exciting plot with original main characters, whose own back stories will no doubt prove just as fascinating to follow in future books in the series. I’ll be keeping an eye out for book two.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for an ARC of Shadow Falls (previously titled Find My Child) in exchange for an honest review.