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Thursday, 7 November 2013

‘Hunting Shadows’ by Sheila Bugler

Published by The O’Brien Press,
12 August 2013.

DI Ellen Kelly has just returned to work after an incident in which she shot the killer of her husband.  Her first case is high-profile: the abduction of a young girl.  Her Family Liason Officer seems to be working behind her back, her boss is determined to prove that the step-father was responsible.  Only Ellen sees a link between this case and that of little Molly, whose tortured body was found three years ago...

This story was told in the third person, using a variety of viewpoints: Ellen herself, the abducted child, the  abductor, the child’s stepfather, and the father of dead Molly.  This was clearly done, so that you were never confused by the switch of voice, and moving from one person to another kept the tension up.  It was even, glory be, in the past tense.  The plot is fast moving, with plenty of incidents, and you get a real feel of a busy police-station handling a difficult case.  Ellen’s a lively heroine, with a well-imagined Irish-London background, and readers will sympathise with her work-family tensions.  The lightly-handled tentative romance, her dark past and her drink problem, suggest the author’s looking at a series.  I did feel a slight overload of back-story, but that’s always a problem when an author’s establishing a new character, especially one as complex as Ellen. 

Overall, this was a well-written example of the ‘girl in danger’ thriller, with the added twist of the girl being a child.  If you like Nicci French, then here’s a new author for you to enjoy.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Sheila Bugler grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at University College Galway, she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Easbourne, where she now lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children. When not writing fiction, Shiela provides a range of  writing services to aspiring authors.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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