Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Night Shadow by Cheri Vause

The Night Shadow.  Cheri Vause. GWL Publishing. October 2014. 442 pp.  ISBN#: 9780992883669.

Esther Charlemagne is a scarred Private Investigator.  She’s had a bad history with her ex-husband Freddie and lost her only son, the latter a devastating loss from which no one could recover fully. So she’s learning to live with all that pain and at the same time resisting looking at it too much because she deep down blames herself for all of it.  This makes her ambiance pretty much like a brick wall to her long-time friend and partner, Aiden “Mac” McManus, who loves her to bits but holds back because of that obstructive wall Esther has built around herself. Thank God they’ve got enough sarcastic humor and skill to bind them together as investigators!

The story begins where they’re staking out a suburban street, looking for a “peeping Tom” who’s been frightening the neighbors.  Next they are staking out another home to find out whether the lady of the house is cheating on her hard-working, very upset husband.  The duo investigators have a heart as they realize just how crushed the cheating dame’s husband will be.  Their work, they acknowledge, has very serious consequences for those left behind when their work is finished. But now they pick up a case that gives Esther the creeps, really bad feelings that this is going to turn out all wrong for everybody involved.

On warm summer night, a young ballerina who had just been selected to dance for Ballet Master Balanchine in the New York City Ballet Company.  Right now, however, that joy is crushed under the fact that she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend.  After a short while, she’s trying to muster enough energy to begin practicing her dance routines when she realizes she’s locked into her dressing room closet, a room she’ll never leave alive!

The story then races forward with plots and counter-plots that involve another ballerina under psychoanalytic therapy, two sisters and friends who vie for attention, a history of family madness, fires that bear a similar nature to each other, love-hate relationships that bind and distort reality over time, and much more. During these dynamic events, Esther and Mac are getting closer as Esther very, very slowly learns to trust again; one wonders whether they will ever marry as it seems they go two steps backward for every step they move forward!

The Night Shadow is exciting, thrilling crime fiction that every fan of the genre will love.  The conflicts evolve slowly as quick-moving events make the reader fly through the pages.  There’s enough psychology in the novel to fascinate fans who love to try to figure out the profile of a killer or killers!  All in all, a great read that should be a best seller and would make a terrific movie as well!

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