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Shadows In The Darkness    by Elaine Cunningham order for
Shadows In The Darkness
by Elaine Cunningham
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

A new female PI is on the loose - Elaine Cunningham's feisty, smart, kick-butt heroine, Gwen GiGi Gelman. Gwen spent ten years on the Providence, Rhode Island vice squad. Her last undercover assignment, at Tiger Leone's night club, ended in chaos. Gwen became the scapegoat. Leaving the police force behind her, Gwen inaugurates her own private investigation firm, specializing in family problems, runaways, and kidnappings. Hired by Dianne Ruby to find her missing 14-year old daughter Meredith, Gwen finds possible connections to the night-club assignment. Her past manifests itself, spiraling her into Shadows In The Darkness. Since Gwen's youth, there have been psychic moments and visions, which she continually pushed aside ... 'An icy shiver crackled down Gwen's spine, inspired by a memory that was very much her own. She pushed her own emotions aside and moved deeper into the missing girl's memories.'

Despite his wife's hiring a PI, prestigious criminal attorney Ryan Ruby is evasive about his daughter's disappearance. Ruby has made enemies in his career, and he is a member of a 'gentlemen's club', Underhill, in which underage girls perform 'suggestive' dancing. GiGi investigates, dressed in a 'Goth-chick persona', appearing younger than her thirty-odd years. Gwen's supporting cast includes former boyfriend Stephen Weiss; gutsy Sister Tamar, who oversees a home for runaway girls; retired cop and past mentor/partner Frank Cross; and District Attorney Marcy Bartlett. The mysterious Ian Forest (owner of Underhill) appears and disappears at will, at the right moments. Gwen copes with the death of a friend, and finds adversaries and supporters where she least expects them, facing all with strength and determination.

Elaine Cunningham has written many books, including the Starlight and Shadows series. Her 'Prologue' immediately grabs the reader's attention with hints of sinister danger, 'it is the Solstice - the shortest day, the darkest night ... the dark-haired man realized that he was not the last of 'the clan' ... he was overtaken by fear'. Cunningham's staccato style delivers rich nuances in dialog, and graphic action. Each turn of the page weaves the plot tighter. The reader is left yearning for the second book in Cunningham's Changeling trilogy, and the teaser 'Epilogue' offers a glimpse of more surprises yet to come. Readers can't help but admire GiGi, a freelance investigator, who is psychic in a fey, 'elfish' way. Shadows In The Darkness is an amazing read, please don't pass it by!

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