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Shadows Still Remain    by Peter De Jonge order for
Shadows Still Remain
by Peter De Jonge
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

What caught and held my interest (and makes me look forward to a sequel) in Peter De Jonge's Shadows Still Remain is his dogged, own-worst-enemy lead, Seventh Precinct Detective Darlene O'Hara. Many mystery readers know of De Jonge from his effective collaboration with thriller superstar James Patterson in The Beach House and Beach Road. Now he launches his own series and it's a gripping one.

Nineteen-year-old Francesca Pena, a student at New York University is out pubbing with her rich and entitled NYU sophomore friends on Thanksgiving Eve. Despite their urging her to head home when they do, she lingers on her own and comes to harm. Sounds like a typical lead-in to a police procedural, doesn't it? But De Jonge's plot lines are just as twisty as Patterson's, so be prepared for big surprises.

Darlene O'Hara, 'beautiful and thirty-four, with wavy red hair and the kind of freckles men try to lick off shoulders', spends the holiday at Manhattan's Seventh Precinct with her terrier mutt Bruno, her eighteen-year-old son (Axl Rose O'Hara) being with his girlfriend's family in Seattle. Francesca's ex-boyfriend (stalker?) David McLain shows up at the precinct, concerned that she didn't turn up for the Thanksgiving dinner he prepared at her apartment.

David reminding Dar of Axl, she and her partner, Serge 'K.' Krekorian investigate Francesca's disappearance. Then the body is found and the papers latch on to the Puerto Rican working-class victim's 'irresistible back story' - from a tough background Pena 'rewrote her destiny' and won 'a full ride at NYU.' Dar desperately wants to keep the case, rather than returning to 'burglaries and domestic disputes'.

Of course, she and Krekorian are relegated to the back seat as homicide star investigator Patrick Cooney leads the charge and quickly arrests David McLain. Sure of David's innocence, Dar pursues her own investigation, leading to shocking revelations. Soon Dar is in big trouble with her superiors and 'the only thing that can save her ass is finding Pena's murderer.'

If you enjoy a police procedural/thriller mix, then I highly recommend Peter De Jonge's Shadows Still Remain, and expect that you'll join me in hoping to read more of Dar O'Hara, a complex and appealing new crime heroine.

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