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One woman locked in a basement, nearing death and longing for escape. Another baffled by the inexplicable symptoms wreaking havoc on her life. Both are lost and alone, yet somehow connected. And time is running out…
Near the tenth anniversary of her parents’ unexpected death, Claire Fiksen, a lovely young Harvard-grad and gifted psychologist in Minnesota, develops bizarre symptoms of an eating disorder that threaten her fledgling career, her relationship with a handsome young medical student, her grasp on reality and, soon, her life.
When her beloved grandfather reveals that there may be more to her parents’ death than she’s realized, Claire’s pursuit of healing becomes a desperate search for answers as she delves into her family’s sordid past. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, plotting to draw her into her own twisted web of misery.
Claire has something he needs, and he’ll stop at nothing to obtain it. Every step Claire takes brings her closer to the truth and danger. And her life, she discovers, isn’t the only one at stake.
I’ve known August McLaughlin
via blog/Facebook/Twitter for a long time now. Not only is she a powerful voice for women’s rights, nutrition, and women’s sexuality (check out her Girl Boner series — it’s hilarious and amazing), but she’s a phenomenal writer. When I heard she’d released her debut thriller, IN HER SHADOW, I knew I had to check it out. The premise sounded engaging, and I got a copy almost immediately.
I read it in one day.
Now, the last few years have been kind of rough reading years for me. I think the last book I read in such a short time was The Hunger Games, and I’d been having a lot of trouble getting through books I’d even been looking forward to reading. Imagine my joy when August’s book just bowled me over and took over an entire afternoon.
After finishing it, here are my thoughts.
I’d give IN HER SHADOW four of five stars. Or rather, four and a half, but I couldn’t find a picture of that.
Claire Fiksen is an engaging protagonist. The book sucked me in from the first few chapters. Interspersed with the introduction to Claire and her boyfriend, her career and her family, there are glimpses into the mind of a chilling stalker. The story also cuts to a young woman trapped in a basement and her disturbing life. The upward spiral of the plot moves all three viewpoints along masterfully. The pacing is brisk, and the writing is fluid and beautifully wrought. I grew to love Claire’s character as the book unfolded.
As Claire starts to unravel her family mystery, she starts experiencing the symptoms of an eating disorder she’s never before struggled with. That interesting layer to her development was intriguing, and August brings it home to a startling revelation.
The plot is intricate and well-woven, and the storytelling is fantastic. From the earliest chapters, IN HER SHADOW builds to its emotional and cataclysmic conclusion. With plenty of twists and turns, this is a beautifully layered and multi-faceted debut from August McLaughlin. I suggest you scurry over to Amazon and buy it now.
You can find August here:
Whatever you do, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for August’s work in the future.