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Shadow Play: An Eve Duncan Novel


Shadow Play: An Eve Duncan Novel

Life has settled back to a normal routine after Eve Duncan bids a tearful goodbye to her adopted daughter. Jane has recovered from wounds received when she flew home from London to help rescue Eve from a diabolical kidnapper, and now has returned to Europe and her life as an artist. Eve knows she cannot hold on to Jane any more than she could the image of her first daughter, Bonnie. Her reputation as a world-renowned forensic sculptor has grown in the years since Bonnie was murdered. She works from the home she shares with Joe Quinn on a rural lake in Georgia. There, she can become absorbed in her work of reconstructing the skulls of murder victims for identification purposes.

A telephone call from California breaks Eve’s solemn mood. Sheriff Nalcheck requests a rush job to identify a little girl’s body that was buried deep in a wooded area. Eve agrees to work on the skull, sensing from his agitated voice that he considers the solution of this crime to be personal. He tells her that the girl was about nine when she was killed and had been in the ground for eight years: “I felt like she was calling to me,” he remarks.

"Fast-tracked crime, with careful examination of the evidence, compels one to keep turning pages in hopes that satisfaction will rule."

Eve begins her work, brushing and cleaning the delicate skull, which she names “Jenny.” Spoken words interrupt her work. Is she hallucinating, or is the dead girl trying to communicate with her? Before the image is finished, Eve works at a frantic pace, finally completing the job and carefully repacking the skull to return to Nalcheck. She has grown close to the girl’s spirit as she learns that Jenny was a music lover.

Back in California, a strange phenomenon occurs. Nalcheck believes that additional clues might remain at the gravesite, so he and his deputy drive there one night, looking for any sign that the girl’s killer has returned. Nalcheck treks into the woods with his flashlight.  Finding nothing out of the ordinary, he comes back to find his deputy brutally murdered. Eve’s dossier, with her professional credentials, is spread on the seat in an orderly fashion, as if to photograph the papers. Nalcheck alerts Eve that it’s possible she’s in danger. When the local FedEx driver is shot and killed at close range, with Eve’s package nowhere to be found, she now must be involved. A trip to Sonderville, CA is tops on her list.

Eve Duncan fans will find nothing odd about the recurring conversations between Eve and Jenny’s spirit. Jenny is confused by her attacker’s actions and remembers more about him, even his name. From early on in the novel, Walsh is a sinister figure, always a step ahead of the authorities. Why he remains in the area, why he killed Jenny and why he feels threatened by Eve are serious questions that need answers.

SHADOW PLAY is laced with the surreal for those entertained by ghostly revelations. Fast-tracked crime, with careful examination of the evidence, compels one to keep turning pages in hopes that satisfaction will rule. Iris Johansen’s gift is characterization with empathy and action with purpose.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on October 2, 2015

Shadow Play: An Eve Duncan Novel
by Iris Johansen

  • Publication Date: May 24, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250075815
  • ISBN-13: 9781250075819