Review by Vic Watson
Looking for an original, compulsive thriller to terrify you during the winter nights? Look no further! “The Shadow Man” is a sinister, multi-viewpoint narrative that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until its nail-biting conclusion.
Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.
Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.
Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
Helen Fields manages to make a complex psychological complaint accessible to the reader as well as demonstrating the effect it has on innocent victims.
I loved Connie, a brash American sent over to profile the shadow man but my favourite character has to be twelve year old Meggy. She’s fierce, she’s strong and she’s streetwise and I would want her one my side during any confrontation but Helen Fields combines Meggy’s steel core with a vulnerability that made me want to look after her. She’s absolutely pitch perfect as a character.
Although Fields writes shadow man Fergus as utterly deranged and completely terrifying, I did find that there were moments during this story that I felt sorry for him – and that, in itself, is credit to Helen and the nuances she manages to capture in her characters.
As with any Helen Fields novel, there are some beautiful turns of phrase and she juxtaposes this with the horror of the shadow man and his crimes.
I really hope we’ll get to see Connie and Baarda working together again.
For extra creep factor, I recommend listening to the audiobook. Robin Laing’s Fergus is more menacing than anything I could’ve imagined.
My thanks to Avon Books and Helen Fields for the advanced reading copy of this book.