A woman uses her uncanny ability to inflict lethal retribution against the men she believes murdered her parents in this supernatural thriller.
Twentysomething Lou Thorne’s been pursuing Angelo Martinelli for more than a decade. She believes the gangster is behind the shooting deaths of her mother, Courtney, and DEA agent father, Jack. Swearing revenge, Lou employs skills in marksmanship (courtesy of Jack) as well as aikido to target heroin-running Martinelli and his associates. But her greatest advantage is “slipping,” the power to transport herself and other things and people via shadows. She can also slip in water to what she calls La Loon, an otherworldly place inhabited by strange creatures. Aunt Lucy, who raised Lou since the girl lost her parents, can travel by shadow but not water. Worried that Lou’s relentless vengeance will end in her death, Lucy asks Robbie King, an ex-DEA agent and Jack’s mentor, for help. So King, who dabbles in (unlicensed) private eye work in New Orleans, brings Lou in on a case—tracking down a witness before the ex-boyfriend can. This, however, may prove just as dangerous as systematically taking out Martinelli’s mules, which Lou doesn’t stop doing. And learning that someone else may be responsible for her parents’ deaths only strengthens her resolve. Shrum’s (Dying Breath, 2016, etc.) tale is bolstered by an undeniably resilient protagonist. Lou’s smart and adept (finding these men largely on her own), and her gift makes her a formidable opponent to her enemies. This is augmented by a steady pace and rugged prose: Lou “soothed” by the sound of “mashing the Velcro” of her bulletproof vest “together only to rip it apart again.” The plot doesn’t resonate as strongly; there’s little in the way of investigatory scenes, for example, concerning either King’s case or Lou’s search for baddies. But there are startling character turns (including a double cross or two), some insight into Lou’s potential psychological damage, and sufficient material to ignite a series and an even sharper focus on Lou.
An indelible protagonist whom readers should pity—and easily champion.