From the Shadows (Monica Kennedy #1) by G.R. Halliday
Publication Date : April 18th 2019
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Genre : Scottish Noir / crime fiction
Pages : 432
A stunning, atmospheric police procedural set against the grit of Inverness and the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, this is the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series.
Sixteen-year-old Robert arrives home late. Without a word to his dad, he goes up to his bedroom. Robert is never seen alive again.
A body is soon found on the coast of the Scottish Highlands. Detective Inspector Monica Kennedy stands by the victim in this starkly beautiful and remote landscape. Instinct tells her the case won’t begin and end with this one death.
Meanwhile, Inverness-based social worker Michael Bach is worried about one of his clients whose last correspondence was a single ambiguous text message; Nichol Morgan has been missing for seven days.
As Monica is faced with catching a murderer who has been meticulously watching and waiting, Michael keeps searching for Nichol, desperate to find him before the killer claims another victim.
From the Shadows introduces DI Monica Kennedy, an unforgettable new series lead, perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves’ Vera, Susie Steiner and Peter May.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia @vintagebooks for tour invite and providing review copy. ***
From the Shadows was intriguing crime fiction that revolved around Monica trying to solve murder and a social worker trying to find his missing client. It was about work-life balance, trying to find peace with traumatic past, and race between killer and detective.
From the Shadows was written in third person narrative mainly from Monica and Michael’s POV and occasional killer’s perspective under title ‘watcher’. Atmospheric setting of Scottish Highlands and Inverness beautiful yet remote with its weather and history of missing people added more darkness to story of murders by a delusional psycho killer.
Story took place in one week that started with, as synopsis said, Robert arriving late at home who was found murdered next day. D.I. Monica could tell this wasn’t killer’s first murder and it won’t be last. At the same time, a social worker, Michael, was trying to find his client who was missing for a week. A gruesome murder, marks on body, and mysterious stone that Michael saw with Nicol made him fear the worst. And then another body was found. It made me curious to find out where was Nicol, did he knew these dead boys, how he had that stone that were found in dead boys’ body, had killer kidnapped him or was he next, how would Monica find killer and how Michael find Nicol. With killer observing their all moves and staying two steps ahead of them made the story thrilling and intriguing.
All characters were interesting. They had traumatic past. Their flaws and vulnerability made them realistic. Monica was clever, observant, and strong but she had her issues. Her past made people gossip about her. Her height references and her uncomfortability related to her height and shoe size was a bit too much but her doubts as a mother, trying find work-family life balance was genuine. I liked her intuitions and logic in this case, she was right most of the time. Her mistakes and ‘not-so-perfect’ character made her more realistic. The only complain I had about her was her decision in climax. It was actually stupid, looking at her concerned motherly nature.
Michael was great character. Lonely, affected by past and tragedy in life, still couldn’t find closure and messed up many things in life. He was different from his colleagues. He cared too much and was empathetic but also reckless social worker. He had many flaws but it was admirable how much risks he took in finding a boy who probably didn’t want to be found.
Michael and Monica, made story interesting. They had their differences but at the end they started supporting each other. Monica’s colleagues D.C. Connor Crawford and D.C. Ben Fisher were also different from each other. There was competitive tension between these two, one didn’t care about appearance and showing superiority while other was orderly, prim and proper, doing everything by book. They made unusual team but I liked how they all worked in the case. There wasn’t much story about them so it was hard to connect with them but I hope I can know them more in next book.
Description of murders was gruesome but not unbearable or overly graphic. Suspense was solid. I couldn’t identify killer till climax. There were not many suspects and we can rule out if they were really culprit or not from killer’s narration which made it more difficult to figure out who he was. Climax was tense and surprising. I didn’t like Monica’s decision but it made me fear for her and her daughter for the first time. I liked surprise at the end. I wish I could see Lee’s (criminal psychologist, who was made to dislike) reaction for being wrong about everything. That would have been satisfactory.
Why 4 stars-
That height references were too much. It made Monica look like some freak woman. And also reference popped at really unexpected time, like when they were visiting Robert’s father to hear his side of story and to let him know his missing son is dead. Monica’s decision near climax was biggest complain. She was smart capable of making better decision but this made me rethink that because no parent would do that.
#FromtheShadows was compelling, dark and interesting #ScottishNoir with many twist and turns. It was commendable debut novel and definitely recommend it.Tweet
I hope you enjoyed this post and review. Let me know what do you think about the book or if you have read this already and what are your thought on this book, which is your favorite Noir Fiction?
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