Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great mystery and strong characters
Cons: One character I didn’t like; scattered editing issues
The Bottom Line:
This strong debut finds
Carol in over her head
I Have No Doubt You’ll Enjoy This Debut
Earlier this year, I met author Nancy Cole Silverman at the LA Times Festival of Books. After chatting with her for a few minutes, I picked up her first novel, Shadow of Doubt. It’s taken me from April to now to make the time to read it, and I wish I had read it sooner.
This book introduces us to Carol Childs, who is changing careers from radio advertising to radio news. She is working at KCHC, a talk radio station in Los Angeles. She’s so new to her job that she is still on probation, needing to get everything okayed through her news director Tyler.
And that means Carol is hungry for any scoop she can get, so when her neighbor Samantha shows up on her doorstep one morning with news that her aunt has died, Carol is thrilled with her scoop. You see, Samantha’s aunt is Pepper Millhouse, the head of the leading talent agency in Hollywood, so her death is big news. Then one of Carol’s co-workers connects Pepper’s death to another couple of recent deaths, and Carol begins to wonder if the tragic accident isn’t really murder. Can she follow the story, find the truth, and stay on her news director’s good side?
The book drew me in right away, and kept me engaged until the very end. I must say, the murder method was ingenious and also a little scary. It’s always nice to find something creative like this in a murder mystery. The book contained plenty of twists and conflict as Carol dealt with her boss, her FBI boyfriend also involved in the case, and tried to learn the truth. All this leads us to a nail biting scene and the wonderful solution.
Just as skillfully drawn are the characters. Yes, it is a debut, so there is room for them to grow, but I felt like we got to know the main players. The characters who will be series regulars and those who are just suspects in this book are both strong. They’re an interesting bunch, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of flaws. First, one of the characters really bothered me. I’m sure we were supposed to find Misty, a psychic (of sorts) to the stars, a bit creepy and comic relief at the same time. I just didn’t like her at all. Additionally, there were a number of typos in the book, either missing commas, words out of order, or repeated words. Normally, I can let one or two go, but there were several handfuls here, which was enough to annoy me. They were scattered around enough that it didn’t hamper understanding the story. They just annoyed when I had to backtrack and reread to understand what the author meant.
But let me be clear, neither of these is a reason to avoid the book. This is a solid debut that will entertain you. I never wanted to put the book down. It’s that delightful.