Author: Kate Brian (pseudonym of Kieran Scott)
Release Date: January 8, 2013 (hardcover)
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Overall: 4 Stars
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.
Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?
Right from the very beginning of the novel, Kate Brian hooks readers with one of the most chilling introductions I've read in quite some time. Rory is suddenly attacked by Mr. Nell, her math teacher and a man she could never have imagined to actually be an infamous serial killer. Fighting back with all her strength, she manages to get away, but her life will never be the same. With Stephen Nell still on the loose, Rory and her family are placed under witness protection and whisked away to Juniper Landing, a beautiful vacation island, until he can be caught.
The local teens may be warm and friendly, but beneath their smiles, their penetrating gazes get under Rory's skin. I was so curious to know what her new friends were hiding and the explanation behind their often strange behaviours! And to make matters worse, Rory can't shake the feeling that someone is watching her, but her father and sister believe she's only being paranoid. The brief chapters from Stephen Nell's perspective were creepy to read, and I shuddered at the thought of him ever laying his hands on Rory again.
It was kind of difficult to like Rory's sister, Darcy, too much. Darcy is popular, gorgeous, and accustomed to always being the center of attention, unlike Rory, who prefers to fly under the radar. She never seemed all that concerned for Rory's safety, and upon arriving in Juniper Landing, Darcy is already flirting up a storm with one of the hot local boys. The romance in Shadowlands is generally light, but I can definitely see more sparks developing between Rory and Tristan, another townie, in the next novel. There's a quiet intensity and familiarity about him which Rory can't resist.
The ending of Shadowlands took me completely by surprise and left me in shock! A huge revelation is revealed and now I'm desperate for answers in book two! I was continuously suspicious of everything occurring in the novel, and I always felt that danger was lurking right around the corner. Kate Brian's Shadowlands is a suspenseful thriller which will test you psychologically!
Thanks so much to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing this review copy! You can learn more about Kate Brian's Shadowlands on Disney-Hyperion's unRequired Reading website, and if you're not already doing so, don't forget to follow HBG Canada on Twitter and "like" their Facebook page!