Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge

by
Non-series

Harper (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-137354-0 (0061373540)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-137354-1 (9780061373541)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $25.99

Review: Peter de Jonge's debut thriller, Shadows Still Remain, introduces Detective Darlene O'Hara out of Manhattan's 7th Precinct in a dark, graphic and gripping mystery.

O'Hara was troubled teenager but is no less troubled as an adult. An unwed mother at 16, she worked to get her GED and with her mother’s support, she kept her son, straightened her life and became a cop working DUIs, sexual assaults, robberies, and the like. While working overtime on a Thanksgiving weekend, she and her partner, Serge “K” Krekorian, are called in on a missing persons case involving Francesca Pena, a 19-year-old sophomore at NYU. David MacLain, an old friend of Pena’s from Westfield (MA), had reported her missing. He had been preparing Thanksgiving dinner at Pena’s apartment but she never showed. When Pena's body is found it had been cut up like a totum pole. Since this was now a major case, homicide detectives are called in relieving O’Hara and Krekorian of their responsibility for this case. But O’Hara had already become much too involved to just step aside, so she goes off on her own to try to solve the crime. By doing so she is relieved of all her duties and put on report. But O’Hara continues to investigate, going from trashy bars and shoddy “houses of pleasure” to upscale strip clubs, from Brooklyn’s tattoo parlors to NYU’s ivory towers, uncovering secrets that were never meant to be revealed.

The intricate and sharply developed plot of Shadows Still Remain is compelling in its own way, but the character of Darlene O'Hara, yet another cop with a past who's trying to go straight but has to prove something in the meantime, is hard to like. She always seems to have a chip on her shoulder that gets more prominent the more she drinks. And she drinks a lot. Characters with an edge are all well and good but in this case, it doesn't work. Still, there's potential here for O'Hara to develop so it will be interesting to see how (or if) she's grown in her next case.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Shadows Still Remain and to HarperCollins for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): A Beautiful Woman, Missing

New York City, 2005. Thanksgiving weekend. A topless Kate Moss peers down from a billboard over rain-spattered Houston Street. Escaping a troubled past, Francesca Pena came to the city and reinvented herself. At New York University, her beauty and charisma are the envy of her privileged pals, yet none knows the real Francesca—who, after a night of drinking, is now missing.

A High-Stakes Gamble

Detective Darlene O'Hara of the Seventh Precinct and her partner, Serge "K." Krekorian, set out to find Pena. But when the case turns high-profile and Homicide is called in, O'Hara—who has an eighteen-year-old son she saddled with the name Axl Rose O'Hara, and whose binge drinking exacerbates the massive chip on her shoulder—refuses to let go. Risking both her and K.'s careers, she defies NYPD brass and Homicide legend Patrick Lowry to secretly pursue her own investigation.

A Desperate Chase—and a Chilling Twist

Following a deadly trail that leads from NYU's ivory towers to Brooklyn tattoo parlors, from a skanky strip club to a whitewashed boutique run by a Korean madam, O'Hara closes in on her prey. But she has to move fast, because Lowry and the NYPD are about to make a devastating mistake that will leave the real killer free.

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