In his debut novel (this book came out in 2006, but it was still his debut) McFadyen creates an intense and very real feeling mystery thriller, that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go.
FBI Special Agent and profiler Smokey Barrett (yes I said Smokey), is at a point in her life when she has to make a major decision. Six months ago a serial killer attacked Smokey and her family within their home, murdering her husband, Matt, her daughter, Alexa, and disfiguring Smokey’s face and body. Now Smokey still lives within the same house and she has reached the time where she needs to decide whether to return to work at the FBI or bite her own gun. But the decision is taken away from her, as new serial killer has requested Smokey by name that she be the one to hunt him. According to this new serial killer she is his Abberline (detective who worked the Jack the Ripper case in London) for this serial killer says to be a direct descendant of the Ripper, the original Shadow Man and Jack jr. knows just how to get Smokey’s attention and bring her and her team into his challenge.
This book had me invested in it within the first few pages. The raw emotion that McFadyen is able to portray throughout the book is amazing. This is the BEST mystery thriller book I have read in a long time. It had me on the edge of my seat with suspense and there were points where I was crying because of all the emotion portrayed through Smokey’s character. I enjoyed Smokey as a character, broken, unsure but wanting to take up the challenge and hope that she and her team are able to survive through it. I also enjoyed how McFadyen lets the reader see tidbits of Smokey’s life before the attack, and how Smokey still dreams and talks to her family when she needs them, especially her husband Matt.
Additionally, the dynamics that McFadyen was able to create between Smokey and her team and Smokey and Jack jr. are what make this book. The book has twist and turns and it appeared to me what a real investigation would be like, and the despair that Smokey goes through is as real as any that I could think of. Her team members each have different personalities, and skills, which may clash with each other from time to time, but it helps get the job done. I also liked how Jack jr has evolved from the original Ripper and has modernized his techniques, selection, and hunting. McFadyen definitely knows how to lead you on a chase, make you question all your thoughts and keep the killer just out of reach.
I would normally not quote another individual`s review on a book, but I think that this one describes how well this book was written and McFadyen`s attention to detail and in this case is very fitting because of who the review is coming from. According to John E. Douglas, (Author of Mindhunter: Inside the FBI`s Elite Serial Crime Unit, which I have also read, he was a profiler for the FBI), “Shadow Man is one of the most Powerful and Authentic portrayals of a serial killer and the people who hunt them I have ever read. It kept me riveted right to the last page. Cody McFadyen is the real thing.”
I guess some of you may be asking yourselves, especially if you have read some of my other mystery thriller reviews, if I was able to figure out this book, the answer is yes, I was able to, but I was never completely sure until the very end. However, this did not take away from how much I enjoyed this book, because it was so well written
I would Recommend this book to anyone who wants a mystery thriller book that JUMPS off the page and takes hold of you the whole way.