Title: Shadow Sands
Author: Robert Bryndza
Publisher: Little, Brown
Date of publication: November 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Format reviewed: e-ARC
When Kate Marshall finds the body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.
But the details don’t add up: why was he there in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown? As Kate and her assistant Tristan Harper follow the evidence, they make a far darker discovery . . .
This is only the latest victim in a series of bloody murders dating back decades. A mythic serial killer is said to hide in the rolling fog, abducting his victims like a phantom. And when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.
Oh, Kate Marshall, what a pleasure to meet again.
I remember how excited I was to read the first book in Robert Bryndza new series, Nine Elms. Well, I was literally buzzing when I heard of Shadow Sands. Reading it was a no-brainer for me. I couldn’t be happier to dive and try to capture the reasons why I believe you should read this novel.
Get ready for a mesmerizing and chilling start, as we follow Kate and her son Jack diving at Shadow Sands… Diving is not my thing. I am scared of what could be under the water! And you know what? Robert takes a usually normal and entertaining activity and turns it into the spark that will set the pages on fire.
The author reeled me in before any dead body appeared. The beautiful descriptions of the place, the characters, and where they were in their life at the beginning of the novel felt like slipping my feet in my favorite shoes. I was in uncharted yet familiar territory. Have you ever felt this way? You have no idea where you’re going, but you are in good hands.
Turns out Kate and Jack’s holiday comes to an abrupt halt when they find a body in the water. If Nine Elms had been heavy on details and gory, bloody scenes, they are not needed here. The shock was reverberated in Kate and Jack’s actions and feelings, poured on the page with sensitivity but honesty. How would YOU feel if you’d discovered a young man on your day off having fun?
The psychology is everything in Shadow Sands. Kate and Jack’s relationship is still rocky, although they’d sent the summer together and things seemed to get better. Kate is still lecturing at university, and Tristan her assistant is not far away. Those were the big walls around the investigation…
The case itself. Wow! The mother of the poor young guy who died is not happy with the conclusions from the police and turns to Kate for answers. This is where Robert’s series takes a 90° turn from all other investigation series. Kate used to be a cop, she was a private detective for a bit, on the side, but right now, she’s a woman trying to keep her life together, build a better relationship with her son, and enjoy her lectures at uni. Yet she’s drawn once again to the dark and pain ripples of a case. Is it fate? Is it an unconscious desire from Kate? Both? The fact she and Tristan are forced to walk the line of civilians, without having the right to move a toe towards the official police work is what seals the deal for me. Two characters, two brains, curiosity, courage, and skills. Oh, and a knack for either catching the subtle details that help, or get into trouble! It is so refreshing to have them outsiders with knowledge and no bias just take the plunge, at their own risk. How are you supposed to build a case when you barely have access to anything? Kate has become one of my favorite characters because she fights her demons, and others’, with what she has at hand. It allows for scary moments, on-the-edge moments, and most importantly, it leaves plenty of room for the author to toy with all the players and show once more how well he understands the human minds, what it does, and where it can lead.
“There was something very lonely about being around people who didn’t have to hide their emotions.”
When a pattern emerged, my brain jumped on the idea of a serial killer. We now believe we know enough about them… Well, Robert managed to surprise me!
Instead of being plot-driven and letting the action lead, Shadow Sands is very much character-driven, and it is their actions that lead the lethal dance. I loved learning more about Kate, Jack, and Tristan. The case itself could have ended up in any hands, but they are the ones who make it so memorable, and who, in the end, get the final word.
Shadow Sands is on the psychological side of a police procedural without the police, if that makes sense!!! This is a thriller that seize the attention, pulls you in, and demands answers!
I would like to thank Francesca for inviting me to be part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of this terrific book. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster
series. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies and have been translated into 29
languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.
This post contains affiliate links.