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Gurpreet Sidhu
Shadow: Run, But You Can't Hide
In this multilayered thriller of secrets and family, eyes are everywhere, and safety might only be another illusion. Evan and Shadow welcome a new life into theirs. Their son, Bright, cements their bond and provides hope that they can move forward from the harrowing past. But their former lives can’t leave them alone. A threatening appearance from Evan’s 19th-century self and fearful visions from his grandmother, Venice, warn him that Bright could be spirited away. The family takes refuge in a safehouse provided by Evan’s father, Bruce, while he plots to bring down the Secret Eye Agency, ending the threat it poses now that it has lost sight of its original purpose. Will the past catch up to the present? Shadow’s ex, the SEA agent Marvin, won’t stop his relentless pursuit until they surrender to his demands. Evan’s nephew is the first to fall victim—but not the last, if the Storm family refuses to hand over Bright. Or will the present trap itself in a bitter cycle? Enraged and hungry for vengeance, Evan goes to Bruce, seeking clues that will lead him to Marvin. What he finds will only entangle his new family further with the choices and secrets of their parents and grandparents. The revelations won’t all be welcome. And then there are the dead who don’t seem to stay dead. From twisted histories to the terrifying threats and choices characters must face here and now, SHADOW continues a story it’s impossible to forget.
Sidhu’s ambitious, character-grounded thriller series returns, once again finding mystery and suspense where life and death edge against each other as past lives and a shadowy intelligence agency wreak havoc on a pair of parents-to-be. Evan Storm, the protagonist of Storm: It's a Curse to Remember, is haunted by recurring dreams of his family’s past as his wife Shadow takes maternity leave. Baby Bright is on the way, but the SEA—the corrupted Secret Eye Agency—and the psychopaths in its ranks is still out there, meaning the family’s not safe, despite the efforts of Evan’s father, Bruce, and his colleagues to shut it down. Bruce is facing a tough diagnosis, and some distrust over the secrets he’s kept, while Evan’s visions of the past suggest that Bright will be in danger of being taken away by the SEA.

Facing the danger and the past will involve courage, trust, and the revelation of dark truths, as tragedy touches their lives and Evan and Shadow must rely on Bruce for safety in a world where, as Evan muses, “people lurking in the shadows…would take innocent lives just for power.” Sidhu’s thrillers exhibit an uncommon interest in the humanity and connections of their characters, with much of this novel’s first half dedicated to warm domestic scenes—and some convincing arguments and expressions of regret—between Evan’s flashbacks to the 1930s and shorter scenes at the SEA. That big-hearted attentiveness to what matters in life ensures that the plot’s jolts, when they come, have serious impact, though readers who prefer their suspense tales lean and mean may find the pacing slow.

Sidhu proves adept at twining past and present while creating the sense that nowhere is safe—a set piece in which a character is heavily medicated in a hospital bed is chilling. Still, Shadow doesn’t forego the thrills of high-tech gadgetry and desperate action. Setting it apart, though, is its focus on all that its heroes have to lose.

Takeaway: A spy thriller with a big heart, visions of the past, and an emphasis on human connections.

Great for fans of: Melissa Caudle’s Never Stop Running, Karen Cleveland’s Need to Know.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A