Chasing Shadows by Karen Harper

Chasing Shadows

by Karen Harper

Book 1 of South Shores series

Overall Rating: 2.8

  • Captivation: 3
  • Sizzle: 2
  • Romance: 3
  • Enjoyment: 2
  • Literacy: 4

Book Description: Every case that Claire Britten cracks is a win, not only professionally but personally. The forensic psychologist has spent a lifetime fighting a neurological disorder, and her ability to conquer it is a testament to her razor-sharp intuition. 

Nick Markwood is used to winning in the courtroom, so when his latest case is overthrown by Claire’s expert testimony, he can’t help being impressed by her skill. He needs her on the team of his passion project—investigating unusual cases involving mysterious deaths. Her condition doesn’t deter him, and neither does the attraction that sparks between them…even if it should. 

As they join forces to investigate a murder in St. Augustine, Florida, Claire is thrust into a situation far more dangerous than she’d anticipated, pushing her disorder to a breaking point. Just when she fears she can’t trust her own mind, she discovers Nick’s personal connection to the case—and wonders whether she can trust anyone at all.

Let’s start with the positives: The grammar, punctuation, and overall literacy of this book is good.  The story plot is somewhat interesting.

And on to the mediocre and not-so-good.  This book has multiple plots; though this can make a mystery more difficult to predict, if not handled appropriately, it makes the book long, drawn out, confusing, and often boring.  I enjoy a nice balance of conversation, sensation, and visualization in books… This book had too much conversation at times, and not enough at others.  Just not a good balance.

In an attempt to explain a scene or the intent of a chapter or sub-plot, the author took strange tandems that were frequently either unnecessary or too verbose.  In other sections I found myself saying… “really!?  That’s all?!”  A kiss is short and not very descriptive.  Now, I like sweet romance, I’m not a fan of nasty-in-your-face sexual scenes.  I do, however, like my romance novels to have actual physical romance, something that makes me tingle at least a little.  This book really lacked that.  I would almost categorize this book as a mystery, not a romance.

So, why the ratings?

Captivation:  I’m interested in the plot idea.  I think it may have been beneficial if the series was changed into more books and each individual book focused more on the sub-plots than the series plot.

Sizzle: I just didn’t get the tingle.  Not once.  There is, however, romance at least a little in the book, so it deserves some kind of rating.

Romance:  The relationship factor was sort of interesting, but the conflicts in the many sub-plots were… well, too many.  This book felt like it was more about the mystery plot(s) with a sudden reminder that oh, yeah, this is a romance thrown in.  To be fair, life is sometimes like that, and frequently before a couple is truly together, they go through other priorities.  Thus why the rating for romance isn’t below 3.

Enjoyment: I didn’t really “enjoy” this book.  I found it interesting, but it’s not something I’d run out and tell anyone they had to read because it was just great.

Literacy:  Why is there a literacy rating?  With the increasing number of self-publishing authors out there, I find myself increasingly despairing at the frustrating lack of editing.  Finding a word error or two in a book is pretty normal.  The more errors, the less I can focus on the story itself.  This book didn’t have that problem.  It is truly a professional book.  I can’t give literacy a 5 for this book due to the imbalance in dialog, description, and sensation a good novel should obtain.

To conclude: Not the worst book on earth, certainly not in my list of recommendations or on my “read again” bookshelf.  This is a book I am okay with borrowing from the library, returning, and forgetting.

I am struggling to decide if I will read the next two books in the series.  The back cover interest me still, and having looked ahead at the third book, I’m somewhat intrigued.  Can Karen Harper pull this series out of the dull-drums and turn it around?  Hmmm… I’m skeptical, but am considering.

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