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Shadows In The Starlight (A Changeling Detective novel) by Elaine Cunningham

01/07/2009. Contributed by Jill Roberts

Buy Shadows In The Starlight in the USA - or Buy Shadows In The Starlight in the UK

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pub: TOR/Forge. 286 page small hardback. Price: $23.95 (US), $31.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-076530-971-6.

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Set in modern day New England, the story centres round Gwen Gellman, who had been in the vice squad on Rhode Island for fifteen years. Now an ex-cop, out of work and on her own, Gwen has set up a private investigation business.

While working on several low-pay cases friend and assistant D.A. Macy Bartlett brings Gwen a new high-paying client, her ex-husband, Kyle Radcliffe. Since their divorce, Kyle had re-married. He is distraught because his new wife, Erin, and their five year-old son Patrick had gone out on Friday and still not returned by Monday morning. He wants Gwen to find and bring them back. Gwen agrees to look for them, but says coming back or not will be up to Erin, as Kyle's previous history with Macy, was of wife beating.

Erin had been working at an 'olde worlde' tea shop in Tiverton, so Gwen decides to start there, by talking with her work mate and co-owner Alice Powers. Following clues to a day spa in Newport, where Erin gets her haircut, the hairdresser doesn't know Erin but recognises the photo as an old picture of Helen Tremayne, a woman she has been doing the hair of for the past thirteen years.

Gwen's parents died when she was just a child and, through the course of the story, she learns more about her birth parents and the elders of her kind, what that entails, her skills, the abilities/qualities that manifest and the people around her. Being Fey, it puts a different slant on the story of a P.I. story and the way she investigates cases

An unusual story that starts out with many mysteries and loads of questions. These slowly get pieced together as you read through the book to its conclusion. An intriguing and fascinatingly unusual mystery unfolds. There is texture and substance to the story so it all feels like a real and possible reality, due to being grounded in mundane observations and very subtle tweaks. Gwen feels a very real person with her pet hates and blind spots and you feel for her during the many twists and turns in the story and the shocks along her journey of discovery.

I found the book to be a snappy, fast-paced text, a definite page-turner, that I could cheerfully recommend as a good read.

Jill Roberts

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