Shadows of the Past: Logan Point Series, Book 1
Taylor Martin is a Psychology professor and criminal profiler. She is very good at what she does, but is frustrated. The crime she most wants to solve is the disappearance of her own father years ago. Despite the fact that police --- and several family members --- are convinced there was no foul play involved, and he just up and left his wife and children behind, Taylor refuses to believe it. Reoccurring dreams she’s been having of clowns seem to play a part in the mystery, and she is itching to find proof that her suspicions are valid.
When her brother calls asking her to come home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to prevent their uncle from selling their family’s land, Taylor balks, not wanting to get involved. But the quest for facts about her father’s disappearance, along with being threatened by an unknown stalker, is enough to prompt her to hop a plane. If nothing else, she will be able to search for answers she’s been seeking.
Nick Sinclair is a bestselling novelist who has been carrying grief and guilt ever since he lost his wife to a senseless crime he feels he could have prevented. When his brother Scott, an alcoholic with a troubled history, is accused of possibly stalking a beautiful college professor, Scott is determined to clear the name of the only relative he has left. This includes convincing Taylor of his brother’s innocence, which is not as easy as he hoped, especially because he finds himself falling for the gorgeous brunette.
"SHADOWS OF THE PAST is a dynamic debut novel by Patricia Bradley. The story is fast-paced, with lots of tension --- both physically and romantically."
Once home, Taylor must confront her past as she digs for the truth about her dad, while also trying to solve the case of her mystery stalker. Nick seems confident that his brother is being set up, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. The one thing Taylor knows for sure is that the last thing she needs right now is a man to distract her. Even if he is drop-dead handsome.
SHADOWS OF THE PAST is a dynamic debut novel by Patricia Bradley. The story is fast-paced, with lots of tension --- both physically and romantically. Nick’s brother as a suspect in Taylor’s stalking case, along with their personal reasons for not getting involved with a member of the opposite sex, creates powerful conflict. But, refreshingly, this story doesn’t contain the numerous pull-back/move forward exchanges present in many romance novels. Rather, aside from a few moments of emotional retraction, as well as the expected outrage over a “betrayal” of sorts at the end, Taylor and Nick’s relationship continues to slowly build throughout, resulting in a satisfying conclusion.
From Taylor’s mother, to best friend and police officer Olivia (Livy) Reynolds, to Scott Sinclair and his attorney, secondary characters are well-crafted, with believable actions and motivations. None seem out of place, each holding his or her own piece of the storyline without overshadowing another. Especially enjoyable is Taylor’s relationship with best friend Livy. Their friendship comes across as honest and tender, yet with several light sarcastic barbs that keep things fun and entertaining.
As for the mystery surrounding Taylor’s father, Bradley expertly weaves the required twists and turns, keeping readers guessing until the very end. The climactic page-turning conclusion is not full of thrills and chills, but is very well executed.
Patricia Bradley is a welcome addition to the Christian fiction market, earning a well-deserved spot on bookstore shelves. This first novel will surely please avid romantic suspense fans, and readers will find her writing to be similar in style to seasoned authors like Lynette Eason, Dee Henderson and Dani Pettrey. SHADOWS OF THE PAST is the first in the Logan Point series, with book two, PROMISE TO PROTECT, due out this fall.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on April 27, 2014