By: Gerry Schmitt
Publication Date: August 2017
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 22, 2017
Author Gerry Schmitt is at it again in her second "Afton Tangler" thriller, creating a tense, gripping story that will have you hanging on every word.
Shadow Girl gets a quick start with a helicopter crash within the first few pages. The helicopter was just minutes from arriving at the University of Minnesota Hospital, transporting not people, but medical cargo, when it gets hit with a surface-to-air missile. Immediately called to the scene are Detective Max Montgomery and Family Liaison Officer Afton Tangler, both of the Minneapolis Police Department. The two are at a loss to explain why somebody would want to shoot down a helicopter that was only carrying medical cargo - a heart.
As Afton and Max begin their investigation, they learn that the heart was meant for Leland Odin, a very sick, but also very wealthy, millionaire who is the founder of a bustling home shopping network. In fact, he was actually "on the table," with his surgeons prepping him, when the helicopter was shot down. Afton and Max initially suspect that the attack has something to do with Leland's business, or his wife, or maybe that really beautiful host who is probably responsible for selling more on Leland's shopping network than any other personality.
The future for Leland isn't very bright unless he gets another heart and that looks unlikely. Wasting away in the hospital, Leland is attacked - and killed. Why would somebody want the man dead? Afton, who dreams of one day moving beyond the "Family Liaison Officer" title and becoming a detective, works the case harder than anyone, taking a few more chances than she should. And with those risks, come several dangerous people who want to get Afton off their tail, and are willing to go through her children - and dog - if necessary. But beware, if you go after Afton's family, you might be the one in danger.
Shadow Girl is the first Afton Tangler book that I've read and I have to say that I'm hooked. The dialog is spot-on and the action is well-paced to keep the reader turning the page. This is not your typical "who-dunnit" mystery as we know early on who the culprit(s) is, although it does take a little while to figure out the "why." However, there is definitely a sense of urgency as the bad guys plot and plan their next move and whether Afton and Max will come out safe in the end. And kudos to Afton's French bulldog, Bonaparte - the little dog with a big attitude. I look forward to seeing where the author takes Afton Tangler next.
Quill says: Another great thriller in the Afton Tangler series. I'm looking forward to the next in this series, and think that Afton certainly deserves a promotion to detective after this case!