January 6, 2007

Shadow Man

Shadow Man by Cody Mcfadyen
Finished on 12/30/06
Rating: A (9/10 Terrific!)

I came across Shadow Man in late November while perusing the New Release shelf at the library. It looked like something my husband would enjoy so I checked it out, not knowing anything about the author or the book, other than whatever I could glean from the blurb on the book jacket. Rod said it was quite good and that I’d probably enjoy it, so I added it to the stack on my nightstand, where it sat for a few weeks. Fortunately, I was able to renew it for an additional three weeks and finally decided to give it a try, since I was having a tough time concentrating on more literary works, what with Christmas right around the corner. This was the perfect choice! Even though it took well over a week to read (only because of the holidays; not a flaw of the book), I was able to stop and start without losing momentum or becoming confused by the details of the story.

Fans of Robert Parker, John Sandford, and P.J. Tracy will enjoy this excellent debut thriller by Cody Mcfadyen. Although I hadn’t compared notes with a friend who had also read the book, we both wound up comparing it to The Silence of the Lambs. (He wrote: “I thought that it was the most disturbing serial killer book I had read since ‘Silence of the Lambs.’ The author did an amazing job of getting into the head of the main character and her trying to deal with the massacre of her family and her own disfigurement. I thought the ending a bit much, the villain was a little unbelievable, but the rest of the book more then made up for it.”) I couldn’t agree more. This is such a suspenseful read and would make a great movie.

While searching the Web for information on Mcfadyen, I discovered he has a sequel (
The Face of Death) coming out this spring (May 29th) and after dropping him an email also found out that he’s busy writing a third installment to the series. I can hardly wait to see what’s in store for Special Agent Smoky Barrett and her FBI team. It’s kind of fun getting in on a new series from the very get-go. I usually feel like I’m playing catch-up with all the series I’ve come across.

Favorite Passages:

People ask sometimes, when they get up the courage, what it’s like to lose someone you love. I tell them it’s hard, and leave it at that.

I could tell them that it’s a crucifixion of the heart. I could say that most days after, I screamed without stopping, even as I moved through the city, even with my mouth closed, even though I didn’t make a sound. I could tell them I have this dream, every night, and lose him again, every morning.

But, hey, why ruin their day? So I tell them it’s hard. That usually seems to satisfy them.


One of the gifts of a long marriage is the ability to communicate anything – from mild displeasure to the meaning of life – with a single glance. It’s something you develop in the process of mixing your soul with your spouse’s, if you’re willing to mix your soul. Matt was giving me one of those looks and saying three things with that one, beautiful eye: I’m sorry, love you, and… good-bye.


Love is not about romance or passion. Love is about a state of grace. You experience it when you accept the absolute truth of the other person, both the cruel and the divine, and they accept these things in you, and you find that you still long to share a life with them. To know the worst in another and still want them with all your soul. To know that they feel the same.
It is a sense of security and power. And once you have arrived at this, the richness of romance and passion that appears is not blinding. Instead, it is invulnerable and forever.

As mentioned, I found the book a bit reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs (both involve a female FBI agent who is taunted by the serial killer they’re hunting) and, thus, it should go without saying that this book is not for the faint of heart. While not gratuitously violent, some of the details are quite graphic and disturbing; and, like Silence of The Lambs, Shadow Man is an edge-of-your-seat thriller from the first page to the last.


  1. Ewww...love thrillers. I'll have to look into this one some more. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I actually picked this one up at the library and put it back. Now I want to read it and I bet it won't be there! AHHHHH.

    Thanks for the recommendation.


  3. Anonymous11:44 AM

    This sounds great. I'm going to recommend it to my mystery group.

  4. Such beautiful passages; the first one brought tears to my eyes. I nodded my head in agreement to all three.

    I'm always in the mood for a good mystery and by the time I finish the classics challenge, I'm sure an intense thriller will be just what I need.

    Thanks, Les, for the wonderful review.

  5. This one sounds great. Love the passages you posted. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. It IS fun to discover a book that you enjoy and know that the author isn't finished with the characters you've bonded with. This one sounds good!

  7. Joy - I think this may be something you'd enjoy!

    Kay - Go back and get a copy! It's a great read. Can't wait to hear your thoughts once you get to it.

    Iliana - Let me know what your group thinks, if they do read it. I'll keep you posted on the sequel.

    Booklogged - I'm glad you liked the review and passages. I almost didn't include them - well, mainly the first, since I'm afraid people might be getting tired of reading so many quotes dealing with grief.

    SuziQ - I love finding an author who not only tells a great story, filled with intense suspense, but can also write lyrical passages like those I included. Dennis Lehane is another who does this very well.

    Jenclair - I never thought about it from that angle! Yes, I'm thrilled that I won't have to miss these characters for some time yet. I still keep hoping that Dennis Lehane will bring back my favorite duo (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro).

  8. Anonymous6:09 PM

    You were right again. I loved this book! I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful writing. Not necessarily the norm for thrillers. I'll have to add the quotes you posted to the ones I marked in my 'Passages Journal'. In addition to the authors you listed I would say fans of Karin Slaughter might like McFadyen. I'm excited to read Face of Death and anxiously await the 3rd. Thanks for the great recommendation, only sorry it took me so long to get to it.


  9. Jen - I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now to read the sequel! And I agree. Cody has such a way with words. His writing is a bit reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's. Thrilling and intense, yet quite lyrical.


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