The Shadow Box (Black Hall Detectives Book 2)

Luanne Rice

Thomas & Mercer

Feb 1st, 2021

The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice is a gripping story.  No one should be surprised by this author’s talents.  This is the second book in the series, and it has many sub-plots, and enough suspects to keep the readers guessing.  Just when someone thinks they figured out the antagonist, she throws in a twist and turn, presenting other people of interest.

The book begins with Shadow Box artist Claire Beaudry Chase thinking she has died. But in actuality, she is very lucky that the beam she was hanging from broke, letting her crash to the floor. After awakening, she realizes she has been strangled and left for dead by a masked man. Thinking it was her powerful Connecticut state’s attorney husband Griffin, who is now running for Governor, she decides to hide as she recovers from her wounds.  Afraid to contact the police, not knowing who is loyal to him, she feels afraid and alone.  She realizes the attack has something to do with her knowledge of a 25-year-old crime that would torpedo his election prospects if made public, and the fact that she left on display a shadow box depicting the crime. State police detective Conor Reid is sent to investigate Claire’s disappearance. After finding out that an explosion on the boat of the Chases’ neighbors, Sallie and Don Benson, occurred the same day she went missing, he becomes suspicious that the two incidents are related. The suspense increases as the detectives, Conor and Jen Miano, along with Coast Guard Tom Reid, rush to find who is responsible.

“I wrote the antagonist Garrett as an ambitious man who feeds on power.  He shows one face to the public, and another face behind closed doors, to his wife and children.  Griffin is a narcissist, a sociopath, who has dark emotions, anger, and hates women.  He forced her to stroke his ego. Claire, on the other hand, is warm, smart, sensitive, and an artist who is respected and beloved.  She ends up being very strong. At first, she thought he adored her, but in actuality, he wanted to control her.  It took a while for her to realize what he was doing. For him it came down to power and control as he manipulated her to doubt herself, lose her self-esteem, and to constantly give in by walking on eggshells. He had a talent of making her think it was her fault.”

Adding to the story is how Claire had to endure emotional and verbal abuse from her husband.  Rice powerfully shows that this kind of abuse is hard to endure in that there are no outward wounds, which also makes it harder to prove. She traces Claire’s journey from thinking she married the love of her life to disillusionment to the struggle on how to escape. Through Griffin readers see his darkness of obsession, control, and ambition. But the strength of Claire and her friends show how inner strength can overcome the abuse.

“I do know people who have been affected by domestic violence including myself. For me, it happened a long time ago. Over the years I have been involved in various ways with safe futures, a domestic violence center in southeastern Connecticut, and the Georgetown University Law Center’s domestic violence clinic. If anyone knows of someone that is being abused, please have them call this hotline: the National Domestic Violence Hotline 

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)     TTY 1-800-787-3224 

I want people to understand that emotional abuse is as bad and sometimes worse than physical violence. The scars are there–but deeper and hidden. A hallmark of emotional abuse is having doubts from the very beginning.  Because someone sees it in a skewed way, they tend to push those doubts down.”

Throughout the book readers will go through a range of emotions with Claire including fear, hope, sadness, rage, determination, and triumph. A word of warning, this book will be hard to put down. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.