I can’t say that I wasn’t warned.
I had never come across Michelle Davies or her books before – but she interviewed Mark Edwards during a recent Facebook live video (see my post about “Follow You Home”). Given that Michelle and Mark know each other, and particularly given the nature of Follow You Home, that should set off some alarm bells.
Then, on the cover of Shadow of a Doubt, it says “Pure suspense… read this one with the lights ON”.
I didn’t. I probably should have.
I bought this book soon after the Facebook event when Michelle mentioned that it would be on a special discount (in place until the end of April 2021) and started reading it as soon as I had finished reading The Shadow Box, which I was part way through.
Now, I don’t want to say too much about it as that could ruin your enjoyment. If you have read The Retreat by Mark Edwards, one of my favourite books, then you really do need to read Shadow of a Doubt.
I could comment on how this is yet another book – like Day Four and The Three by Sarah Lotz – where categorizing a book into a particular genre is not helpful – but if I say any more on this, it may influence how you experience the book.
The biggest challenge I had with this book is that I couldn’t put it down as I wanted to know what happened next. But, equally, I didn’t want to read it as that would mean getting to the end sooner. Is there a term to describe this concept? I’m sure there should be one – perhaps a German phrase as it’s a language that often has words for particular concepts or emotions (Sprachgefühl and Schadenfreude are two particular favourites). Apparently, Vorfreude covers the first part of the excitement of what is about to happen (not necessarily in a book), while etwas auf der Zunge zergehen lassen (literally ‘let something melt slowly on our tongue’) covers the second concept (again not necessarily about a book) – but that doesn’t really roll off the tongue and I’d prefer to find a term that covers both concepts in one. Whatever such a word may be, it would perfectly describe Shadow of a Doubt.
In the end, the power to want to know what happens (which wasn’t a disappointment – and as I have said before, the journey is much more important than a conclusion in most cases anyway) won over the desire to keep the book going for longer, and I rattled the book off in a just a few days. Shadow of a Doubt is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite book of 2021 so far. I look forward now to re-reading it again one day and to reading more by Michelle Davies.