Under the Shadows by Gwen Florio

Review published on March 8, 2018.

The author is a well-respected American journalist, three times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for articles such as those on the Columbine School shooting and the trial of the Oklahoma Bomber Timothy McVeigh, so I was expecting strong plot and writing in this novel. I was not disappointed.

Although this is the fifth in the Lola Wicks series, it stands alone. We find journalist Lola not dealing with grief following the killing of her husband Charlie by a bomb five months ago and unable to deal with day to day life, her work, her daughter and her own sanity and sleep.

So when her friend and colleague Jan gets tough and gives her a job in Salt Lake city dealing with a ‘fluffy’ case about adoptive children, Lola expects a brief trip and nothing to speak of in a story.

But as soon as she arrives the adopted son, Frank, of the family she is to interview is arrested for murder when his neighbour Sariah is found with her throat cut and a hockey stick embedded in her skull.

The underlying prejudices of the Mormons – or Latter Day Saints as they like to be known – are obviously festering amongst family and neighbours of the deceased. Lola, slowly when not popping pills and feeling sorry for herself, revives her investigative instincts and finds Frank’s past childhood in Vietnam bears down on the reasons for crime and some other unsavoury goings on in the local community.

Great personal read – I’ll look out for others by the author – and I think book clubs will enjoy exploring the issues it raises about communities like the Mormons and Native Indian reservations which are also discussed.

Philipa Coughlan 4/4

Under the Shadows by Gwen Florio
Midnight Ink 9780738750538 pbk Apr 2018


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