Review: City in Shadow by Evan Marshall

I love New York! I know that sounds like the oft-run ad from awhile ago, but I can’t help it - it’s the truth. And books that are set in and around that city naturally catch my attention. So it was with City in Shadow by Evan Marshall, a novel that is part of the Hidden Mysteries series. This is the first book that I’ve read by this author and I don’t believe it's necessary to read the other books in the series first to be able to enjoy this one.

The story begins with Anna Winthrop, a sanitation department worker, witnessing what she thinks may be a woman being held against her will. Anna follows the trail of this woman to a mysterious building on 42nd Street. Meanwhile, Anna’s upstairs neighbour, Nettie, also sees the young woman and starts her own investigation. Both women encounter plenty of obstacles, sinister characters and danger in their quest to find out the truth.

This novel had several elements to it that stood out. First, it was written a bit like a noir thriller/hard-boiled detective novel. That genre pairs well with the New York setting (as does the plot) but the book also had a cozy mystery feel to it. The characters’ backgrounds were divulged, neighbours got to know neighbours (even if they were bad neighbours) and the way the characters zipped around the city and bumped into people just gave me a ‘small town’ sort of feeling. It was an interesting mix and I liked it.

I found the writing somewhat choppy at times and it could’ve used a bit more editing. I didn't always need to know how beautiful or handsome someone was and I felt those descriptions were somewhat clichéd.

Despite those flaws, I think this would be a great series for those who haven’t read a mystery before. It would also be very appealing for young adults new to the genre. And of course anyone who loves books set in New York!



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