Shadows in the Darkness

Shadows in the Darkness

by Elaine Cunningham

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Shadows in the Darkness by Elaine Cunningham

Gwen "GiGi" Gelman, a ten year veteran of the Providence, Rhode Island vice squad, finds herself unemployed after being blamed for a routine bust that turned into a bloodbath. GiGi is used to being on her own, though, and with the help of a DA who owes her, she's scraped together enough capital to start her own PI business, specializing in"family problems"-in particular runaways who have disappeared into Providence's seamy underside.

With a few custodian kidnapping cases under her belt, as well as a case against a Catholic school teacher/molester, Gigi is doing well for herself --until she takes on the case of a fourteen year old runaway who may or may not have been kidnapped.

As Gigi investigates, she accidentally opens the door to her own mystical past. Now long-hidden family ties threaten her, and the secret of her identity unlocks a conspiracy that reveals the forces of darkness that play in the shadows...

Forces that intend to be the masters of all mortal life.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429968126
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 12/27/2005
Series: Changeling , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 363 KB

About the Author

A former music and history teacher,Elaine Cunningham has authored numerous books for TSR/WOTC including her bestselling Lirial series. She lives with her family in a coastal New England town.

Elaine Cunningham is a former music and history teacher who resides with her family in New England. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Changeling Detective Agency series, as well as several Forgotten Realms books.

Read an Excerpt

Shadows in the Darkness
CHAPTEROneA cold spring rain pelted the city as Gwen Gellman maneuvered her battered blue Toyota up the hill north of Benefit Street. As she negotiated the maze of the narrow, one-way streets that characterized much of Providence's East Side, the brick buildings of Brown University and the art school gave way to old three-story frame houses, many of which had small shops or cafes in the bottom floor. She pulled into an empty spot across the street from a small Thai eatery, happy to have found a parking place so close to her destination. Tap-dancing through April showers was not her idea of a good time.Gwen dashed across the street, dodging rain-filled potholes, and climbed the stairs leading up the side of the building. Once on the landing, she took quick stock of her appearance. A quick swipe of fingers under one eye assured her that her waterproof mascara was living up to its claims. She brushed off some of the raindrops beading on the shoulders of her leather jacket and ran both hands through her short dark-chestnut hair, not sure whether this would tame her hair or spike it and not particularly caring which outcome occurred.A tall young woman, barefoot and semidressed in a navyblue sports bra and capri-length bike pants, answered Gwen's knock and gazed at her uncertainly.Gwen couldn't fault the girl. Sometimes she tried for a traditionally professional image, but today wasn't one of those days. She wore jeans so snug they looked as if they'd been spray painted on, a sleeveless black shirt that stopped a couple of inches north of her pierced navel, a leather jacket she'd bought secondhand during the Reagan administration, slim-heeled ankle boots, and far too much makeup. Her eyes, which were wide and very blue and slightly tilted at the corners, tended to remind people of Siamese cats. Gwen liked to play down the feline aspect with a few layers of judiciously applied paint, which had the added benefit of making her look older. Or at least, it made her look like a high-school kid who was trying to look older."Rachel York?" she asked."Yes ...""I'm Gwen Gellman. Lauren's mother asked me to talk to you. She said you'd be home and expecting me."The girl's brown eyes widened. "You're the private investigator?""That's right." Gwen waited a beat, then glanced over her shoulder at the rain.Chagrin replaced incredulity on the young woman's face. "Oh. Sorry." She moved aside to let Gwen into the apartment.Unlike most student apartments, this wasn't furnished with parental castoffs and Salvation Army specials. The couch was a new-looking futon with a burgundy cover and a dark oak frame. The matching coffee and lamp tables had the square, clunky look Gwen's friend Marcy called "mission style." The walls werepainted a shade of orange that somehow managed to look cozy and inviting. An area rug covered the floor with geometric shapes in colors that brought to mind citrus and spice. A large abstract canvas in similar hues dominated one wall. Two small-paned windows faced the street, and between them stood a large vase--hand-thrown pottery, no doubt--that held a sheaf of willow branches covered with soft gray catkins. The painting and the vase boasted a stylized signature, the letters "LTS" entwined in curving lines. Lauren Simpson had talent, as her mother had claimed.Gwen turned back to the roommate, who was studying her with open skepticism. She lifted one eyebrow. "Is there a problem?""How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?"It was a familiar question, one that got more irritating with each repetition. Still, she managed a thin smile. "Let's put it this way: In two years, I can legally sleep with guys half my age."Rachel looked puzzled for a moment, then years of math classes kicked in and her eyes widened. She looked Gwen up and down, taking in the mau-rat outfit and, if she was like most people, probably pegging her for about seventeen. "Thirty-four? How is that possible?""It's not so hard," Gwen said dryly, "especially considering that after thirty, it's all downhill."The girl looked unconvinced, but she chuckled a little. Probably because she was young enough to take Gwen's assessment of life after thirty at face value."Now, about Lauren," Gwen said. "Here's what her mother told me. One of Lauren's art teachers had an opening at a small gallery downtown. Lauren went to the opening alone, planningto make a quick appearance then go to an early movie with friends.""That would be me and our friend Deb," Rachel put in. "Lauren was supposed to meet us at the theater in the mall. When she didn't show up, we went ahead without her.""After you got home, the gallery called. They'd found Lauren's purse after closing. You got worried and called her parents. Her mother, after asking around a bit, called me. What can you add?"Rachel spread her hands, palms up, indicating that she was coming up empty."Does Lauren have any boyfriends?""Not at the moment, no.""Girlfriends?""No! I mean, she has friends, but she's not ...""Yeah, whatever. My point is, is there anyone she was likely to meet up with, someone she'd maybe take off with on the spur of the moment?"The girl shook her head in adamant denial. "Lauren's very reliable. She wouldn't just ditch us.""But you went to the movies without her, so you weren't too worried.""We already had tickets," Rachel said defensively. "How were we supposed to know something was wrong? Anyone can run into a delay.""True enough. Do you know if anything was bothering her? Maybe she's the sort of person who needs to go off alone to think things through?"Again Rachel shook her head. "Lauren's very open. If shehad something on her mind, she'd tell me. And she puts a lot of emotion into her art. If she was feeling low, she would work it out with clay or paint or whatever. And she's really a people person. The only way Lauren would go off somewhere on her own was if the light was good and she could take along a sketch pad."All of this agreed with the rather frantic recital of Lauren's habits and virtues Gwen had heard from Mrs. Simpson late last night. None of it helped her in the slightest. She took a deep breath and prepared to take a much-dreaded shortcut."I'm going to need something of Lauren's."Rachel's face lit up. "Oh yeah. You need, like, a hairbrush or something? For DNA," she added, speaking with the certainty peculiar to those who watch a lot of television."That would work." Which was true, up to a point. It would keep the roommate thinking along familiar lines: detective series, pop science, logical conclusions. What Gwen needed was not genetic code but memories. For that, she needed something Lauren had had with her when she'd disappeared."I'd also like to have a look at her purse. There might be something in it that'll suggest where she went. A phone number, a flyer advertising a restaurant or club--like that.""Sure. It's in her room. I picked it up from the gallery right after they called." Rachel trotted off, clearly relieved to be able to do something to help.Gwen picked up a framed photo from a small wall shelf. It was a casual shot, probably taken by a friend, showing Rachel and Lauren in pricey ski clothes. They were mugging for the camera, standing cheek to cheek and grinning. Lauren was a pretty girl--beautiful coffee-with-cream complexion, great cheekbones, perfectteeth displayed in a Julia Roberts smile, and thick waves of black hair, shoulder length and partially covered by a fuzzy pink headband. Her cheeks were faintly flushed with a combination of outdoor exercise, youth, and high spirits.Rachel returned in moments with a small leather purse and an immaculate brush. She noted the photo in Gwen's hand."You can take that. Lauren looks pretty much the same as she does in that picture, only her hair is a little longer. She had it in a French braid last night. And she was wearing ..." She trailed off, bit her lip, thought for a moment. "Navy slacks and a cream-colored blouse. Navy coat. Pearls, I think. Yeah, definitely pearls, a necklace and earrings. She wears them a lot, because they look really good with her skin tone. She likes lots of color around her, but her clothes and jewelry are usually very simple. Classic stuff.""Thanks. That helps."Gwen took a large plastic bag from her pocket and held it out for the items. She didn't want to touch Lauren's purse until she was alone, just in case the answers she sought came too fast and too powerfully. That could be tough to explain to onlookers.She thanked the girl again, promised to keep her informed, and dashed through the rain to her car. She slammed the door and dumped the contents of the plastic bag onto the passenger's seat.For a moment she hesitated. For two days now, Gwen had felt ... open, as if a layer of skin had been peeled away, leaving her exposed to every passing breeze. Judging from past experience, she was due for what she privately called Freak Week: a few days filled with odd moments of psychic clarity and capricious visions.She hated it. She'd spent the first half of her life hiding it. But her first partner had taught her to trust her instincts--all of them. This had been no easy task, considering how much time and trouble a God-fearing foster family had invested in beating them out of her.Gwen set her shoulders, grasped Lauren Simpson's purse in both hands, and took a deep breath.Memories flooded her--Lauren's memories, indistinct as an almost-forgotten dream. Gwen forced away a stab of panic, willed herself to sink into another woman's mind.The rain-mottled view beyond the windshield blurred, as if the world was a watercolor painting left out in the rain. The limpid colors swam and spun and began to take the shape of two male faces. Something about them was familiar, but the vision was too hazy for Gwen to decipher. Then a third face emerged from the mist, a woman's face, surrounded by a halo of very curly red hair.An icy shiver crackled down Gwen's spine, inspired by a memory that was very much her own. She pushed her own emotions aside and moved deeper into the missing girl's memories.The woman held out a goblet of white wine, offering it with a friendly smile. Swirling through the pale gold liquid was a ghostly image, a white tablet that had long since dissolved--a memory within a memory. The pill tumbled lazily, and Gwen caught a glimpse of the engraving on it: on one side, the word "ROCHE"; on the other, a circle surrounding the number two.Image gave way to sensation--an intense wash of sensuality that shivered down her spine and pooled low and hot in her body. Sensation became desire, desire became an aching compulsion. Awonderful languor began to steal over her, a silky-smoky feeling that did nothing to detract from the kindling flame. It was incredible, unexpected, compelling. Overwhelming.Familiar.A tendril of memory, this one entirely her own, crept into Gwen's mind and entwined with Lauren's last night.Her scream of rage shattered the twin nightmares and flung her back into the present moment. She tossed the purse aside with shaking hands."No time, no time," she muttered as she stabbed the key into the ignition.She'd almost been dragged under by Lauren's drug-induced sensations, in a way she never would have been had she been in Lauren's place. Gwen's metabolism let her chow down like a farmhand without gaining an ounce and drink men twice her body weight under the table--a trick that had come in handy more than once in the men's club that was police work. The downside to this was that medicines didn't work very well: aspirin barely touched her headaches, Motrin was useless on the occasional sprain. Unless Lauren Simpson also had the metabolism of a fruit fly, she was in very serious trouble.A trio of predators, people Gwen knew all too well, had mixed her wine with a double dose of Rohypnol, more commonly known as the date-rape drug.Copyright © 2004 Elaine Cunningham

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Shadows in the Darkness 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Youre right im sorry stoneteller. Lost my temper there." He mews. Gtgtb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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dalnewt More than 1 year ago
This book is an investigative tale with a slow to moderate pace involving way to much driving from one place to another. Although the heroine is gritty and engaging, the story is too methodically boring and the supernatural elements play a very minor role. This book just didn't have enough zing, intrigue or surprising twists for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely keeps your attention. Character development is quite good and no slow passages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this fun, compeling and totaly enjoyable!! The people in the book are like friends. I hope this series goes for a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
GiGi is a woman of brains, power and stength born out of adversity. All I can say is move over Anita Blake, this is one woman I can admire. The sequel can't come soon enough.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After a decade on the Providence police force thirty-four years old Gwen 'GiGi' Gelman works undercover for the vice squad when a bust turns ugly. Several people die and someone must take the fall. Classic example of garbage going downhill occurs; GiGi is fired....................... Needing to eat, GiGi opens up a private investigative firm that seems to be doing well especially when she deftly handles a molester giving up his day job as a Catholic school teacher. Her current case is to find a missing teen. As the inquiries spin between abduction and runaway, GiGi begins to find she stunningly has psychic powers and starts to ascertain that she is not quite human. As she learns more about her elfish genetic makeup, her investigation propels her to apply her vice squad experience as an undercover operator looking into the Underhill gentlemen only club where children perform erotic dances. The inquiries begin to spin into something greater than a missing teen as a conspiracy involving her family ties surface with the club¿s owner Ian Forest assisting GiGi, who cannot understand why he would aid the apparent enemy........................ SHADOWS IN THE DARKNESS is an excellent private investigative tale starring a delightful unique protagonist, an elf. The story line makes believers out of readers that Elaine Cunningham¿s realm exists as the author cleverly introduces her heroine via the mystery. GiGi is a terrific champion struggling with her case and her new knowledge about her heritage that is dangerous to her elfish health. Private investigative fantasy fans will appreciate this fabulous opening novel that will remind readers of Jim Butcher¿s Dresden files............................. Harriet Klausner