At the end of the novel, as all the pieces begin to fall into place, you realize how cleverlysome might say slicklyit has been plotted. But slick can be good, and this remains tough, skillful, sophisticated entertainment. When the crime-fiction aficionados set out to pick their best first novel of the year, Shadows Still Remain will be a contender.
The Washington Post
De Jonge, a James Patterson coauthor (Beach Road), delivers his first solo effort, a routine crime thriller set in New York City. NYPD Det. Darlene O'Hara, "beautiful and thirty-four, with wavy red hair and the kind of freckles men try to lick off shoulders," is looking for missing NYU student Francesca Pena, "a very pretty teenage girl with long jet-black hair and bottomless brown eyes," when she learns that Pena's brutally beaten body has been found in East River Park. While her professional colleagues soon focus on David McLain, Pena's hometown friend who initially reported her missing, O'Hara doubts McLain is guilty. As the evidence against McLain mounts, she persists in her search for the real killer, a quest that leads her to cross lines, risk her job and become a wanted person herself. Predictably, O'Hara's digging reveals Pena had a secret life. Few readers will be surprised that the detective manages to crack the case in the nick of time. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The first solo effort by James Patterson's coauthor (Beach Road) delivers enough twists and turns for any thriller reader. New York detective Darlene O'Hara shares her hard-drinking ways and renegade streak with many a fictional cop, but there are some things that set her apart. She has yet to make it to Homicide, so she's forced to investigate the murder of Francesca Pena, a 19-year-old NYU student, off the clock and under the radar. Once a teenage mother, O'Hara feels a connection to both Francesca, who survived a troubled childhood, and suspect David McClain, Pena's erstwhile beau. David reminds her too much of her own son for her to believe him capable of the rape, torture, and murder. Instead, she worries at each scrap of evidence until it leads her further. O'Hara comes to some disturbing conclusions, but even after she and her partner make their arrests some questions remain. De Jonge conveys enough texture that it isn't hard to imagine this on the big screen. Here's hoping that we see O'Hara again.
In his first solo effort, James Patterson co-author de Jonge (Beach Road, 2006, etc.) introduces NYPD Det. Darlene O'Hara, charged with solving a grisly murder that's getting scads of publicity. The Monday after Thanksgiving, the mutilated body of Francesca Pena is discovered in lower Manhattan. An autopsy reveals she was horribly tortured before her death, and the newspapers are all over this grim story. The victim was a golden girl from an unsavory, unpromising urban environment, a high-school track star who got a full ride to NYU and was being touted as a future Rhodes Scholar. The case falls to O'Hara, a no-nonsense woman who also surmounted a tough past. The 34-year-old detective has an 18-year-old son and a hard-earned GED; she's street smart, tenacious and psychologically shrewd. The main suspect is Pena's erstwhile boyfriend, David McLain, who still pined for her even after she dumped him. Patrick Lawry, a corpulent master detective with plenty of experience in homicide, is ready to haul in McLain and add another award to his stellar resume, but O'Hara's not so sure. It turns out Pena was not as golden as she led the world to believe. She worked for a seedy escort service and a strip club. She may have been the lover of NYU's assistant provost for admissions. Even her community service, tutoring the pubescent daughters of a now-clean crack addict, wasn't quite what it seemed. O'Hara has tracked down the design of a tattoo the killer carved into Pena's lower back, and one of the girls has the same tattoo; their mother is not forthcoming with a plausible explanation. While "all she has to generate new leads is her memory, a six-pack, [and] the rapidly diminishing effects of . . .two large coffees," O'Hara finds this is enough-although she gets in deep trouble with publicity hound Lawry. An abhorrent crime, a slimy perp and a noirish prose style-all good but all derivative.
"Startling plot twists. . . . In the noirish, character-driven vein of Dennis Lehane or Michael Connelly."
"A hectic, witty and emotionally satisfying thriller. . . . [O’Hara is] a terrific character, fresh and funny and infuriating. . . . A stunner."
"[A] cleverly plotted and sophisticated thriller."
"SHADOWS has grit, color, suspense, and believable characters, and is delivered in a sharp and gratifyingly terse prose. . . . This guy is good."
"Peter de Jonge’s heroine Darlene O’Hara is one of the freshest, hippest detective creations in many a year. This novel is an absolute knockout and a half."
"SHADOWS STILL REMAIN is a killer of a thriller with a wonderfully human, perfectly rendered heroine at its center. You can’t help but fear for her and root for her in equal measure. A terrific read."