Thursday, July 26, 2012
Shadow Man: Mark Murphy
Orchestrating a murder and making sure no one finds the victim is where our psychological thriller takes fold. The Florida swamps is the setting as a sick and demented killer named “Q” begins by dismembering the body of an unknown woman and burying her deep within the swamp hoping the alligators will devour her as their next meal. Tossing her body parts into the swamp as if he is playing ring toss or any other game requiring you to rid yourself of the pieces, he flings them quite callously to his newfound reptilian friends. But, not everyone runs the way he likes it and soon many other alligators would stomp, chomp and want their taste of this bounty but someone shakes his confidence. Mystical rites, customs or just the fact that looking up into the sky he sees ravens. Hearing the song of these ravens and wondering about the Seminole culture would shake him to the core but not stop him from killing even more. Remembering that the Seminoles believed in all this mystical folklore, spirit guides and communing with nature. Blocking it out of his mind but he heard something else. Would this sound of a howling dog haunt him? If a soul were moved would it come back for him? Shadow Man: Mark Murphy.
Malcolm King is about to enter a world that one might say is identical to that of living in the Twilight Zone. Things are about to happen that would make him think he might be losing his mind, living in another world or dimension and definitely threaten his inner most being and rock his world equal to that of 9.0 quake on the Richter scale.
Some quakes or tremors start off with just a little shake or rattle before the full impact occurs. An intentional hit by a Chevy SUV Florida plates destroys his BMW leaving Dr. Malcolm King answering questions of the police. Only because of who he is does he get a warning. Flying off the handle, crashing the parking gate he’s stopped by a police office. Only because of who he is does he get a warning and not a ticket. But, the next incident might shake his world a little harder and the pieces of his life begin to shatter as his argument in the middle of the night with a neighbor comes crashing down on him but not before he learns that the SUV was stolen and sends the plate number to a friend in the Savannah, Chatham PD.
Disoriented and unsure of himself he is greeted in the morning by another officer this time asking about his early morning call to his neighbor, John Pendleton. A row over his dog Snoopy the center of the conversation the fact that the dog was mutilated and killed with definite precision as if by a surgeon soon to be his problem The author graphically describes what the killer does to this poor Basset Hound as he defines it as eviscerating the dog. Can you feel the earth shaking? Maybe a 2 on the scale.
This is just the tip of the quake as Amy; his wife goes to be with her mother during surgery that has complications. As another death is attributed to his killer but not before someone enters his home and blows out all the mirrors and windows and gets away. A former patient is found dead with his business card near his body and the man gutted out the same way as the dog. Just how all this fits together has yet to be seen as the first death has not been identified or reported. Who was the officer that came to his house to question him about the dog? Could this be a brazen killer? Move the quake to 3.5 on the scale. If you have ever seen the old classic movie Gaslight you might think the events are similar and that someone is trying to make you think you are going crazy. Added into the mix is his friend Ben who appears to be helping him. But, when brought in for questioning the officer seems cold and odd. Speaking with Ben he realizes he does have his best interest at heart but there are many things happening that appear odd. Sharing his encounters with his wife brings to light that the first cop was a phony and telling her the truth ignited her fear but her anger for holding back. But, when Malcolm listens to his messages his heart pounds and he realizes that the person behind these events is serious, as a tape of the latest victim begging him not to kill him has surfaced on his machine. But, who is doing this remains to be seen and why quite diabolical yet clever.
A close friend warns him about another murder and Mal is on the run. Haunted by a man he refers to as the Thin Man in his dreams he runs and finds this specter or person claiming he wants to help him. Just who is Billy Littlebear and why does he want to help him? As Billy tells him about his heritage as a Seminole Indian, why he is helping him and fact that he is a cop Malcolm begins to process that the same killer is after him that went after this man’s brother. But why and who? As the author tells the history of the tribe, the people and their problems with the government we get Malcolm to relax, get sidetracked from his trouble as he tells him about his brother, the gruesome murders and the link to his. But, his brother was not that lucky, no one came to his defense and he died from a lethal injection. The history of the murders you won’t believe until you read it for yourself. But, be aware that the descriptions are graphic and not for anyone squeamish. What happens next is almost in slow motion as Malcolm thinks Billy is behind the murders and learns the truth about what happened to his wife. Next, he tries to find Amy and Mimi only to teach the lunatic that is after him has kidnapped them. Ripper is the key and his paper the link to why this man is doing it. Pawns all of the victims. All of them linked to Malcolm his paper on Jack the Ripper and this man’s insecurities and hate for his own physical deformity and more. But, Mimi is smart, savvy and will not allow this man to win and does all she can to save herself and Amy, her mother as Billy Littlebear comes to the rescue but where is Malcolm and how did the media get involved in this nightmare and why was Tina Baker the reporter so bent on getting this story at all costs?
When Malcolm comes face to face with the killer called the Shadow Man you won’t believe his reasoning, why he has been committing murders and the end result. How many more people will die before someone finally takes him down? Just how far will Amy and Mimi go to save themselves and Malcolm? One man whose life would be ruined if this man succeeds? When you finally understand his rationale and see where it leads the earthquake will reach more than just 10 on the scale as the explosions soar, the death count rises and a killer thinks he’s won.
This is a story about deceit, trust, loyalty, honesty and one man named Billy Littlebear who came into Malcolm’s life and then was gone. Where is the Shadow Man? Only the author knows what happened and have course this reader who read this fast paced psychological thriller with a touch of paranormal, which really made the ending special. You want to know why? Great characters that are strong, straightforward and a young girl named Mimi, who is tough, bold and who won’t give up until your father is safe and her parents are together. What is the final outcome? Who lives? Who dies? Ask the Shadow Man if you can find him? Let’s hope you don’t! Read it and find out and beware: This guys dangerous. Don’t turn your back.
Fran Lewis: reviewer