Review: Inspired by an actual Colorado case, Diablo's Shadow is the third thriller by Mark W. Danielson. This moving and heart-wrenching novel tells the story of a parent's worst nightmare: a missing child.
Kerri is walking, running, laughing, playing – all the things all the things a happy six-year-old does while playing in a forest preserve with her father, Randy Connifer. One minute they are holding hands. The next she is running ahead imploring him catch her, all the time laughing and giggling. Then comes the game of hide and go seek. She runs and hides behind a tree. She sticks her head out so her dad can see her and she can see him. He begs her not to run too far ahead. But she's just six-years-old. She wants to run and again see if he can catch her. She continues laughing and calling her dad to hurry around the next bend on the trail. He is only seconds behind her. When he gets to the bend, there's no more laughter or giggles. There is just silence. Kerri is not there. He looks behind the trees. He looks on the trail ahead. He calls her name over and over. But the only sound he hears is that of his own voice. It has been raining and the trails are still wet. Could she have fallen and slid down a hill. If that had happened, why didn't she scream for help? Could someone have abducted her in a matter of seconds? Where is Kerri Connifer? What has happened to his beloved daughter?
Randy and his wife Amanda are separated. Though Amanda has full custody of Kerri, Randy has visitation rights on Wednesday mornings and every other weekend. When Amanda learns that Kerri has vanished, she strikes out at Randy, blaming him. And the police have their doubts as well. Though Amanda despises her husband, she knows in her heart that Randy would do nothing to harm their daughter so she reluctantly agrees to show a united front to the public in hopes of finding her.
Diablo's Shadow is written with such passion that the reader is drawn into the story, so much so that they might feel regret they cannot be part of the volunteer search party. It is a story filled with aspiration, indignation, panic, anxiety, and fear, all emotions that make a good suspense novel better. But there is also a very personal aspect, with love and hate, accusation and forgiveness. This is a superb, amazing, and breathtaking story, but these superlative adjectives do not adequately convey how powerful this novel is.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Diablo's Shadow.
Acknowledgment: Night Shadows Press provided a copy of Diablo's Shadow for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Night Shadows Press (Trade Paperback), October 2011
ISBN-13: 9780984604432; ISBN-10: 098460443X
Location(s) referenced in Diablo's Shadow: San Francisco, California
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Diablo's Shadow by Mark W. Danielson
Publisher: Night Shadows Press
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $29.95