Posted in Reviews

Review: The Shadow Man by Mark Murphy

The Shadow Man cover

Title: The Shadow Man

Author: Mark Murphy

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

3 stars

Savannah surgeon Malcolm King had a perfect life–a loving wife, devoted daughter, and a thriving medical practice. But when a random airport parking lot hit-and-run links him to a dead body in a Florida hotel and an acquaintance is found dismembered and stuffed into a garbage bag, Malcolm finds himself on the run as a suspected serial killer. But he’s no murderer. Or is he?
Who is the mysterious Thin Man who lurks at the edges of his vision? Are the ravens that crowd the skies overhead a warning of impending doom–or do they exist at all?

With the help of Seminole tracker Billy Littlebear, Malcolm tries to untangle the web of clues left behind by a mysterious chameleon-like killer known as the Shadow Man. But will he be too late? The Shadow Man is a complex, atmospheric thriller in the tradition of Stephen King. Darkly evocative and relentless in its twists and turns, it dares the reader to put it down–even for a minute.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Malcolm is a surgeon who lives with his wife and daughter. His life is perfectly ordinary, until the day someone hits his car and everything changes.

I liked the first half of the book more than the rest. The prologue is one of the best parts: the writing is atmospheric and the killer’s really creepy. There are lots of twists and turns, but later on they’re just not as exciting anymore.

The quality of writing changes. Some parts are amazingly written, while others seem really rushed and not very well thought out. There are plenty of dramatic lines. Sometimes they work, other times it seems like the writer is trying too hard to make everything as exciting as possible.
The characters are interesting (my personal favorites being Tina and Mimi), but sometimes their reactions (or lack of) just don’t make sense.

The killer is horrifying, both in the way he looks and the way he acts. He’s a big fan of Jack the Ripper (though the same is probably true of every other serial killer), a self-proclaimed genius surgeon who led a difficult life because of a condition he was born with. The writer mostly does a great job with the killer: he’s scary, insane and really, really smart. But I have to say that the revelation of his motives and some other things that happen later make him seem much weaker.

Altogether, it’s a solid thriller, with strong female characters and a bad guy who completely freaked me out, which is always a plus.


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