Sheila Bugler

Hunting Shadows

"Bugler’s debut is akin to a big hit of narcotics, but in paper form. This book will give you a buzz!"


DI Ellen Kelly has been out of the game ever since confronting her husband’s killer and taking the law in to her own hands. On her first day back Ellen is given the case of a missing girl: a girl of nine who looks very familiar to Molly York who was kidnapped two years previously, her body found dumped on some wasteland. Nobody wants a repeat of that horrific case where nobody was arrested for her murder. Now everyone is wondering if the same person who took Molly has now taken Jodie. And if that is the case, then Jodie needs to be found sooner rather than later.

As always, it is never easy as there are secrets within the family of the missing girl and major suspects who were also involved with Molly’s investigation. Ellen, who is still dealing with her own personal demons, has to deal with people holding back information from her, both in her own department as well as the family.

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The wonderful thing about ‘Hunting Shadows’ is how quickly I was pulled in to the story. Bugler has delivered a wonderful creation in the form of DI Ellen Kelly: a DI who has to juggle her job alongside motherhood. Bugler wonderfully paints a portrait of a woman coping to live without her husband as the shadow of her husband’s killer stretches over her enforced new life. Due to her emotional frailty and this new case, Ellen also finds herself plagued with memories of her early childhood that are brought vividly to life through Bugler’s prose. ‘Hunting Shadows’ is a haunting tale about mothers and daughters, the theme running through Ellen’s life as well as Helen’s, the mother of the missing girl. Despite the reader knowing the perpetrator of the crime quite early on, it does not take away any of the tension of the investigation. If anything, the writer perfectly marries the police procedural and the psychological novel seamlessly and Bugler delivers an addictive crime novel of such a high standard that I could not leave this book alone until it was finished. What also appealed to me was Bugler’s way of making her characters three-dimensional. To me, nobody was introduced simply as a plot device and you felt that each one, whether they played a major or supporting role, was thought out and deserved to be in the story. There are a few that I would love Bugler to expand on but what I do hope is that the writer maintains that balance between a rollicking good thriller with a well-written novel with characters that are tangible. Bugler’s debut is akin to a big hit of narcotics, but in paper form. This book will give you a buzz!

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