ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published January 8, 2013. Shadowlands #1. Hyperion (Disney Book Group). 326 pp.
When I read the blurb on this ARC at ALA’s recent conference in Seattle and saw it was the first in a planned trilogy, my first thought was not to read it as I hate waiting for the next book in a series to be written. However, I recognized the author’s name from the “Private” series, having read a few of those books, plus the blurb sounded interesting so I decided to go for it. I was glad I did.
Rory’s cross country running and love for all things Science kept her sane after her mom died of cancer. Her relationship with her sister Darcy and her father was strained, especially when Darcy accused her of stealing her boyfriend Christopher who Rory secretly liked. He actually liked her back, but everything changed when Rory was attacked by her Math teacher Steven Nell, who turned out to be a serial killer. Unlike the 14 other girls he’d killed, Rory managed to escape. With the threat of his retaliation hanging over her, the FBI sent the family to a safe location under the Witness Protection Program.
With a new identity, Rory planned to put her former life behind her and learn to live life to its fullest in the sleepy beach town of Juniper’s Landing. Despite her intentions to forget about what had happened, she still felt as if she was being watched and kept having flashbacks of what happened with Mr. Nell. She also noticed the teens on the island kept acting very strangely towards her, almost as if they knew her. When a good friend disappeared, Rory felt the clues seemed to point towards the fact that Steven Nell was really on the island but no one believed her. It seemed as if Rory would be next on his list.
As I read, I had a few “Huh? What just happened? What the heck is going on?” moments, but loved how Brian gave glimpses into Steven Nell’s seriously twisted killer thoughts, as well as how she used the daily Island fog to create mystery and fear in Rory. She dropped a lot of clues hinting something was going to happen, but nothing prepared me for the cliffhanger ending. When I read it, I screamed “you’re kidding me!” It took all my willpower not to fling the book across the room.
Readers aged 13 and older will love this new series, and will be just as anxious as I am to find out what happens in “Shadowlands Part 2.”