By Shiloh Walker
Shay Morgan has stayed hidden for a long time. Living a reclusive life in Earth’s End, Alaska, she’s as far away as she can get from the trauma of her childhood and the man who hurt her long ago. But terror takes over Shay’s life yet again when an unknown stalker steals away the fragile peace she’s built for herself—targeting not only her but the one man who’s ever managed to get past the walls she’s built around herself.
Elliot Winter has lived through being falsely accused before—it ruined his military career. Now it’s happening all over again. And this time, his accuser is a twisted impostor who’s targeting his ex-girlfriend, Shay. Despite a fierce mutual attraction, Shay and Elliot broke up because Shay couldn’t let her guard down, couldn’t let Elliot in. But now they both need to trust each other to confront a psycho who seems to know all their secrets.
Shay Morgan suffered a terrible trauma twice in her life and it forced her to live a life of seclusion. She doesn’t have many friends and most of her contact with them is online or by phone. Shay was in a relationship with bookstore owner Elliot Winter until he could no longer tolerate her being so closed off, keeping him at arm’s length. Now that her identity is slowly being taken away, the two of them find themselves together again to determine what’s going on and who’s behind this treachery.
One of the devices used in this story was to slowly peel back the story of Shay, starting from the end and working backwards, not necessarily in a linear manner. It’s most effective when the story progresses in a way that the reveal makes sense, is anticipated and can be patched together in an interesting way. It just didn’t work in this story, primarily because so much was devoted to Shay’s angst, current mental fragility and physical suffering from a recent car accident. Her point of view was mostly muddled and tangled up with the wreckage of her tragedies and without the benefit of the details, it was just frustrating. I never got the sense of the strengths of this woman and how she ever kept Elliot’s attention in the first place, let alone having him continue to long for her six months after their breakup.
Shay’s backstory was interesting and heartbreaking but there were too many holes in the plot for it all to make sense. And, complicating matters was Shay’s propensity for taking “courageous” actions that seemed more like a “Too Stupid to Live” decision. Elliot was a good guy but was too often left in the dark intentionally by Shay.
I love the romantic suspense genre and have read many books in this category. What works well is when the story is tightly woven, you have a good sense about the characters and they behave in ways that are true to how they are crafted. If at least one of these elements was in place, maybe this story would have worked better for me.
It’s an interesting premise and plot but, in my opinion, it wasn’t executed very well. Others who haven’t read much in this genre might have a better experience. I hung in there to see how it ended but was glad when it was over.