The Shadow Constant by A.J. Scudiere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Thriller
Reading Level: Adult (minor F/F situations)
Recommended for: Fans of thrillers, those who like to see a realistic representation of Asperger's
Book Available: July 16, 2013 by Griffyn Ink in Paperback
Trigger Warnings: violence, attempted murder, murder, arson, kidnapping
My Thoughts: I want to point out that I'm a huge fan of A.J. Scudiere. Not all of her books were five-star ratings for me, but all were very enjoyable. I think she has a lot of talent, and some great stories to tell. So when Griffyn Ink sent me a sample of the book and asked if I wanted to review it, I told them if A.J. Scudiere wrote it, I wanted to read it; I didn't need to look at the sample. Most of her books I was provided in exchange for a review, but once I'd read them, I went out and picked up a final copy for myself—sometimes for Kindle, and in one case, an autographed paperback.
This book has a steadily creeping and slowly building feeling of suspense that is as impressive as it is subtle. I stopped for a break and noticed my entire body was tense. To me that is a highly successful effect! Sometimes you can intellectually understand the suspense, but when it is a physical affect... that is some really decent writing.
One of the characters in the book has Asperger's, and it was interesting to me how well the author created the subcurrents that this condition can cause among different people. Reenie, Evan's girlfriend, is initially extremely intolerant of Kayla's differences, and treats her very poorly, while Ivy quickly susses out Kayla's actual abilities and provides a much-needed foil to the hostility from Reenie and the sometimes overprotective attitude of her brother Evan. I know that learning to navigate the waters with Asperger's can be very difficult for neurotypical people; even if you do your best to be very clear and transparent about things, you can be misunderstood. It's something I've been trying very hard to understand better, and I think this book will go a long way toward helping with that. There is also a subtle and very realistic F/F romance going on in the background that I quite enjoyed.
I really liked Ivy's character, and I really liked how Reenie's characters changed and grew through the course of the book. This is written in partially omniscient point-of-view, so there is some minor head-hopping going on, but it's logically done and easy to follow. I think this is Scudiere's best work yet, and am very eager to watch where she goes from here. I've been following this author since shortly after the release of her second book and am very impressed by the growth I see in her writing, and can strongly recommend any of her works if you like a great story. I've listed them below for your reference. This one I think will especially be welcomed by people living with various forms of autism, and their families. It deals with Asperger's in a realistic manner, as nearly as I can tell, and helped me to come to a better understanding of some of the challenges those with Asperger's face.
Also by A.J. Scudiere: If you are interested in this book, or have read it and like the writing, be sure to check out these other awesome books by A.J. Scudiere:
God's Eye: Read and reviewed September 15-16, 2011, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Resonance: Read and reviewed 8/20-21, 2011, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Vengeance: Read and reviewed 9/14-15/2011, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Phoenix: Read and reviewed 5/28-30/2012, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Dumb Blonde: Read and reviewed Aug. 27, 2012, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Disclosure: I received an ARC e-book copy of this book from Griffyn Ink in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Someone is keeping watch over the machine. Should it ever have been built?
The lure of the find behind the loose hearthstone at Hazleton House was too great. The schematic excited Evan, Reenie and Ivy for different reasons, but it is Kayla who actually begins building it. Her ability to focus to the exclusion of all else is just one of the effects of her Asperger's.
The scribbled initials E.W. were merely a curiosity until it's discovered they belong to Eli Whitney. But strange footprints and disturbing visitors let Evan know that the theft of his sister's prize schematic isn't just a coincidence.
It becomes obvious that the generator has no apparent power source. And Eli Whitney was only the first to die because of the machine.
Soon they realize their enemies are much bigger than they had imagined and the threat the device poses could topple an empire. The secret now threatens those at Hazleton House.
Who is trying to stop them?
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