Reviews for The Shadow Box

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An artist comes back from the dead to help catch her killer. Addressing the reader with disconcerting directness, Claire Beaudry Chase explains that she’s died. This turns out to be a half-truth; she’s awakened after having been strangled and left for dead by a man in a black mask—whom she presumes to be Griffin, her husband. Claire is expected that evening at the Woodward-Lathrop Gallery for the opening of her new art exhibit, and when she doesn't arrive, Griffin, a Connecticut State’s Attorney and candidate for governor, shows appropriate concern. Conor Reid, a detective with the state police, is at the opening with his girlfriend, Kate Woodward, who owns the gallery, and his sister-in-law, Jackie, who runs it. Claire goes into hiding and slowly recovers, her belief in Griffin's guilt intensified by the memory of his girlfriend Ellen's suspicious suicide a generation ago. Meanwhile, Conor begins to investigate what happened to Claire the night of the opening. Claire’s revelations alternate with accounts of Conor’s probe and the investigation of a second mystery. A couple sailing on Long Island Sound discovers Dan Benson clinging to what’s left of his boat. His wife, Sallie, and their children, Gwen and Charlie, are missing. Chapters from Sallie’s perspective, leading up to the incident, are folded in. Rice front-loads the plot and introduces a daunting number of characters early on, but Claire’s absorbing narration keeps the story afloat until some important distinctions and connections become clearer. Once a link between the two stories is established, Conor’s probe proceeds quickly, aided by Jackie and eventually the resurrected Claire. Rice’s compelling heroine and crisp prose lift her brisk thriller above the formulaic. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.