Shadow Season: A Novel
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Tom Piccirilli's The Last Kind Words.
An ex-cop, Finn was left literally blinded by violence. The one thing he can still see is the body of his wife, Dani, and a crime scene that won’t fade from his mind’ s eye. Now a professor, Finn never would have guessed that an isolated girls’ prep school could be every bit as dangerous as city streets. Especially when he stumbles upon a local girl lying in a graveyard in the middle of a raging blizzard.
Finn may live in a world of total darkness, but it’s about to get a splash of red. The memories that torment him still have the power to kill, and a group of innocent students has been put in harm’s way by a pair of vicious criminals stalking Finn for unknown reasons. Secrets are creeping from the shadows around him—the kind that even a man with perfect vision never sees until it’s too late. They’re about to become terrifyingly clear to Finn—and it all begins with the scent of blood.
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Finn is a former N.Y. cop who is haunted by the incident that left him blind and his wife, Danielle, dead.
He's a professor at an exclusive school for girls situated a half hour out of New York.
The story centers on the Christmas holiday and the campus is mostly deserted. The only other male on campus is an Irishman named Murphy, or "Murph." Murph has a bad shoulder and, to the blind Finn, Murph "...smells of shaving lather and whiskey." Murph serves as the groundskeeper at the school.
Although blind, Finn's other senses are heightened and one night, during a bad snowstorm, he hears moaning and follows the sound to the graveyard where he finds a girl from the town who has been injured. He brings her back to his room to bandage her wounds. While being treated the girl, Harley Moon, asks him not to call the police but warns him that he should be careful because he is in danger, then she leaves.
The author uses flashbacks to allow the reader to learn about Finn and his former partner, Ray. We learn that when Finn was on the police force, there were a number of his associates who were being paid off by criminals and Ray was in that group. We also learn that Ray is jealous of Finn.
At the school, a group of the female students are having a party with alcohol that has been smuggled into the school. Finn is considered to be a pal and is invited. During the party, they realize that one of their friends isn't at the party. Sensing their unease, Finn goes after the missing girl.
The suspense is well done and the author does a good job in describing the difficulties that a person who cannot see would have in getting around a campus and in defending himself.
This was an enjoyable read with Finn an easy character to sympathise with. He shows his courage, empathy and professionalsim in dealing with young students and criminals.