I was given an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Shade by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Shade is a fast-paced sophomore novel written by Chad Nicholas.

Personally, I have not yet had the opportunity to read his first novel, Nightmare, but he flexed his writing skills within this book. Plus, I appreciate that he’s dabbling in different genres.

The plot of Shade follows Detective Jack Diamond as he tries to stop a serial killer from killing a woman named Sara Michaels, who exhibits some of the physical traits the killer looks for in his victims.

After they meet, the story oscillates between a previous case that impacts the present one. From there, the thrill ride turns into a page-turning story full of twists in every corner.

What I Did Like

I sincerely enjoyed the character work and the way the characters developed across the pages. Jack and Sara work really well together as the main story progresses. Also, the previous case Jack went through tugs a little at the heartstrings.

Outside of the character work, the pacing of this novel was really well done. At just under 400 pages, there’s never a dull moment. I didn’t feel like things dragged out at any point. My desire to “rush” to the end was more out of interest than “okay let’s get on with this.”

I also enjoyed the elements of PTSD weaved through the text, which I can’t discuss without spoilers. For me, the way the main characters both dealt with suffering from certain “ghosts” of their past was well thought out and added a lot to the story.

Each storyline was also interesting in its own right. I don’t think the entire novel would have worked as well without the other plotline to lean on.

What I Didn’t Like

Some things just pushed the elements of reality a little more than I would have preferred for a crime thriller.

In a horror novel like Nicholas wrote before, there are areas where bits of the imagination can be left to fill in some blanks, or semblances of reality can be pushed to make the story better.

Some things in here just felt a little reminiscent of slasher horrors like Halloween, where Jason just will not die, no matter what is done to him or his body.

The cases of that weren’t as extreme in this book. I have seen other reviews that mention certain aspects of this book glazing over how things would really work in the FBI, and in some instances, I definitely agree. In others, I get that it just adds to the drama and the excitement of the book.

A small thing, and one I’m not sure how I’d fix: All of the chapters taking place in the previous storyline are written in italics. It was a bit jarring at first when it happened. I didn’t realize we’d gone back in time. Even after I figured it out and the transitions were smoother, I just struggled sometimes with the italicized text.

Some of the “back then” chapters are so important. In a lot of ways I liked that storyline better, but reading it on a screen made it difficult sometimes for my eyes with all the slanted words. This is just something a little nitpicky. It didn’t ruin the story for me and would have probably been better if I’d read a physical, but the use of italics is probably the biggest thing I didn’t like about this story.

Overall Thoughts on Shade

I’m happy that Nicholas didn’t fall into a sophomore slump. As stated before, I haven’t read his other book. I can’t do any kind of comparison as far as style or growth. I do think this book was well-written, and I’m happy he was able to deliver such a heart-pounding story.

I’m not much of a crime thriller reader, but it is a genre I’ve wanted to get more into. This book certainly helped pique my interest in it. I think it will fit well into the market it’s going into.

Outside of some nitpicky things, I very much enjoyed this story. Overall, I gave it a 3.75/5.

Now I just have to go pick up Nightmare and see which one I like better.

Have you read Shade? Do you into to? What are your thoughts if you have? Let me know down in those comments, and be sure to check out my other book reviews!

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