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When I received a copy of Shadow Box from the publisher, I was pretty happy. I've been a fan of Kim Pritekel's online work for many years. I hadn't read anything that she's had published or purchased any of the stories she has for sale on her website so this would be a treat. I've liked most of the author's online work but the grammar, typos, and misused words took a lot of overlooking so I was really looking forward to a clean read. Unfortunately, that's not what I got. But I'll expand on that in a bit. Let's start out with the book's blurb:
Erin Riggs is an average woman with a normal life, though with decidedly un-common fears of exploring her world or her own truths. One 3 a.m. incident would change everything forever.
Tamson Robard spent a childhood with a weak mother, desperate to land a man in order to escape a horrific secret that Tamson can’t even fathom. Tamson ran away as a teenager, but is now a grown woman. Other than drugs, her only friend is a guardian angel, Penny, whom she confides in, sharing feeble hopes and unending pain.
Together, the two will discover buried truths that will lead them through tears and to death’s door. Can the collision of Erin and Tamson’s worlds save them both?
Tamson is a young woman who has had a hellish life and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Erin is a straight-laced woman who takes as few risks as possible. They meet when Tamson gets robbed and bangs on Erin’s door, hoping to use her phone. The pair meet a few more times, never under very good circumstances, and, eventually, end up on a road trip from Denver to Fort Worth because Tamson’s mom has gone missing. The story was interesting but there were a lot of things that kept pulling me out of it and made it difficult for me to like this book.
When I read online fiction, I switch my brain into that mode. I let misspellings, bad grammar, and misused words sort of roll on by. When I read a book that’s been published, that people have to pay for, my standards change. I think that’s a fair expectation for readers to have. Shadow Box had numerous errors that should have been caught prior to publication. Beside the grammar and typo issues, there were so many flashbacks that I found myself groaning when I was pulled from the current action to be tossed back to the past. And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the bad guy was so intent on getting Tamson. Besides being crazy and possessive, I just can’t recall any detail that would prompt his actions at the end of the book.
Will I read more of the author’s work? Probably, yes. When Tam and Erin are getting to know each other and getting close, I very much enjoyed the story. The story lines about Tamson’s family, I also liked a lot. It was the other stuff that, I think, kept me from liking this book.