three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
27-Mar-Apr-2007
user_rating: 
0

A-The Shadow CatchersFBI Special Agent Michael Yeager has a dark history behind him, including a child kidnapping case that went awry in Philadelphia. Suspended and ashamed, Yeager retreats to the small town of San Cristobal, Nevada. Despite his attempt to start life anew, he soon becomes involved in a child’s "accidental" death … and then a murder … and then another girl’s disappearance. The police first suspect him, but when he clears his name, Yeager, bound by his tormented conscience, starts to track the path of "the shadow catcher," a serial killer.
St. Martin’s Minotaur. 321 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0312347995

South FL Sun-Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"The Shadow Catchers is pitch perfect noir, filled with dark corners, even in the sunlight. Lakeman knows how to apply touches of the western novel—Michael is the epitome of the high plains drifter—horror and the hard-boiled mystery in this rousing debut. … The realistic characters are worth caring about." Oline H. Cogdill

Washington Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"There’s little new here, but the novel works because Lakeman relates his nightmare with skill, confidence and a sharp eye for detail—he believes in his dark tale enough to make us buy it, too. … State-of-the-art violence may not be your idea of fun, but if it is, The Shadow Catchers is an engrossing read." Patrick Anderson

Gumshoe Review 3 of 5 Stars
"I’m torn between hoping Lakeman continues with the character and fearing that this promising new talent will get locked into one story and one voice, because his debut with The Shadow Catchers offers the hope that he may have what it takes to become more than the author of a good book, which this certainly is, but an author who will get better and better as his own story unfolds." Ernest Lilley

Boston Globe 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Too many grisly murders, too many suspects, too many plot kinks and switcheroos. Instead of ‘Aha!’ at the end, it’s ‘Huh?’" Hallie Ephron

Critical Summary

If his debut novel is representative of books to come, Thomas Lakeman, a professor at the University of South Alabama, shows great promise as a new voice in crime fiction. While The Shadow Catchers offers no earth-shattering story line, critics agree that Lakeman brings intelligence, wit, suspense, and excellent detail, dialogue, and characterization to his story. Even though it’s about justice and redemption, The Shadow Catchers may trouble some readers with its extreme darkness and violence. Other readers, like Hallie Ephron, found the novel confusing, if well written. But consensus has it: Lakeman is a writer to watch.