cover image Shadowdays


Polly Schattel. JournalStone, $16.95 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-68510-015-5

Melissa Sweet, the protagonist of the unsettling latest from Schattel (The Occultists), was let go from her nursing job at a Birmingham, Ala., hospital following the death of a premature infant in her care. Though it was ruled an accident, Melissa couldn’t forgive herself, and she was hospitalized for depression. Subsequently, she moved to Selleford, N.C., to live with her mother and a brother afflicted with serious behavioral problems. Now, three years later, her situation has improved. Melissa is starting a new job at a clinic, and she has an affable, devoted fiancé. Then two people close to her are murdered, and her equilibrium is shattered. When the local police seem uninterested in investigating the deaths, Melissa sets out to find the perpetrators and dish out her own brand of justice. Her life quickly spins out of control, and she becomes the target of a conspiracy. Shards of Melissa’s troubled family history alternate with her desperate quest for a version of the truth, though readers expecting a stunning reveal will be disappointed. This works best as a study of depression and the familial strain of paranoid schizophrenia. (Jan.)