cover image Night of Shadows

Night of Shadows

Edward Gorman. Doubleday Books, $14.95 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24561-6

The inspiration for this novel by veteran genre writer Gorman ( Grave's Retreat ) was Anna Placak, the first female uniformed police officer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1890. The author's Anna Tolan, of that time and place, wears a pinafore with a badge identifying her as a jailhouse matron, but she is nevertheless resented by male constables, even detective David Peary, who wants to marry her. When Stephen Fuller, a visitor to the city, is accused of murder, Anna seizes the chance to prove her skill and courage. An old-time gunfighter, now sapped by years of carousing, Stephen is innocent in Anna's eyes. She intends to reveal the guilty person--whose identity will come as no surprise to the reader. After events strongly reminiscent of Psycho , Anna and David embrace, ending this hyped-up, artifical adventure with the hint that there's a pinafore in her future as well as in her past. (Feb.)