cover image Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

Catherine Bybee. Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (339p) ISBN 978-1-5039-0343-2

“We formed the First Wives to deal with dating after divorce. Somehow that has turned into murdered husbands, assaults, spies, and all kinds of soap opera drama.” That, in a nutshell, describes Bybee’s First Wives series, of which this contemporary romantic thriller is the third installment (after Half Empty). After being attacked in New York City, Southern California–based estate sale maven Avery Grant takes up krav maga. Contractor Liam Holt sees Avery ably deflect a handsy patron in a bar and decides he wants to get to know her better. They’re well on their way to romance when Avery begins to remember suppressed details from her attack—including a horribly lifelike spider tattoo. Once it’s established that a presumed (now dead) killer wasn’t the assailant, Avery goes looking for her attacker. The story doesn’t seem to start out as a thriller, despite Liam’s entrance as a could-be stalker, which makes the shift into the killer-on-the-loose story arc feel a bit abrupt. However, Bybee’s spot-on characterizations and snappy prose make other flaws forgivable, especially once the twists and turns start to pile up. Glimpses of happily-ever-afters from earlier books add charm to this serviceable installment. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Nov.)