Title: When Shadows Fall by J.T. Ellison
Dr. Samantha Owens Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Dear Dr. Owens,
If you are reading this letter, I am dead and I would be most grateful if you could solve my murder…
Forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens thought life was finally returning to normal after she suffered a terrible personal loss. Settling into her new job at Georgetown University, the illusion is shattered when she receives a disturbing letter from a dead man imploring her to solve his murder. There’s only one catch. Timothy Savage’s death was so obviously the suicide of a demented individual that the case has been closed.
When Sam learns Savage left a will requesting she autopsy his body, she feels compelled to look into the case. Sam’s own postmortem discovers clear signs that Savage was indeed murdered. And she finds DNA from a kidnapped child whose remains were recovered years earlier.
The investigation takes Sam into the shadows of a twenty-year-old mystery that must be solved to determine what really happened to Timothy Savage. Nothing about the case makes sense but it is clear someone is unwilling to let anyone, especially Samantha Owens, discover the truth.
When Shadows Fall is another riveting novel in J.T. Ellison’s spectacular series starring forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens. Unable to resist a dead man’s request to investigate his murder, Sam uncovers perplexing information that leads back to a long closed kidnapping case. The subsequent investigation takes many startling twists and turns and exposes a shocking secret that someone will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
When Shadows Fall opens with Sam happily settled into her new life with ex-Army Ranger Zander Whitfield and her new career as head of the Forensic Pathology department at Georgetown University. With her classes due to begin in a few days, Sam is beginning to have a few reservations about giving up law enforcement and a surprising offer to become an FBI consultant is weighing heavily on her mind. The arrival of the letter from Timothy Savage is an unwelcome reminder of what Sam has left behind and at first she refuses to become involved with his case. But the murder of Savage’s attorney piques her curiosity, and with the help of Xander and DC Detective (and close friend) Darren “Fletch” Fletcher, Sam delves a little deeper into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
The trio have barely begun looking into Savage’s death when a young girl is kidnapped and Fletch is a paired up with FBI agent Jordan Blake to find the missing girl. Evidence from the Savage death leads back to a similar kidnapping years earlier and it soon becomes clear that present day events are somehow linked to this previously solved kidnapping. The trail takes them back to this long ago investigation and with a young girl’s life hanging in the balance, Sam, Xander and Fletch are frantically trying to fit the puzzling clues together.
When Shadows Fall is a fascinating and action filled thriller that is quite compelling. Intriguing chapters from an unknown person’s point of view add a sense of urgency to an already suspense laden storyline. Flashbacks offer chilling insight into a seemingly unrelated series of murders and the divergent story arcs begin to converge into a plausible scenario that is quite chilling.
Once again, J.T. Ellison provides readers a fresh and unique mystery that is infinitely fascinating but impossible to solve. Although it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend all of the novels in this incredible series.
Read my reviews of the other novels in the series HERE.