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The Shadow Side
Linda Castillo
ISBN: 0425191028
July 2003
Romantic Suspense

Dr. Elizabeth (Eli) Barnes has devoted her life to her medical research, at the expense of a personal life, and it's paid off with a breakthrough drug that has resulted in her receiving a coveted award that puts her at the top of her field and something she's worked her whole life for. Things are perfect, or so she thinks, until a hardened man arrives at her work asking questions about her research and the drug Valazine, who's development has been the crowning glory in her career and a drug that's helped thousands in dealing with depression, something her mother suffered from and lost the battle against by committing suicide. For that reason, the development of Valazine is all that more important to Eli. She's not about to let some screwball start throwing around accusations that Valazine is causing non-violent people to behave violently, committing murder and suicide.

Detective Adam Boedecker has been trying to pull his life together, for the past three years, after being shot in the head in the line of duty. Literally at deaths door, he's had to fight his way back from the ground up and not only has he had to relearn everyday functions, he also had to deal with the betrayal of his partner and his wife, who became involved during his recovery. Could life get any worse? They do when his brother turns up dead, seemingly having murdered his pregnant wife and then turning the gun on himself. All Adam's training as a detective, even thought he's still not on active duty, comes into play and he's determined to find out what happened, not believing his brother would commit such a crime. What makes matters worse, he has to work around his ex-partner, and he's only too willing to put the screws to him for the breakup of his marriage. He uses guilt as a weapon to investigate the crime on his own and to keep his ex-partner off his back long enough to find out what really happened. Finding a prescription bottle of Valazine leads Adam to some startling information. Information that seems to point towards the drug causing violent acts of murder in a number of people across the country that were also prescribed the same drug. That drug leads him to Dr. Elizabeth Barnes and he's about to find out he's got a fight on his hands as he comes up against one of the toughest women he's ever met and it's not going to be so easy to convince her the drug she helped develop is responsible for dozens of deaths.

Stunning. A masterpiece of suspense polished off with a raw romance. Linda Castillo has cemented her place in romantic suspense as one of the best, as far as this reader is concerned. This book, the best romantic suspense Ive ever read, knocked me out. The characters were hot, the story was downright chilling and the relationship that developed between Eli and Adam was fraught with two strong personalities, personalities that didn't pull any punches, and these two characters didn't deal with each other using kid gloves. Adam and Eli literally went at it more than a few times, with words, and it definitely wasn't love or attraction at first site. I loved the pace of this romance, how it gradually developed, after they started out as antagonists, as far apart as two people could be. One determined to prove the other wrong. I loved watching these two characters, one who didn't have time for a relationship, and one that couldn't trust anymore, open themselves to each other, very slowly, to find what they'd both been looking for. Someone they could depend on, through the good and bad.

The plot of this story is downright eerie, but so compelling. The pace constantly keeps you on the edge and you never know what's going to happen from one minute to the next. A trademark of Linda's that she does very well, giving you twists and turns and never giving you any clues as to what's going to happend next or who did it, until the very last minute! Don't miss this thriller; you'll be sorry if you do. They don't come any better than this. Take it from a VERY picky reader!

Barb Hoeter, June 2003

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