Jessica Campbell is dead, and her murder resurrects a ghost from Chief Homicide Detective Lance Harris’s past. When her body is discovered by a jogger wearing only a torn blouse and a smiley face sticker, Harris suspects a notorious serial killer has struck again. There’s just one problem: The Smiley Face Killer, Johnny Watson, is already confined to Texas’s Huntsville State Penitentiary. Word quickly spreads of the sticker found on Campbell’s body, and television journalist, Claire McKenzie, begins covering the case for the local television station. Harris and Claire quickly become ensnared in an investigation with numerous twists and turns as even more victims come to light. At the same time, the two navigate their own personal feelings for each other and a complicated romantic relationship.
Deann Daley Holcomb’s Beyond the Shadows is the perfect read for lovers of the serial killer and police procedural thriller genres. The easy-to-read prose moves the story at a brisk pace that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat, before pulling the chair out from under them with a surprising conclusion. The characters are well-developed and relatable, which only adds to the page-turning quality of the novel as these characters find themselves in numerous predicaments throughout the solid plot. Although there are a few abrupt scene transitions and shifting points of view, the reader hardly notices as the protagonists race the clock to stop the killer before they can claim yet another victim. Rich in suspense, Beyond the Shadows is a book thriller readers won’t want to miss. It is a winner for fans of mystery, sleuth, and crime thrillers.