Search the Shadows by Barbara Michaels

(No Series)

Haskell Maloney was cruelly orphaned when she was just a baby. Now, twenty-two years later, she receives confirmation of the bitter truth she always suspected: the fallen war hero whose name she shares was not her father. Her quest for answers—and a personal history—brings Haskell to the famed Oriental Institute in Chicago, a city in which her mother lived and thrived before her strange, untimely death. But by rummaging around in the darkness, Haskell's exposing much more than she bargained for. And now she's racing against the clock to discover who she really is . . . and why someone is suddenly determined to kill her.

4th re-read of the year for Barbara Michaels done.

Barbara Michaels, the pen name for Elizabeth Mertz, was an Egyptologist for her other career. It’s expected that the accomplished woman who want to sneak Egyptology themes and settings into even her Gothic work under the Michaels name.

Even if this book is set with a museum curator’s work, there is nothing about artifacts and Egyptology here – instead the protagonist Haskell, obsessed with her mother’s death and who her father may actually be, is digging through another sort of potent history, her own biological tree.

The premise is sound, the pacing as structured as can be with this kind of story, but the plot is too calm. It’s not enough to warrant a full-length novel, so there is lagging.

An attempt or so on Haskell’s life paints a gothic splash, suspense is only there toward the end during a confrontation with the big bad, and the mystery – while not obvious exactly – isn’t that interesting because by the end I didn’t care much who the real father was. Romance is in the background to where I wasn’t sure who she’d end up choosing, but I was happy with the choice when it was made.

I do wish something different had happened with the elderly museum director, however. I think there was emotional potential when she discovered who he really was to her. Tragedy cut those strings too abruptly.

Overall this is an average read – Michaels writing style is addicting to me, so I could easily keep reading, but it’s a story that passes through the eyes and then out the brain again. Just not memorable. If you’re new to Michaels, start elsewhere, but if you’re a fan, it’s worth a read.

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