Shadow of the Gypsy
by Shelly Frome
June 6 - July 1, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Josh Bartlet had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small town features writer in the Blue Ridge. He’d just give it a few weeks more and then begin anew, return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and Molly (if she’d have him) and, at long last, live a normal life. After all, it was a matter of record that Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. The shadowy form Josh had glimpsed yesterday at the lake was only that—a hazy, shadow under the eaves. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced in Bucharest or thereabouts. No matter what, he simply wouldn’t travel over eight hundred miles to track Josh down, hook into his life, put him under the gun and ruin everything. Surely not now, not after all this.
"Sharp writing, and a keen pace keep this story rolling.”
– Lee A. Jacobus, author of Crown Island and Hawaiian Tales
“Shadow of the Gypsy is intriguing, complicated, and mysterious. . . ”
– Tina M. Zion, award winning author and international teach of intuition
“By turns charming and chilling, Shadow of the Gypsy is that rarest of gems, a crime novel that curdles the blood, even as it tugs on the heartstrings. . . “
– Jaden Terrell, author of A Taste of Blood and Ashes, River of Glass, A Cup Full of Midnight, and Racing the Devil
“Once you start, you won’t want to stop reading . ..”
– Jana Zinser, author of The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport and Fly Like a Bird
It took reading into this novel quite a bit before I really began to understand what was going on. In fact, it is not until nearly half way through the book we get the real back story of Josh's early life that helps us understand his current adventure. This novel is a journey through the dark realms of the mafia and mobs on the upper east coast. Josh's attempts to clarify his past and live ready for the future form the plot. It's a complex journey filled with good and bad people, false starts and frustrated results. More than once I wondered where the novel was going, what some of the events meant, and the ultimate influence of some of the people.
Frome's writing style is difficult for me to follow at times. For example, Josh at one point says he would have to “venture more deeply into the here and now of Teddy Roosevelt's arena.” (1771/3687) At first read, I had no idea what Frome meant. Later I realized it was a reference to a credo from Teddy Roosevelt introduced much earlier in the book and in an entirely different setting. Frome's use of “arena” threw me and broke up the flow of my reading. This experience was one of many similar ones.
This novel seemed to have a rambling plot. I think I understood in the end that the plot involved some people wanting to take over drug trade from others. And speaking of the end, it came quickly. Suddenly everything wrapped up when it seemed all along it couldn't happen. This is a novel for readers who don't mind concentrating on the text as it takes concentration to follow Frome's writing style.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
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Author Bio:Murder Run, Moon Games, The Secluded Village Murders, and Miranda and the D-Day Caper. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Shadow of the Gypsy is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)