The Wait for Shadows is the remarkable second book in the Shadow Series from Karl Holton and continues unabated at the same relentless pace, with a complex plot, subterfuge, double-cross and ruthless killings, as the first. The storyline picks up just a week after the first book ends, with a seamless flow that I made the mistake of putting some time between. If you can, read the 2 books in a row.
Hanson has formed a team of experts, drawing them from other law enforcement organisations. Benedict from the Metropolitan Police and National Crime Agency has an unparalleled investigative ability, Pip is a cyber-crime specialist from Interpol and Paddy a combat specialist and head of Hanson’s security. They are joined by Ellen Wallace a highly capable DCI in the Flying Squad and one of the few people Benedict admires. Hanson is a mysterious figure that has amassed considerable wealth but now uses his network and resources to assist the secret services and law enforcement agencies of the US and British governments. He is not only capable but quite prepared to undertake the illegal work that public bodies cannot, yet need.
“These people that I’m working with … walk in places that we only hear about; each morning the light’s promise means they wait for shadows. They want my help and I know the truth; I can help them. But I know that everyone who is close to this is in danger.”
His team are all prepared to step outside current protocols for the bigger picture and Karl does a brilliant job, building a convincing atmosphere and backdrop to enable this to happen. Each character offers something new in personality traits, and the interactions and relationships are impressively drawn. We see different character dimensions throughout the story where some engagements are delicately handled, while others are fearful, brash, egotistical, authoritative or brutal. The relationship between Benedict and Wallace is one to watch.
The execution of the criminal activities, with their extensive reach and financial resources, suggests that it can only be achieved, at this scale, by one man, and he’s presumed dead. They now believe Jasper is alive and still running his criminal empire with Hanson in his sights.
At the end of the previous novel Benedict takes out the hitman that threatened Hanson and his daughter, but it turns out there were two, and the second wants his revenge once he has concluded his contract with his current employers. His employers can also tell him who was responsible for killing his partner, especially as they also want him dead.
I enjoy and embrace the writing style Karl produces, with its multiple threads and suspense weaved throughout. It’s one that enables the reader to commit to a captivating story as the plot, action and chase is addictive reading. The Wait for Shadows and its prequel are an exceptional thriller series and certainly has me as a dedicated fan.
Karl is a lover of art and considers its meaning during his writing. He often posts images of great paintings and artists. The painting, shown below, by Edward Hopper – Office in a Small City Department, is the inspiration for his cover design.