Blog Book Tour | “Hunting Shadows” by Charles Todd

Posted Monday, 9 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Hunting Shadows” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I borrowed the first book in this series from my local library’s ILL (inter-library loan) services for my own edification and was not obligated to post my reflections and/or review on the story’s behalf. I wanted to understand a bit of the back-story on the principle character of Inspector Ian Rutledge prior to reading the 16th book in the series. I originally perceived the idea to read this book and the 15th book in the series prior to my tour stop, however, the hours disappeared before I could. I appreciate the chance to get to know new mystery and suspense authors I haven’t yet stumbled across myself.

Blog Book Tour | “Hunting Shadows” by Charles ToddHunting Shadows
by Charles Todd
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

In the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, Inspector Ian Rutledge is summoned to the quiet, isolated Fen country to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders before the killer strikes again

August 1920. A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a guest is shot just as the bride arrives. Two weeks later, after a fruitless search for clues, the local police are forced to call in Scotland Yard. But not before there is another shooting in a village close by. This second murder has a witness; the only problem is that her description of the killer is so horrific it’s unbelievable. Badgered by the police, she quickly recants her story.

Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge can find no connection between the two deaths. One victim was an Army officer, the other a solicitor standing for Parliament; their paths have never crossed. What links these two murders? Is it something from the past? Or is it only in the mind of a clever killer?

Then the case reminds Rutledge of a legendary assassin whispered about during the war. His own dark memories come back to haunt him as he hunts for the missing connection—and yet, when he finds it, it isn’t as simple as he’d expected. He must put his trust in the devil in order to find the elusive and shocking answer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: An Unwilling Accomplice, A Duty to the Dead

Published by William Morrow

on 21st January, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #HuntingShadows, #InspectorIanRutledge

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

{ Reflections on A Test of Wills : Book 1 }

Heavy-handed office politics puts Rutledge on the line to take a case forced into the hands of the Yard by the local police who felt Scotland Yard was best equipped to handle the sensitivities. In point blank truth, Rutledge was the newly returnt veteran from the Great War, and thereby was deemed quite expendable by his nemesis Bowles. I was a bit uncertain if Rutledge was even privy to the fact that Bowles was less than willing to see Rutledge returnt from war and back on the force.

It was not necessarily the best route to put a good foot forward by finding an unsuspecting person to take a fall, but when politics within a work environment get out of proportion to what is right and just, it felt a plausible thread for this story to take. After all not all colleagues get-on with each other and not all superiors appreciate the return of those who left for war. I felt there was more of an undercurrent of issues stemming out of their different backgrounds and how they ended up working for Scotland Yard.

The war had altered Rutledge and left his mind wrecked and ravaged by haunting memories (i.e. he suffered from shell shock or what we’d attribute as PTSD nowadays) wherein a distraction of a pertinent case needing to be solved would be the best remedy to give his mind a hiatus from his repetitive thoughts.

His key adversary in Bowles had a bit of a quirky ironic ending as Bowles learnt a hard lesson in how when you conspire to take someone down a peg, you might find a willing nemesis instead who could prove their worth whilst you least expected them to shine on their own merits of deduction! Rutledge is both crafty and perceptive, guiding his investigations by how he can construct the crime based on evidence and observational intuition.

A precursory introduction of the series:

I hadn’t realised there is a beautiful serial overview included in the ‘P.S. Edition’ extra features section of my copy of Hunting Shadows until after I gathered an abstract of the series through the first novel A Test of Wills. I did not read the book in full, but from what I read in the beginning and end, felt as though the character is carried through to how I envisioned his character’s countenance and his interactions with his superiors as I revealed a moment ago. Todd is a unique writerly team of mother and son, who have the ability to convey certain attributes about their title character in such a way as to give a reader a clarity of perspective whether this is a first attempt to read their series or a reader whose been with them since the start.

Ironically or not, my own impressions of the story match quite well against the synopsis provided in the Appendix! I further proceeded to read each successive novel synopsis to better acquaint myself with how the series evolved before I properly dug inside Hunting Shadows. The continuity of this tightly written series shines through, as one interesting observation to note is that each installment of the series is a sequential ‘next month’ in the year 1919 before proceeding into 1920! Also, previous events and the deafening resound of anguish surrounding his PTSD is knitted throughout each new chapter of his life as it is revealed through his caseload!

There is a special note of address in the preface section of this novel giving full reverence and mention of a fellow mystery writer whose pen has ended early: Ms Robin Hathoway. It was such a sweet memory to be included and it quite touched my heart before I ever opened page one of the first chapter! I especially love inclusions of this nature, as they strike a balance for me between the story, the writer(s), and the life outside the pursuit of the writer’s craft.

My Review of Hunting Shadows:

A bit of a staging of how murderous one’s intent can shape together out of ordinary hours and given the right creative ingenuity to carry forward a plan, we start to see how the pace of this mystery will be set within the opening chapter. We are not certain of whom we are reading the narrative voice of as their identity is clouded a bit behind the actions they are taking and the methodological thoughts that are running quite rampant through their subconscious ferreting of how to pull off the impossible whilst not giving away the fact they had any intentions of doing anything at all. It’s a clever lead-in by far, as it shows the criminal mindset prior to the crime and lends the reader to seek out a pattern of how Inspector Rutledge can fell a foe.

Blessedly Todd is a writer who spares a bit of the grisly details for their readership who prefers less instead of more to be included, and in doing so, gives just enough to warrant being mentioned without taking us too far afield to where we would be sickened. Another writer might have swung the balance in the opposite direction, as there was room enough to do so. I applaud the writers like Todd who hold back just enough bits to give all readers room to breathe. The leading cases to draw the attention of the Yard are quite brutal but what is most curious is how unrelated they appear on the dice. Each of the men in question who fell were by appearances a dice roll to be taken to the grave rather than a constructed plan by someone whose sinister behaviour overrode his logic to simply walk away.

Before too much time went into the story itself, I started to notice a quaintness about how the villages are set within the world of an Ian Rutledge mystery! They reminded me of my short viewings of Midsomer Murders (a BBC mystery series) as they too, had a quaint appeal to them when of course they were not being too grisly for me to enjoy! I promptly stopped watching the serial, but I find myself happily entrenched in seeing how Rutledge needles out information whilst being caught quite unawares by fog as he proceeds to reach the towne where the last crime was committed. The secondary characters are very well conceived and they are going about their business as if he is the interloper rather than they are the additional cast who are off-set by his main mission due to weather! Quite remarkable how delightful these passages are whilst he’s waylaid out of towne!

Todd honours the memories of men who’ve returnt from war with PTSD as making it an acceptable part of who Rutledge is and how his struggle to maintain normalcy in his life is an uphill climb. The voice he hears in conjunction to what is unheard by others is eloquently written into his personality, as we see little feathers of how the trauma of war and the anguish of what he had to do fused together to haunt him long after his service was done. It brings to light the hard walk veterans have to return back to civilian life especially when they did not want to bring back a harbinger of the war itself with them and yet there isn’t an easy route out of how to untether the voice (or voices) that haunt them as the mind is difficult to draw reason with in these circumstances. I applaud the way in which his mental health is treated as an acceptance of truth from his war experiences and how he is honest about how it devastates his wellness.

The intricacies of the mystery are shrouded in the past, where letters and postal correspondences play their due, but it is more than that; it is where conspiracy and complacent acceptance gave measure to disappearance and lost love. There is much more to this mystery than two fallen men who were seemingly unrelated in crime and less in life; until of course Inspector Rutledge takes up the case and starts to noodle out the lost pieces of where time and history have folded back onto each other the truth a limited few want to find revealed. This is a mystery for readers who appreciate sleuthing along with their title lead character and champion the stories where the victim’s are honoured through a passageway of suspense!

I do not believe this shall be my last Rutledge mystery to read, as I appreciate his manner and his method for drawing out his character’s heart for seeking the truth, whilst at the same time brokers his ability to sleuth against the experiences he gained at war. His intuition especially is heightened but it is his mind’s taut perception on human behaviour that matches wits against those who think they are fully hidden from sight.

On noticing I appreciate a back-story of war or military characters:

I have oft-times found myself curling into a story backlit by the World War eras (of specific interest, truly!), the Revolutionary War era, a small dip back into the Civil War era and of special merit: Revolutionary France has held my attention the most. I find it quite interesting how the writers approach the threads of story, not merely inclusive to historical fiction mind you, but how the back-story of the war and the experiences at war can shape the character or re-define who they are in the present past their time of service that creates the most curiosity to read their stories.

I find myself alighting inside war dramas that are either straight-up compliments to the historical fiction genre or have roots that stem out of INSPY and/or mainstream Romance selections. I appreciate a bit of a wide net, you see, but what I have noticed between my readings of Inspector Ian Rutledge and my previous readings of Major Kurland, is that I find that I enjoy mysteries set against or around wartime. A curiosity that was first sparked by my watchings of the BBC drama series Foyle’s War and which have now continued onward as I move from book to book seeking the same enriched history and full-bodied arc of a character’s journey within the pages of the novels I am reading.

How lovely then, to sort out a new connective thread that explains part of my interest in certain expanses of known history bent back into the fictional world of where authors are taking us next?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

{ click-through to follow the blogosphere tour }

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next by stopping by my Bookish Events page!

Unexpectedly as I was preparing my blog stop for Hunting Shadows, I hadn’t realised a fellow book blogger and friend had reviewed the *same book!* last February! Visit the review posted on Readerly Musings before you leave as I found it extraordinary how we each read it a year apart! I had honestly never heard of this series before I secured my blog tour stop and I was completely unawares that she had read & discovered it last year! How interesting, eh?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Hunting Shadows”, author photograph, author biography, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission.  Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 9 February, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Blogs I Regularly Read, British Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Crime Fiction, England, Equality In Literature, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Military Fiction, PTSD, Readerly Musings, Realistic Fiction, Suspense, the Roaring Twenties, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours

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