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A Slippery Shadow Reviewed
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
Montreal, QC
Thursday, May 12, 2022


Gary D. McGugan's A Slippery Shadow takes off where his last novel, A Web of Deceit, ended.

Once again, he offers a multilayered tale spotlighting the three familiar leading characters that were part of his previous novels. 

We have Fidelia Morales, "chief honcho" of the savage criminal entity, The Organization, her brilliant financial adviser and former lover, Howard Knight, and Suzanne Simpson, CEO of the extraordinarily successful multi-national company, Multima. 

The kickoff finds Morales showing up in Singapore from Australia in her private jet with Knight and an IT expert loaned to her by the Singaporean crime boss, Stan Tan. As the narrative unravels, we will learn more about Tan, his deceitful antics, and how he plays an integral role in the thriller. 

Morales is horrified when law enforcement authorities apprehend her in Singapore. She is informed that they will extradite her to Italy, where she is wanted. She will have to answer to serious criminal charges in Italy. How long she will be locked up, and will she be able to be released, emerges foremost in her mind? Popping up is the possibility that her confinement was organized by Tan, whom she was to meet up on her landing in Singapore, to consider prospective devious illicit antics. However, she speculates Tan may have double-crossed her. 

Morales believes that the one individual, who is nearby and might help her, is Knight, provided she could reach him. The Singaporean authorities let go of Knight and the IT expert, but not before Knight is queried by three separate officers seeking information about Morales for about an hour. 

Before Knights' adventure with Singaporean law authorities, Knight had illegally been in Cambodia. The Organization had kidnapped him from a guest house in Siem Reap and smuggled him into Singapore with stops in Thailand and Malaysia. Incidentally, he had entered the witness protection program with the FBI. He had handed over to them valuable intelligence involving The Organization contributing to the arrest of several of its members. He is continuously playing a dual game throughout the narrative, with his cooperation with Morales and the FBI. 

The story now veers to Florida and Simpson. Multima's share price has collapsed. Unfortunately, this event occurred after the company lost a leader of a division who killed herself rather than having to deal with the incriminating fallout of her poor personal decisions. 

Not merely is Simpson grappling with the fallout, but she further must contend with running a major corporation in the initial stages of a global pandemic. And to boost a little more tension, one of Multima's stores in Naples, Florida, has just been bombed. There will be other bombings, including Simpson's home. 

To help her break out of the chaos, Simpson approaches James Fitzgerald, who will be soon retiring from Multima. For a hefty fee, he agrees to fill the vacant position left open by the executive who committed suicide.

McGugan introduces an obscure figure identified as The Shadow to add a bit extra chicanery to the narrative. He keeps his readers speculating how The Shadow figures into the calamities of Morales and Simpson. And if this isn't sufficient, he further throws in the kidnapping of Simpson's best friend's father and the demand of fifty million dollars for his release. There is also the possibility of the involvement of the Russian Mafia. 

McGugan has generated a chilling novel set in a menacing world incorporating an array of complex criminal mysteries where readers will become enmeshed and taken hostage. He also displays an excellent sense of timing. When we assume we know exactly how matters will emerge, he skillfully blindsides us with shifts in the plot while implanting several disguised nefarious characters that wind up in unforeseen directions with unpredictable results. At times, the action becomes immensely contrived, but the worst thing I can say is that the narrative has nonetheless wholly mesmerized me with its thrilling breakneck speed.

Follow Here To read Norm's Interview With Gary D. McGugan.


 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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