Shadows: A Jake Somers Mystery: Don Castle
You see a dark area or shape that appears to be a body coming between rays of light and a surface. Someone is standing in a doorway and she sees this outline, shape or profile but not the image. Sometimes life takes on a dark or shaded picture and your thoughts, the images you see and what you feel seem to be enveloped within this dark area. It’s as if a dark or black cloud has surrounded you and you cannot escape or find a way out.
Childhood fears can come back and take hold in the future if the event and what causes the fears is so traumatic and leaves lasting effects. A young child seeks warmth and safety from her new parents but instead finds herself a victim of a cruel man’s desires. Living within herself and never expressing her feelings this young child keeps silent. But, waiting in the distance just might be some hope as she finds her release in a dark and dangerous manner. Trained by these people to deal with the makeup and bodies of those that have gone to another world, this resourceful and demented teen uses her skills to eliminate them. Rationalizing her movements, her thoughts this person develops another persona and finds a way to live.
Shadows are not just this dark form or outline sometimes a person falls prey to someone’s wishes and wiles and rather than create their own life and live within who and what they are they follow this other person, become an inseparable companion and latch on to them hoping for their love and loyalty. Sometimes their image fades and all that is left behind is a Shadow! Acceptance, loyalty, faithfulness and love are just part of what this person expects and wants once he/she latches on to someone that makes them feel safe. But, when things spiral out of control and the one person he/she thinks they can trust gives them pause for thought of doubt what better way to eliminate all obstacles then Murder!
Former police detective Jake Somers has joined forces with the Dallas Police Department once again to solve several unusual murders. One of the victims was killed behind the dumpster in back of his office giving him the impetus to want to find out more. But, Jake is resourceful, observant and when he assesses the crime scene along with an officer, he observes some things that the young officer missed. The evidence is sparse; the victim is a young girl and the missing item quite obvious to the experienced eye. This is where things get complicated as the Captain of the police department contacts Jake to inform him of the murder and wants him to take hold of the investigation. A department shorthanded, understaffed yet quite capable of handling the case, Captain Huddleston requests his help and his team’s expertise. Jake Somers is an ex-detective turned private investigator. A woman is found murdered near Jake’s Office and he is asked by Captain Huddleson of the police to investigate. Apparently the police are overloaded and need Jake’s expertise to help on this case. Jake notices that the woman’s shoes were taken as well as her purse. Bradford Master’s Technical Institute is the link that binds the first murder and the second one of another young student. Both girls found their way to this college and both needed extra money and began working for a cosmetic company. Each one caught in the web of their own needs and both caught up with one young professor whose main stay at the college might have been to teach chemistry but whose purpose was to gain access to the lab to create his own synthetic drugs and his own operation. Things get really complicated when Jake sends his operative, Steve Evans to a warehouse to check out it out and he is shot by someone who does not want what he’s found there known to anyone especially the police. Questions are asked of someone that is there and when left alone he is shot but not before he sees a body on the floor of another missing student.
This is more than just a murder it is about Jake, his relationship with his mother Josie and his girlfriend, Shirley who works in the DA’s office. Within this plot we also meet Maria, his receptionist and right hand person who you have to love. Just listening to deal with Jake and making sure that he stays on task is quite humorous. But, when his mother falls down, fractures her hip and then Steve is critically shot, things take a downward spiral. As Maria, who has just become engaged and has enlisted the help of both Josie and Shirley to plan what she calls a traditional Mexican wedding, puts her plans on hold and from there on things really take a dangerous turn.
Author Don Castle has done some very in-depth research in the field of synthetic drugs and through the DEA agent assigned to help him solve the case we learn how the drugs are made, what drugs are being created and how lucrative a business it is.
Mel Taggard dealt in both hardcore drugs and synthetic drugs, which is why he was lucky to get a position at BMT, and both girls that were killed were nursing students. But, Mel Taggard was the catalyst or the link between the students and the one person who thought he was so important. Wanting to reap the benefits of what he was offering this person went along with everything he did but the gullibility would pay off for him but for how long. Jealousies, rivalries and greed take over and the killer strikes again and this time it just might take the person down. Contacts might be there, access to the warehouse gone and a demented person who shares with readers in Chapter 14 as we enter the Needham Mortuary and Crematorium, and see the ashes left behind.
Throughout the novel we learn how in this case the interdepartmental cooperation is quite unique and information is shared among all branches: the police, FBI, DEA and with Jake. Most people would say in reality this is pure fiction but the author has created situations where the murder and solving the case is paramount and egos are pushed aside. Wouldn’t that be nice in the real world if everyone were on the same page!
The knowledge gained about the uses of synthetic drugs, how they are traded and the fact that there are so many that there are not enough guidelines and laws to cover them all is quite startling. Fake Marijuana and many other illegal drugs that these dealers can reproduce at a lower cost and yet some rebrand them and charge the buyer retail price for the real thing.
The similarities in the murders become quite apparent, as Jake’s powers of observation are quite astute. All of the victims are lying on their backs, a bullet in their foreheads; makeup is perfect and wearing great clothes. Each woman is beautiful the main flaw the gunshot wound.
What does a chemistry professor at BMT, a producer and dealer of these drugs, dead from what is now deemed a murder have to do with these women and a cosmetic company? At first released as a suicide a medical examiner taking a closer look sees needle marks in an area that Mel Taggard could never have reached and how the case becomes another murder for Jake to solve. But, with his mother in the hospital, Steve in critical condition Jake needs to enlist the help of someone else.
The disappearance of the two people that owned and ran the mortuary, the link to the cosmetic company and the necessity to have Steve protected leads Jake to begin to realize that the killer might be hiding in plain site. Questions are asked by many but one person seems to be honing in and asking too many. When Jake realizes that Steve’s life is in danger will the police back him up, with Nurse Groves, the nurse on his case comply and will he be able to convince them to change his room and set up a decoy. However, throughout the novel we learn more about his mother’s relationship with his girlfriend, the closeness he feels towards Maria and the one thing she asks for that he might not want to do.
As Josie appears to be getting well and her hospital room is filled with wedding caters, musicians and much more will Jake enter the room and find out his role or will he make a beeline for the door?
When the pieces finally fit together and two drug dealers pitted against each other learn what happens when Jake is on the case, a killer do diabolical might get away if they do not work real fast. An ending that ties it all together, a killer whose move will shock even Jake and wedding that won’t take place until the mist is lifted, the shadows are cleared and the sunlight suns brightly. Jake Somers is an interesting character that takes the definition of cooperation, understanding and unity to a whole other level.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer