Death's Shadow

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
169 Pages
Reviewed on 09/01/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

They say that when twins are separated, their spirits will steal away to find one another again. In Death's Shadow by Muffy Wilson and Dariel Raye, this proves to be true. The mystery begins before the story even starts, with the protagonist Brianna looking for answers about her missing/murdered twin sister, Tatianna. Disturbingly, in order to get to the underbelly and truly gain ground, Brianna leaves a relatively clean and stable, respectable academic life to become a sex worker...just like her sister was. As the lifestyle Tatianna endured and the choices she made—or was forced into—begin to overwhelm Brianna with other vices, the last person left investigating Tatianna's murder might not survive the task at hand and see her sister avenged.

Death's Shadow is a relatively swift read, made even more so by the pace of the storyline. It was slightly jolting to open this book and immediately find Brianna prostituting herself for answers, but I also believe that any other beginning would have undermined exactly the lengths she is willing to go in order to avenge Tatianna by confronting the killer herself. She is willing to and actually does whatever it takes. She is gritty and almost fatalistic in how she pushes forward, but as we get to know her there is real frailty that begins to emerge and where it stems from is shocking. The ending wraps up pretty swiftly, but given the intensity of the arc, I'm not sure I could have taken more, particularly as the ending is shocking in and of itself.

K.C. Finn

Death’s Shadow is a dramatic sleuth mystery novel penned by author duo Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson. Written for adults due to some dark themes and graphic content, the story focuses on twins Brianna and Tatianna Denton. Brianna is an outsider at best, but she really is left alone in the world when Tatianna is murdered. With no body and no case to investigate, Brianna shuns the authorities and goes looking for answers herself, leading a strange new life in the underbelly of society where her sister was working. She bares every part of her body and soul to find the killer, but it might be that death comes for her too before she’s solved the mystery.

Death’s Shadow is a really compelling spin on the ‘whatever it takes’ idea of a hero seeking vengeance for their loved one’s death. Brianna’s grimy introduction into the world of drugs and prostitution is not for faint-hearted readers, but those seeking a gritty, realistic mystery with a lot of emotional depth are sure to really warm to her tenacious character. Co-author duo Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson put their characters through a fast-paced novel of discovery and disaster, and the attention to detail in the character development allows readers deep inside Brianna’s head to feel every experience with her, even the awful parts. What results is a poignant and pacey novel with excellent descriptions and development, and overall I would highly recommend Death’s Shadow as a gritty adult mystery with a lot of psychological overtones.

Deborah Lloyd

Brianna Denton was now focused on one goal in her life – to find the murderer of her twin sister, Tatianna. She’d always had a strong sensory connection to her twin, experiencing her feelings. When the San Francisco police could not find the body of the “simple hooker,” as they called her, the case soon grew cold. Brianna left her master’s program at UC Davis and moved into her sister’s apartment in the large city. She too became a prostitute, living in the dark nightlife, seeking to find the answer to her sister’s death. When Brianna crossed Bobby Trothers, Tati’s pimp, her life changed forever. Can her friendship with Erzulie, a Vodouin Princess with special powers, and her relationship with Dr. Ben James lead her to find the answers she sought? In Death’s Shadow, written by Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson, an intriguing mystery unfolds, and the truth is unexpected.

There are two complex major characters in this short novel. Beginning with Brianna, the authors drop a few hints about what is really going on within her psyche. A psychology intern, with some information from the police, helps her to reveal the truth. Likewise, the loving and compassionate Dr. James has a hidden secret that brings about safety for Brianna. The writing is fast paced and the story has many twists and turns. Authors Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson have crafted a complex, engaging plot in Death’s Shadow. This is a real page-turner, and be warned - the reader will have a hard time putting the book down once started.

Samantha Gregory

Death's Shadow by Muffy Wilson and Dariel Raye is the story of Brianna, a young woman searching for the person who murdered her twin sister, Tatianna. The police have not found a body yet and Brianna goes to extreme lengths to find out what happened. Her sister was a prostitute and Brianna picks up where she left off in the hope that she can identify the killer. The police think she is crazy, but Brianna is determined to find out the truth. The deeper she goes, the more she learns. The sisters lived very separate lives, so Brianna discovers a lot she didn't know about Tatianna. Death's Shadow kept me reading and I wanted to know what happened to Tatianna and where Brianna's journey would lead her.

Muffy Wilson and Dariel Raye have created an interesting story in Death's Shadow. It is quite a short read. I would have liked it to be longer, but the story moved at a good pace and Brianna was an intriguing character. I think that the focus on the sisters and their bond is one of the key strengths of the story. Stories that focus on family usually do quite well on the market as it is something that most people can relate to and understand. Most thrillers though do tend to be longer, but people who prefer shorter stories would be drawn to this book. I think it will do quite well on the market in thrillers and crime novels. I would definitely recommend Death's Shadow.

Lit Amri

“Maybe the loss of her sister, her twin, was just the excuse she needed to find herself while searching for the answers in Tatianna’s life. When she grieved for Tatianna, she mourned for herself as well. They were both dead, in one way or another.” In Death’s Shadow by Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson, Brianna Denton is on a quest to find her twin sister’s murderer. The police have no leads and, clearly, have no intention of doing anything further about her case, believing that there’s no case to investigate at all. It’s now up to her to find justice for Tatianna, and it draws her into the dark underbelly of North Beach, San Francisco, where she’ll be confronted by her past and be surprised by her own self-discovery.

Intricate and fast-paced, Death’s Shadow lets readers delve into the mind of its resolute but fragile protagonist. Brianna is convinced that she’s on the right track to solving the mystery by literally living Tati’s life, searching for the ‘one’ who’s responsible for her death. Raye and Wilson’s depiction of the sordid underbelly of society is superb; the decadence of life on the streets, the drugs and prostitution that lionize the morally corrupt. The plot has several good twists and the characters are complex and well developed. The fascinating Erzulie gives some normality and much-needed friendship in Brianna’s life, and an outsider, Ben, becomes the unexpected surprise in her dangerous personal mission for justice. Despite the slightly abrupt ending, this is a gritty and intriguing psychological thriller that kept me engaged from start to finish.