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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
"Shadow Man" is the second volume in Tara Fox Hall's 'Lash Series'. Lash is a were-snake and an assassin, who serves his friend and employer, Abraham, who is the Vampire Lord in charge of New Orleans during the time of the Great Depression. When we first meet Lash, Abraham is discussing the influx of hungry, dispossessed vampires into the city and authorizes Lash to kill those who cause trouble. He also diplomatically asks Lash about his recent assaults on the city's prostitutes. As a were-snake, Lash has few women of his own kind to associate with. Abraham suggests that they seek brides from a service, and the two friends make plans to give that option a try. They are distracted from those plans at first by a rogue church that seems to be attracting new vampires. Lash is sent to investigate what appears to be a growing threat to the current vampire leadership.
Lash is a complex and intriguing character. Hall's choice of snake as her main character's were-animal is an interesting departure from the were-cats, wolves and rodents one usually encounters in paranormal literature. Lash is, moreover, a Cottonmouth, an unpredictable American viper and water snake, but among his lovers are both a coral and a garter snake. His instinctive responses to stress are sometimes coarse and brutal but, as the story progresses, one begins to see a burgeoning emotional maturity and a need for more than merely physical stimulation. There is also a lot of action in "Shadow Man" as the Vampire Lords act against the invading threat and continue to conspire against each other. This is an entertaining work that can be read before the first volume in the series.