Thursday 30 November 2023


Shadow Falls by Wendy Dranfield
Book 1 in the Detective Madison Harper Series
Narrated by Gigi Burgdorf
Genre: crime fiction
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong…

The little girl drags her eyes open, realizing she’s starting to fade. She tries calling out — “Daddy?” — using all her remaining strength. But she’s too late and her voice just isn’t loud enough…

When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.

The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads — they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?

One thing is certain, if Madison doesn't find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…
Source: Info in the "About Shadow Falls" was taken from GoodReads at on 05/10/2023.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
The premise is good! Which is what made me buy this book. But, the story telling kinda drags a little bit. However, this not-so-positive element is offset by speeding up the narrating speed in the audible player app. It is sort of cheating which I am happy to indulge anyway. So, no, this is not a fast-paced read.

The story is told in piecemeal. The current thread with Nate and Madison. Another with Nate's past in prison with Kristen. Then a third with Dr. Pamela Jarvis. This kind of presents a disconnected story. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this book is hard going.

Given the title of this series, I presume that Madison would eventually get reinstated into the police force at some point. Eventually... in a subsequent book in the series.

Gigi Burgdorf reads with a singsong which I am not particularly fond of. However, after sometime, you stop hearing the singsong.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 3.5
Story itself = 3
Writing Style = 2.5
Ending = 3
World building = 4
Cover art = 4
Pace = (9 hrs and 33 mins listening time)
Plot = 4
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries


Meet The Author

About Wendy Dranfield:
Wendy is the bestselling author of the Detective Madison Harper series and the Dean Matheson series, as well as two standalone thrillers: The Birthday Party and The Night She Vanished.

She is a former coroner's assistant turned crime writer. Some of her books have been shortlisted for various writing competitions and awards, including the International Thriller Writer Awards.

The Narrator

About Gigi Burgdorf:
Gigi is a professional actress, born and raised in America and now splitting her time between London, LA and NYC. She got her start in classical theatre and has appeared on numerous stages in London and across the UK in productions ranging from Shakespeare to modern American comedy.

In recent years, Gigi has moved into screen work, with her face popping up in films like 'American Carnage' (starring Jenna Ortega) and TV series like HBO's 'Avenue 5' (starring Hugh Laurie, Josh Gadd), and most recently as Fake Tricia in Nathan Fielder's 'The Rehearsal' on HBO.

Gigi trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, resulting in a BFA from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, followed by a post-graduate diploma in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Performing Arts.

In addition to her acting and comedy skills, Gigi is a talented improviser and an award-winning kazoo player. She holds both US and UK passports.

Gigi is now also an award-winning filmmaker. Her first short film, 'Same Time Next Week', won several awards on the festival circuit, spurring her on to create a second short — 'The Plan' — a dark comedy two-hander that she wrote, directed, produced and acted in, which is now winning awards of its own.

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

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