Review: Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt

Title: Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt
Afton Tangler Thriller Series Book Two
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program


The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…


The second installment in Gerry Schmitt’s Afton Tangler Thriller series, Shadow Girl is an intriguing police procedural about a plot to murder a home shopping network mogul.

Minneapolis Family Liaison Officer Afton Tangler and her partner Detective Max Montgomery are among the first on the scene of a horrific helicopter crash. They quickly learn the crash was no accident-someone deliberately shot the helo out of sky.  The discovery the copter was delivering a donor heart for multi-millionaire Leland Odin raises some very interesting questions about why someone wants the executive dead. Their preliminary inquiries fails to offer a motive and before their investigation has the opportunity to gain speed, the killer’s second attempt on Leland’s life is successful.  Max and Afton are soon embroiled in the hunt for the person responsible for Odin’s death but will they locate the murderer before he (or she) strikes again?

Since Afton is hoping to eventually become a full-fledged detective, she is eager to help Max with the investigation. She often acts without thinking and in this case, she puts herself right in the path of danger during a suspect chase.  Afton is given a lot of leeway as she assists Max but will her impulsivity and personal feelings cloud her judgment as they struggle to solve the case?

With no motive for the murder or a viable suspect, Afton and Max are struggling to make any progress on the case when someone closely connected to Leland disappears.  A lack of cooperation by family members and business associates impedes their investigation and they often rely on gut instinct to uncover information. Through hard work, determination and a few lucky breaks, Max and Afton are finally getting close to finding Odin’s killers but a motive for the crimes remains elusive.

Since the reader is fully aware of who the bad guys are and what their next move is going to be, there is a distinct lack of tension as Shadow Girl  slowly unfolds. Despite the initial lack of knowledge for the perpetrator’s somewhat nefarious and violent plot against Odin, it does not take much to deduce the suspect’s motive for the crime. In this newest addition to the  Afton Tangler Thriller series, the lines between Afton’s position with the police force are very blurred since she acts more like a criminal investigator than a family liaison officer.  It will be very interesting to see what Gerry Schmitt has planned for her in the future installments of the series.

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