As the review on the cover image says, “If you liked DaVinci Code, you’re going to love Amid the Shadows”. I will say up front that I’m not a fan of “The DaVinci Code” but I did enjoy this book written by Michael C. Grumley. This may be why the other books I have read by the author, this would be my least favorite. This is not saying that the book itself is not well written, not at all. It is more that the book was not what I had initially expected nor is it in a genre I often find myself reading. I would classify it more as a suspenseful thriller having all the conspiracy theories found in other books of its type. If you like a book that travels all over the globe and uncovers many deep and hidden secret societies, this may be a book worth picking up.
Even with the book not in my preferred genre, I will say that I enjoyed the book very much and listened to if more for pleasure than education. As with most typical mystery thriller tales, we have a young girl that is found to be special in some way which is unraveled as the book progresses. We also have the young helper, in this case a social worker, that is the adult uncovering these special powers, needed to protect the child from harm. The author throws in the super-secret religious group that is trying to prevent the young girl from realizing how important she really is. We have the world against these two main characters and as the author says, they travel all over the world uncovering the mysteries and trying to be safe while doing it.
I will say that the author does a decent job of developing the characters and many locations the book takes place. It is not simply a rehashing of the “DaVinci Code” but there are many similar elements in this story. As others have said, you will have to suspend belief in many areas to enjoy this book. Again, this is intended for entertainment like “National Treasure”. If you can accept the book in this way, it can be enjoyed. I also felt, as some others suggested, that the end of the book felt rushed. It seemed the author realized the length the book was and he needed to compress all the remaining parts into quick chapters. This could have been done for dramatic effect, but I do not think so.
As with other books written by Grumley, this book did not include vulgar language or adult-only scenes; kudos for not going with what appears to be the norm in books today. The book could be enjoyed by both younger and adult readers. I would recommend it for older teen readers and above due to the multiple characters and plots occurring throughout the book which may become confusing for younger readers. Other than that, the book was well paced, apart from the ending, and I do like that many of Grumley’s books are not serialized and instead wrap up when the book is completed. I will continue to read books by this author and I’m happy to see him trying more than just the science fiction/action genre. He continues to experiment with style and story which often makes something that may have already been done before, new a fresh.
Grumley gets some of the best narrators on Audible to perform his books, and I think this makes a good book into a great audiobook. Julia Whelan is no novice when it comes to narration. Not at all, she is a seasoned veteran with over 225 other titles on Audible; and most having four or five star performances. As with all the other recording from this author, they have all been professionally recorded and no noticeable audio artifacts (swallowing, page turns, etc.) were observed while listening.
If thrillers are your cup of tea, I would recommend you pick up this book and give it a go.