Out of the Shadow tells the story of two women drawn together in the present to uncover a crime from the past.
Having survived a rape and her husband’s murder, all Becca Rosen wants to do is move on with her life, but how can she when she’s being stalked by a psychopath with an attitude—and an agenda. The police are no help because they’re convinced, with her history of mental illness, Becca has faked the rape to get away with her husband’s murder. On top of that, Becca has begun to have flashbacks and nightmares of childhood abuse, possibly at the hands of the rapist. Not knowing where to turn, and feeling like she might go crazy again, Becca hires a psychologist, Dr. Sarah Abrams, to help her unearth who’s behind the crimes of the past … and the present.
Three men come into Becca’s life around the same time. While each of these men has his charms, Becca can’t be certain whether any one of them is the real killer. Or could it be someone else? Together Becca and Sarah start on a course of hypnotherapy to discover the abuser’s identity. Will their work reveal the real killer before it’s too late, or will Becca fall prey to this demented criminal?
Any reader interested in compelling mysteries will find OUT OF THE SHADOW a powerful read, telling of one Becca Rosen, who survives a rape and just wants to move on with life. The only trouble is: she’s being stalked by a psychopath who has a different agenda for her, and the police are convinced she’s faking the rape to get away with her husband’s murder.
Desperate, Becca hires a psychotherapist to help her handle the flashbacks and nightmares that are plaguing her – only to find that hypnotherapy is peeling back some dangerous layers of memory even as three men, new in her life, may not be as they seem.
First- and third-person perspectives alternate in a series of twists and turns that offer a stunning conclusion to a story replete with intrigue and deceptions.
Like the layers of an onion, OUT OF THE SHADOW peels away personalities, motivations, underlying motives, and dark, long-hidden secrets that immerse a circle of people in a web of dangerous associations.
The conclusion is riveting, unexpected, and as satisfying as the rising psychological suspense which begins from the first page and ends with a bang.
D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
Fear is an insidious emotion; it causes us not only to distrust those around us, but also to distrust ourselves. Can we believe the assurances of others that we are safe? How far do we trust our memories when others insist that we’re wrong?
In the opening chapter of Out of the Shadow, Becca Rosen is raped in her bedroom, and her husband is murdered and left to die in their living room. The police can’t find any proof of a break-in, so she becomes the lead suspect for the murder. Becca believes that she’s got a stalker who did it, but she can’t prove it, and each time she tells the police about her convictions, the evidence doesn’t hold up.
Becca decides to seek professional help from Dr. Sarah Abrams, a therapist who specializes in Repressed Memory Syndrome. Yet Dr. Abrams, too, is grappling with love, betrayal, and the possibility of a new relationship on the horizon.
Out of the Shadow is a story within a story…within another story. That level of complexity can be a mess in the hands of an unskilled writer, but author J. S. Winn’s novel is so exquisitely dovetailed that the pieces unfold cleanly and clearly. Winn writes from her own experience as a therapist, and it shows in her deep awareness of Becca’s inner world and her skillful exploration of family and romantic relationships. She’s equally adept at creating the heart-stopping moments that a great crime mystery requires. Topping it off is the Philadelphia setting, which the author has filled with well-known landmarks and film-noir-esque side streets, which will be interesting for any reader but especially for a lover of Philadelphia (as I am).
This is such a terrific page-turner that I lost sleep on the three nights that it took for me to complete it. Since the book is multiple stories in one, there are also several layers of red herrings, but that just hooked me all the more. By the time I was two-thirds of the way through, I couldn’t stand it any longer; I cheated and checked out the ending—and I was blown away.
I hope J. S.Winn writes her second novel very, very soon. Next time, I’ll try hard not to start with the last chapter.
Debra Sponable, Nights and Weekends