Shadow Box by Scott Kelly is very definitely an action novel. The action never stops and it is never obvious what is going to happen next. Author Kelly might have read advice to authors that said: “Don’t tell, show.” And Kelly does that to such a degree that sometimes I wanted Kelly to tell me something. I never felt I knew what was going on throughout the entire novel. So, if you like mysteries and if you like to engage with your novel, this is the book for you. The only drawback is that this is part of a series. Yes, there is a conclusion to this novel, there is not a cliffhanger. But if you like the characters, you will want to read about the future adventures of some of the characters.
We begin with an identification problem. Our protagonist is James Claiborne. Or Sean Reilly. Or another identity of convenience. There are many of these as our hero attempts to survive. He is on the run; there are many individuals and entities looking for him. Some are law enforcement agencies; some are criminal organizations. Our hero has managed to irritate everyone. And he is not alone; he has female accompaniment. Morgan might be his girlfriend; he would like her to be. She might be an accomplice in several crimes; there is an indication of that. Maybe she could be both.
Kayla was never really his girlfriend. She only liked Sean because she wanted him to kill her. Not that she really wanted to die; she just wanted it to look that way. Then the insurance would pay, they would split the money, life would be good. Things went a bit wrong when Kayla actually died. Sean was the prime suspect. Evidence had been cleverly staged to prove that Sean had done it. Sean began running. Mr. Banks was the man behind the plan to frame Sean for the crime and he had a large organization with many people who supported his criminal enterprises. One of those “helpers” was Morgan.
Morgan helped Sean construct new identities, both the long term Claiborne identity and the immediate short term identities needed to defeat pursuers. Morgan also had possession of a large amount of money and evidence that would identify the actual killer of Kayla and remove the threat to Claiborne (Reilly). So, pursuers wanted to find Morgan (money and evidence) and Claiborne (wanted by law enforcement). And along the way Claiborne/Reilly fell in love with Morgan. She professed a love for only money and seemed ready to discard or abandon or betray Reilly at a moment’s notice.
This is an action-packed novel which will require the reader’s full attention as identities of main characters shift back and forth in time. Even the pursuers adopt multiple identities. This is an entertaining spare time reading activity.