The Associate (Shanna Regan Murder Mystery #2) – Victoria Goldman | Book Review | #TheAssociate #ShannaRegan | @VictoriaGoldma2

THE BODY COUNT IS RISING … AND GETTING FAR TOO CLOSE

A missing architect. An interfaith charity project. Vandalism and online threats. Can racist slogans lead to kidnap – or even murder?
BOOK TWO in the Shanna Regan Murder Mystery series. The Associate is the sequel to The Redeemer, which was shortlisted for Best Debut Crime Novel of 2022 in the Crime Fiction Lover Awards.

When an architect vanishes in East London, her concerned fiancé asks journalist Shanna Regan to find her. The missing woman has been leading an interfaith Jewish-Muslim charity project that’s become the target of malicious damage and racist threats.

After Shanna witnesses a teenage girl fall to her death, she’s convinced the architect’s disappearance is also linked to a local youth outreach project. And then another woman is reported missing.

Amid rising local tensions, danger appears to be lurking around every corner. Even the safest sanctuaries seem to be hiding the darkest secrets. As Shanna uncovers a tangled web of lies, she puts her own life on the line. Will she find the missing architect before it’s too late?

The Associate is the compelling and thought-provoking sequel to The Redeemer.



Publisher: Three Crowns Publishing UK
Format: Ebook (25 July 2023) & Paperback to follow
Source: Ecopy for review from author


MY THOUGHTS

My thanks to Victoria for an ecopy to review. Last year I reviewed Victoria’s debut and the first in the Shanna Regan series – The Redeemer. I was delighted to have the opportunity to read the second book, The Associate and to continue my reading journey with Shanna Regan.

In this second outing, Shanna combines her journalist career with that of a fledgling private investigator when she is asked to find a missing woman, Louisa. The young woman, a promising architect, is heavily involved with a synagogue and a charity project which aims to bring together both Jewish and Muslim communities, including refugees. There is some local opposition to the project and security is needed for everyone’s safety. However even this wasn’t enough to prevent the death toll rising.

Shanna is still undecided about her future but her temporary home belonging to her absent (and sort of) boyfriend provides some refuge. Louisa is not the only missing person she is looking for as she seeks to find out more about her family.

With background themes of gun crime, immigration, racism and anti semitism, the story is both topical and relevant. Attempts are made to engage the local youth community and give them a sense of purpose and Shanna finds herself drawn into this community as part of her attempt to find the missing Louisa.

The Associate is a worthy follow up to The Redeemer and Shanna’s character progression has made the story with all its facets both gripping and intriguing. The interfaith project bringing together Jewish and Muslim faiths was a fascinating addition to the story and I learned a little more about both. The faith aspect of the books is what I particularly enjoy as I feel I’ve been educated but never preached to. The diverse cast was such that I was never quite sure who could be trusted and I did worry for Shanna when her impulsive instincts made her vulnerable to danger. With clever plotting and a touch of misdirection, there were times when I was completely taken by surprise.

Whilst stubborn and brave, Shanna still seems a conflicted and restless soul, wanting to be on the move and unwilling to be tied down to a place or person but there were signs that perhaps her personal life may be about to change. However it would seem that we will have to wait for the next book to find out.

The Associate is a tense thriller with a disturbing undercurrent that kept me reading. Definitely one to recommend.


VICTORIA GOLDMAN is a freelance journalist, editor, proofreader and author. She was given an honourable mention for The Redeemer in the Capital Crime/DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award 2019. The Redeemer was shortlisted for Best Debut Crime Novel of 2022 in the Crime Fiction Lover Awards. Victoria lives in Hertfordshire.

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