A thriller can be defined as a novel which creates strong feelings and emotions such as suspense, tension, fear and excitement.  Knowing that… do you enjoy a fast – paced crime thriller?  A story that will keep you spellbound from start to finish?  Where the action and events are so intense that they produce anxiety in your gut, but force you to keep turning the pages so you can see what happens next?  If you answered any of the preceding questions in the affirmative, then Karl Holton’s novel The Weight of Shadows, is a perfect fit for your reading pleasure.  This is a fast-moving and sophisticated story which will be a clear winner with all fans of the thriller genre.

The tale begins with a shocking prologue which reveals the background story as to why brilliant homicide Detective, Danny Benedict, was forced out of his original role.  This opening beautifully sets up the novel for the thrills and action which is to follow, and very capably explains Benedict’s emotional baggage and obstinate behavior throughout the tale.

Now part of the National Crime Agency, Benedict soon finds himself working alongside his old department and an alluring D.I. Wallace.  Together they begin to unravel a number of crimes which have intriguing similarities and seem to be connected.  To make this even more interesting, there is soon little doubt that this is an international crime ring and that there are some very cold-blooded and ruthless characters involved.  To tackle this organized crime contingent, Benedict is soon teamed up with a mysterious group, who have chequered pasts of their own.  Wealthy businessman Ray, and his bodyguard Paddy soon recruit Benedict and Pip who is a previous specialist at Interpol.  When Ray’s daughter Alice, is kidnapped by the ruthless group of organized criminals, it is a race against the clock to save her while solving the other crimes at the same time.  To make it even more complicated, there is a malevolent assassin by the name of “The Doctor”, who is leaving a trail of blood and carnage behind him!  Alice is in his clutches and her future does not look too bright.  Can this All-Star team led by Danny Benedict save Alice and eliminate this crime ring?  Or will time run out and evil prevail?

If you feel that this description is quite the mouthful…you are right!  There can be little doubt that this is a plot and character driven novel.  For instance, while the main investigation is centered upon a jewellery heist gone wrong, there are a variety of sub-plots and events which branch out as a result of this crime.  They are not just added for their own sake however.  They are connected to the overall story and cleverly introduce us to a multitude of characters.  The action is fast, furious and sophisticated.  It is one of those books where you have to pay very close attention as you read or you risk becoming lost in this complex story web.  I only see that as a positive point however as the story challenges the mind and takes the reader to a whole new level of engagement!

As mentioned, there are a wide variety of characters in this tale.  While the main character, Ray Benedict, is developed in the most detail and shows the most growth, the other supporting characters are also described exceptionally well and exhibit appropriate growth throughout the tale as well.  The author does a wonderful job of developing these characters so we can understand their differing backgrounds and motivations.  He does this in a fashion whereby we are given the details we need without becoming bogged down in needless description.  A necessity in a fast-moving and intricate story such as this.

While this story is sophisticated and action packed, it also has a smooth and fluid flow to it which makes everything come together and work so well.  The pace of the story is fast and full of unexpected twists and turns.  However, everything is connected in short and very exciting chapters.  This fluidity enhances the entire reading experience.

As there are some seriously vivid and descriptive brutal scenes, this book is recommended for an adult reading audience.  For lovers of thrillers and excellent writing this is a must read!