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City of Shadows

By Shannon Hodges

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When Bob Gifford takes up a one-year appointment as counselor at elite Biltmore College, Minnesota, he has no idea his life will soon be in danger. Okay, the hostility from most of his colleagues is evident from the outset—as an orphan brought up in a boys’ home, with degrees from obscure state colleges in Arkansas and Texas, he will never fit in to their privileged, blue-blood world. But it soon becomes obvious that workplace politics constitutes the least of his worries. One of his student clients dies in a car crash shortly after hinting that she has something to tell him about the recent, violent death of a professor on the Biltmore campus. Immediately afterwards, a home-made bomb explodes in Bob’s apartment. Then he finds secret messages being left for him in the university library. Someone, or some organization, it appears, believes Bob is on the brink of uncovering a conspiracy. But what is it they think Bob knows? Who are they? And is he being encouraged to dig deeper or being warned off?

Gradually he comes to realize he can trust no one—not the college staff, not his landlord, and not the police. It is even too risky to confide in Steve Washington, the flamboyant black colleague and fellow “outsider” who has been almost alone in offering Bob friendship, or Janet, the spirited Jewish woman with whom Bob has a tantalizing on-off relationship. And just when a new appointment in back-of-beyond Texas appears to offer an escape route, Bob comes closer than ever to death.

City of Shadows combines the qualities of a superior thriller with a deep understanding of human nature and insights into the claustrophobic, competitive world of academe. With as many twists as a mountain road, and set-piece confrontations that would have made Hitchcock proud, it is as entertaining as it is compelling.

Paperback ISBN: 9781780353128

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