Book Review: Land of Careful Shadows (A Jimmy Vega Mystery: Book 1) by Suzanne Chazin

Before I start my review, I would like to thank Kensington Books and NetGalley for allowing me to review Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin.

**All opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone. I received Land of Careful Shadows from Kensington Books through NetGalley for free for my honest review.**

Now onto my review:

Land of Careful Shadows (Jimmy Vega Mystery, #1)

Title: Land of Careful Shadows

Author: Suzanne Chazin

Publisher: Kensington Books

Date of publication: July 20th, 2016 (I believe this book is republished. Original publication date is November 25th, 2014)

How many pages: 352

Part of a series: Yes

What series: Jimmy Vega Mystery

Land of Careful Shadows – Book 1

A Blossom of Bright Light – Book 2

No Witness But the Moon – Book 3 (is not published. Expected publication date is October 25th, 2016)

Stand Alone: Yes, 1st book in series

Where can you find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

“A tremendous talent.”–Lee Child

From award-winning author Suzanne Chazin comes a powerful novel of passion, bigotry, and murderous secrets in a homicide detective’s picturesque hometown…

A body is found in a reservoir fifty miles north of New York City. The victim is young, female and Hispanic. In her purse, the police find a photograph of a baby they believe is her daughter–a little girl they can’t identify. Or find. Where is the child? Is she still alive? And what is the meaning behind the disturbing note in the woman’s bag? “Go back to your country. You don’t belong here.”

Arriving at the scene is homicide detective Jimmy Vega, who spent the better part of his childhood in the area and still carries the scars. A Latino himself, Vega knows all too well how hard it can be for an outsider to fit into a close-knit place like Lake Holly. Even now, as a respected officer of the law, he has to watch his step in an investigation simmering with ethnic animosities and steeped in local gossip. Both challenged and intrigued by Adele Figueroa–a passionate defender of immigrants’ rights who reminds him uncomfortably of his own family’s struggles–Vega must rethink everything he believes to uncover long-buried truths about his community, his loved ones . . . and himself.

Filled with drama, mystery and raw emotions, Land of Careful Shadows shines a nuanced and timely light on a small town’s darkest secrets and deepest obsessions. It is not only a tour de force of literary suspense but an intimate journey into the human heart.

My review:

Suzanne Chazin is fast becoming one of my favorite authors to read. I reviewed No Witness But the Moon (review will be live on October 25th) and absolutely loved it. So when I saw that I had requested another one of her books (and the first in the series), I was thrilled.

We meet Jimmy Vega when a body is pulled from the reservoir. He is a county cop but they sent him to Lake Holly to assist in the investigation because they believe that the woman pulled from the lake (a young Latina woman) was murdered. He quickly realizes that solving this murder is going to be almost impossible. See, the young woman was part of Lake Holly’s illegal immigrant community and getting them to talk will be next to impossible without help. So he goes to his best bet, Adele Figueroa….a lawyer who is very close to the immigrant community.

We also meet Rodrigo… illegal immigrant trying to find work so he can send money to his wife in Guatemala. But, as we find out, that is not all. He has a tie to the dead woman.

Jimmy Vega is a complex character and I loved it. One one hand, he was a great cop with a kind heart but on the other hand, he had a shitty personal life. His daughter is falling apart, mentally, after almost being killed by a train a few months ago. His mother was murdered in a botched robbery a couple of years ago and he still carries the grief around with him. On top of it all, he finds out that his high school girlfriend lives in Lake Holly and he still carries some intense feelings over that breakup.

Adele came off as a bit of a bitch in this book. To be honest, I liked her in the other book a lot better. She was determined to block Jimmy at every turn because she was afraid that the killer was an illegal immigrant and he/she would be deported. I totally got where she was coming from but I also got where Jimmy was coming from. He had a case to solve and here is Adele, throwing roadblocks in his way, until she realized that she could be more of a help to Jimmy. Those couple of chapters drove me nuts.

Now, this book was different. There were several different “mysteries” going on at the same time. We have the young woman who was murdered, then there was the rash of hate crimes that killed on immigrant, the mystery of what happened to the woman’s baby and what really happened that night of Jimmy’s daughter’s accident.

What I liked is that the author wrapped the different mysteries at different times with different outcomes. It kept my attention focused on the book.

The ending was great and I really felt for Jimmy in the last chapter. Let’s just say that being a parent is hard and making sure that your kids do the right thing is even harder.

How many stars will I give Land of Careful Shadows? 5

Why? A great mystery that kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire book.

Will I reread? Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends? Yes

Age Range: Adult

Why? No sex. Some mild violence and language.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Land of Careful Shadows (A Jimmy Vega Mystery: Book 1) by Suzanne Chazin

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