Review of John Coyne's (Ethiopia 1962-64) Child of Shadows

front-of-bookChild of Shadows
by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)
Seventh Window Publications, $6.99 (e-book)

Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66)

Coyne drops us into the subterranean world that exists beneath New York City and a world of tunnels under the Lower Level of Grand Central Station. A world filled with rats, more and bigger rats, garbage, violence and young bodies. We find ourselves looking at a twelve year old boy that is found near a crime scene. The boy is bald with no eyebrows, not speaking…a living dead. The chief social worker, Melissa Vaughn thinks the boy’s name is Adam, and wants to help him re-connect with society. Little does Melissa know what she will encounter as she takes Adam away from New York City and deep into the Appalachian Mountains.

You will encounter adventure with potters that throw, excitement in rural Appalachia, and murders….lots of them! Some well written love scenes, and unexplained killings. Could this be the work of little Adam or ? Child of the Shadows says it very clearly… “there are places that breed killings!” New York City or the Appalachian Mountains?

The author gives us some colorful and weird characters to consider, and not just bald Adam and his Social Worker Melissa. Connor is the potter that does throw and even builds a house that feels like a ship lost in the Caribbean, or Crazy Betty Sue who acts like a child but is in her 60’s and weights less than 150 pounds. Then there are the Mountain Preachers like Reverend Littleton of the Tabernacle Church, and Crazy Sue’s little brother Rufus who follows her everywhere but is really dead in that Crazy Sue threw him down a well. Oh my!

Find a comfy place to sit with your back to the wall just in case, and get ready for some of the best mystery I have read in years…made me feel as if I were right there watching events take place. Coyne’s characters are full of emotions and color as we look for answers to the mystery that unfolds in front of us. This is one excellent book you will read often as you look for the answers…who is Adam, where are you Adam?

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