the Long Shadow of Memory by Nichole Heydenburg

Some secrets are better left buried.

In the sequel to The Long Shadow on the Stage, former Police Officer Delia Wilson partners with private detective, Jerry Walden. The duo is determined to apprehend the murderer of Jackson Birkman, but first, they have to find him.

Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up in Mexico suffering from memory loss. After befriending Liam, a charming bartender, he decides to stay in Mexico until he can learn more about his past. As the weeks go by, Kevin and Liam grow closer. But all is not as it seems. Kevin is haunted by a handsome, dark-haired man with a gunshot wound in his head. With every flashback, he questions if the terrifying memories are real and begins to wonder what terrible acts he committed in his past. 

This book gave me some pause. I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Long Shadow of the Stage (review), and this tale follows soon afterwards.

The book was well written and obviously thought out. I greatly enjoyed switching between the main character’s points of view throughout.

Kevin is a fascinating character. I loved the start of the book – with Kevin (later known as Edgar) waking up with no knowledge of who or where he is. The travel from his “waking up point” to a restaurant, meeting Liam, is very raw and realistic.

The story line was amazing – and amnesiac potentially being the key to finding out what really happened the day Jackson BIrkman died and a retired cop not able to let the official case ruling stand.

My problems with this novel came mainly from the characters themselves and how they reacted to each other. Liam seemed way too calm and composed in the face of an amnesiac. He goes from being slightly concerned for this random fellow, to offering help with finding a job and road-tripping to find out Edgar’s past.

Edgar’s mood swings also gave me a bit of whiplash. Having woken up with no memories has got to be pretty jarring, but the mood swing and lashing out randomly seemed a little forced and a bit over the top. I also found it interesting when his “memories” would surface. The memories always seemed to come at a way too convenient time.

I loved Delia’s characterization. After the problems with the Jackson Birkman case, Delia has quite her work as a police officer, preferring the less stressful life as a security guard. But Jackson will not let her go. Unable to face the fact that his murderer is running free, Delia enlists the help of a friend to find Jackson’s killer.

Delia is a very down-to-earth character. I enjoyed seeing the lifelike relationships between her and her mother (never getting along but loving each other anyway) and her friends (always there in the toughest of times).

What I didn’t really care for about Delia was her snap decisions and reasonings behind Edgar being Jackson’s killer and immediately coining him as a serial killer. This seemed a bit farfetched to me, especially with the definition of a serial killer being “a person who commits a series of murders, often with no apparent motive and typically following a characteristic, predictable behavior pattern“. By definition, Edgar doesn’t fit this, but I understand the reasoning behind the classification for the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Long Shadow of Memory. Apart from a few character flaws, it is a fantastic thriller with a slight psychological twist. I was engrossed from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down. I look forward to seeing this series continued.

Nichole Heydenburg earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in writing and a minor in theatre from Adrian College in 2014. Her one act play “The Hidden Story” won a playwriting contest and was performed at her alma mater in 2015. She also had several poems published in “The Oxcart” literary magazine. When she isn’t writing, Nichole enjoys going on adventures with her husband, reading, playing board games, and the occasional mimosa. “The Long Shadow on the Stage” is her first novel. She currently resides near Asheville, NC with her husband, Zed.
To stay up to date on news about her second novel, as well as read writing and self-publishing tips, subscribe to her monthly newsletter on her website https://www.nicholeheydenburg.com/
Pre-Order available here on 17 May 2021