Review: Shadow Falls (Detective Madison Harper #1) by Wendy Dranfield

When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.

The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?

One thing is certain, if Madison doesn’t find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…


I absolutely loved this book!

Madison Harper is down on her luck. Although the blurb refers to her as a detective, Madison is actually not one. She used to be one before going to jail. Now out of jail and having lost everything including her son and obviously her career, Madison struggles to make ends meet. She decides to offer assistance to a Private Investigator, Nate, in exchange for his help in finding out who was behind her imprisonment. If that is not interesting enough, Nate is also a former prisoner who was exonerated after serving close to two decades for a crime he didn’t commit. Dubbed ‘The Killer Priest’ by the media, Nate is also looking for revenge against the people who set him up. Whew! Talk about interesting background stories!

Nate and Madison are hired to investigate the case of a missing 8 year old girl. Jenny went missing at a Summer Camp. Two weeks later, police have no new leads and the family is getting desperate. However, the investigators are hired by the girl’s grandmother although her parents are not too optimistic about that. They do not believe that the investigators, with their limited resources, can do more than the police.

I loved reading about Nate and Madison. I really liked the chapters incorporated throughout the story showing Nate’s journey from the night that he was arrested to his time on death row and finally his exoneration. The case at hand was complex with absolutely no leads and I couldn’t even guess the culprits. What happened to little Jenny? The reveal was shocking! I loved it!

I am so excited about this new series. Lucky for me, I already had the second book. I immediately pushed it up my TBR and 10 chapters in; I know it’s going to be another banger of a thriller. For fans of police procedurals, this series is not to be missed!