Author: Darren Shan, 2012.
Genre: Horror. Crime Noir. Ghosts.
Other Details: Hardback. 320 pages. Unabridged Audiobook (10 hours, 23 mins). Read by William Hope.
Ed, an American author on the hunt for a story for his next book, arrives in London looking for inspiration. A stranger in a strange city, he's haunted by a deadly secret that refuses to stay buried, and no matter how hard he tries he cannot escape the manifest sins of his past. What Ed wants is answers, what he finds is something he definitely didn't bargain for: the beautiful and untouchable Andeanna Menderes. Andeanna is a woman who is dangerously bound to one of London's most notorious crime lords, and if they are caught together it could mean death for them both. Ensnared in an illicit affair that can only be conducted in the shadows, Ed's world is turned upside down as a series of shattering revelations blurs the line between what's real and what's not... - synopsis from author's website.
The above synopsis, which is also reflected on the book's back cover, appears to play down the horror/supernatural elements of the novel even though the author does describe it as a 'dark supernatural thriller' and that is reflected in the plot.
It is quite obvious that Lady of the Shades was inspired by film noir classics of the 1940s/50s such as Double Indemnity; having that moody ambiance,hard-boiled cynicism and, of course, a femme fatale. Darren Shan explains that he began this twisted love story in 1999 and set it aside to concentrate upon his horror novels for younger readers, a career that has proved very successful.
I enjoyed this very much with its many twist and turns and after a few chapters I decided to buy its audio download so that I could listen to it as well as read. Its complex plot held up to experiencing twice over the course of a few days. William Hope proved an effective narrator for Ed's American accent and that of various British characters.
Darren Shan's page on 'Lady of the Shades' - includes Author's Notes on genesis of the novel.