Tracking Shadows – a Novel – Regan Black
Reviewers: She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams
By 2096, the government has gone above and beyond to protect American citizens. With every new legislation, a black market opens up for an enterprising person willing to seize the opportunity.
In Chicago, Slick Micky is the king of smuggling. Known to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere, he specializes in caffeine and sugar. But recently an old enemy is tired of waiting for Micky’s empire to crumble and has called in the best assassin in the business to take him out.
Trina Durham is an assassin with a sterling reputation, thanks to her unique ability to induce deadly hallucinations. When Slick Micky killed her best friend, she left Chicago, forever. She’s back now, unable to resist the perfect opportunity for vengeance.But no one warned her Slick Micky might as well be a shadow. Or that shedding light on the man and his secrets would put both her heart and reputation at risk.
Gloria Lakritz – She Said:
After reviewing Ms. Blacks three books in her Justice series last year, I was excited to hear she had another book releasing. I had no idea what Penny and I would be Dual reviewing, and was just looking forward to read something from Regan again. Ms. Black’s books offer strong heroines, along with alpha males who do not dominate, but accept their women as partners. This book did not disappoint.
Trina was an assassin. The moment this became a viable career choice for her, was her loss of a school friend, Joel. This was in the 2090’s in Chicago where commodities like sugar and coffee were banned by the government. Like prohibition, smugglers dealt in services to people ‘in need’. At that time, while both in high school, Trina watched Joel try to sell these commodities to the students who needed the nicotine, sugar or caffeine rush. To her horror, she watched Joel get killed by a tremendous explosion, while trying to get a piece of the pie cutting into Slick Mickey’s lucrative business.
The relationship that could have been, but never was, haunted Trina until her hatred festered and her only desire was to avenge Joel’s death. Her wish was to eventually kill Slick Mickey. Her career path was destined.
In the previous books, we met Slick Mickey. He was a side character, giving aide at times with his connections to our main players in Chicago 2096. Petra, Jaden and the others could be found at his expansive warehouse hidden from the outside world. We didn’t know too much about him and I was surprised to learn at page one about Trina, her past, and her plans that brought her to Chicago to kill him.
Chicago’s underworld is ruled by different factions, all infighting for money and power. Everyone vies for the big title. Slick Mickey has worked hard making sure to take care of his people he calls family and they will lay down their lives to protect him. Trina has powers to make others hallucinate. This helps her with her job creating pictures in their minds.
Again Ms. Black has brought to life a story of excitement, love, and faith in a fast paced story with mysterious twists and turns that keeps you furiously turning the pages to see what happens next! Trina’s strength and intelligence is dazzling, and our Slick Mickey is up for this as well. This was one dynamite read… the whole series is.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Senior Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Penelope Adams – She Said:
Chicago, in 2096. Slick Mickey is undoubtedly the king of smugglers; his key products are caffeine and sugar. Mickey lives in the shadows, no one knows who he really is and few rarely see him. His reputation is larger than life. Mickey has many enemies and few friends. Those who work for him love him. Those who work against him fear him. Trina Durham counts herself as his number one enemy; Slick Mickey killed her best friend years earlier, causing her to leave Chicago forever. Known as the best of the best assassins, she has a hidden weapon in her arsenal, she can induce deadly hallucinations. Now the opportunity has presented itself for Trina to exact vengeance against Slick Mickey, and get paid for doing it. Trina will not be deterred as she and Mickey play a deadly game of cat and mouse, both discovering that the person behind the mask is not always who they seem.
Slick Mickey has many faces and personas, so that even his best of friends don’t know who he really his. He is tough as nails when it comes to protecting his business interests, and has the reputation of someone you don’t want to cross, but the people who work for him love him in almost a cult fashion. What a dichotomy he is, on one hand he is feared and ruthless, on the other soft and caring to his people. Who is he really? He is a great character that you love one minute and not so much the next. Trina is one of the best female leads I’ve encountered in a while, she isn’t embarrassed by what she does, and she’s good at it and is proud of that fact. She can change herself from one person to the next in a matter of minutes, what fun to watch her work. Like Mickey, she has a soft side but boy howdy does she hide it well. The push/pull between these two was full of unexpected twists and turns for both of them, I don’t think either one of them was aware of how they felt at any given moment. There are some good secondary characters here that help to move the story along, even some old friends from previous books.
I have to admit I was a little worried when I found out that Slick Mickey would be the lead in this book, we don’t know a lot about him from previous books and what we do know isn’t all that good. I always thought of him as almost a throw away character and was really worried that he would not be able to carry a book on his own, boy was I wrong. Slick Mickey steps up and not only holds his own but does it with style. I liked Trina, for an assassin she isn’t a bad type, I might even go so far as to say she was almost too good. There are some great high tech gadgets in the book but not so much that you get lost in them. As with the other books in this series, there is some great dialogue and snappy one-liners, but also some serious moments as well. One of Mickey’s mules, April, while saying goodbye asks Trina to contact her if she needs anything, and says, “Promise me, with words.” I don’t know why but that line just said a lot to me, almost like April was seeing right down beneath Trina’s cover.
You don’t have to have read any of the previous books to keep up with this one (But why wouldn’t you? They are great!). There is violence here, all within the story line and not too graphic, and some sex, again not too graphic. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves futuristic urban fantasy mixed in with some good old-fashioned mushy stuff. Way to go Ms. Regan, you deserve the elusive 5 stars from me.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…
Hello Everyone. Thank you again for the opportunity to read our Dual Review for Regan Blacks newest novel. I have just finished reading my esteemed Dual partners review, both of us giving it a 5 Star Rating. As Penelope noted, Slick Mickey was a side character in many of the Justice books; a shadow we never got to know. I loved the Slick Mickey genre, not realizing this title can be held by anyone. It actually is like “King” in the back roads of the Chicago Bad Guys.
I guess while reading, I was surprised Trina’s 360 was done so quickly in the storyline… Slick Mickey did not get down on bended knee and beg her for mercy. Yet her whole being was to destroy him when she took this Chicago job. What did you think, Penny?
Like you, I was surprised Slick Mickey was actually a title and not an actual person. Didn’t see that coming. Trina’s 360 didn’t seem so strange to me, given their past, how could she have done otherwise? What did surprise me a little, was the way April was able to casually bring Trina right smack dab into the heart of Mickey’s operation with no problems. Mickey is known for his elusiveness and high tech savvy, yet a stranger off the street is able to waltz right in and sit a spell. No, she couldn’t come in by herself, but no one seemed surprised that she was there. She wasn’t even blindfolded or anything on the way to the actual location. That seemed a bit out of character for Mickey’s way of operating, but I guess it had to happen for the story line.
Trinas 360 would be expected, I thought she switched sides earlier than I would have expected. Yes, that Slick Mickey being a title was inspiration… Gotta love it. The author fooled us both!
As we still disagree on the Trina turnabout, I felt April bringing a stray home was something that was a usual occurrence at the warehouse. April saw Trina in dire trouble on the train, and most of the courier ‘mules’ came to Mickey to be under his domain, and protection. She was not shown the operation that night, only the dining room, a hot meal and an offer of help.
Is there anything else you wish to add Penny?
Our slight disagreements aside, the only thing I have left to say is well done to Ms. Regan. I wasn’t thinking I’d enjoy Slick Mickey’s story as much of the other books, but I was wrong, this book was right up there with the rest of the series. Can’t wait to see what Regan Black brings to us next.
I second that. Regan, we will be looking forward to your next …whenever and whatever!!!