The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice Review
The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice is a gripping story. No one should be surprised by this author’s talents. This is the second book in the series, and it has many sub-plots, and enough suspects to keep the readers guessing. Just when someone thinks they figured out the antagonist, she throws in a twist and turn, presenting other people of interest.
The book begins with Shadow Box artist Claire Beaudry Chase thinking she has died. But in actuality, she is very lucky that the beam she was hanging from broke, letting her crash to the floor. After awakening, she realizes she has been strangled and left for dead by a masked man. Thinking it was her powerful Connecticut state’s attorney husband Griffin, who is now running for Governor, she decides to hide as she recovers from her wounds. Afraid to contact the police, not knowing who is loyal to him, she feels afraid and alone. She realizes the attack has something to do with her knowledge of a 25-year-old crime that would torpedo his election prospects if made public, and the fact that she left on display a shadow box depicting the crime. State police detective Conor Reid is sent to investigate Claire’s disappearance. After finding out that an explosion on the boat of the Chases’ neighbors, Sallie and Don Benson, occurred the same day she went missing, he becomes suspicious that the two incidents are related. The suspense increases as the detectives, Conor and Jen Miano, along with Coast Guard Tom Reid, rush to find who is responsible.
Adding to the story is how Claire had to endure emotional and verbal abuse from her husband. Rice powerfully shows that this kind of abuse is hard to endure in that there are no outward wounds, which also makes it harder to prove. She traces Claire’s journey from thinking she married the love of her life to disillusionment to the struggle on how to escape. Through Griffin readers see his darkness of obsession, control, and ambition. But the strength of Claire and her friends show how inner strength can overcome the abuse.
Throughout the book readers will go through a range of emotions with Claire including fear, hope, sadness, rage, determination, and triumph. A word of warning, this book will be hard to put down.
Welcome to Today’s #TalkTuesday #TeaserTuesday Interview!
Elise Cooper: Did you know anyone who went through emotional abuse?
Luanne Rice: Yes, I do know people who have been affected by domestic violence including myself. For me, it happened a long time ago. Over the years I have been involved in various ways with safe futures, a domestic violence center in southeastern Connecticut, and the Georgetown University Law Center’s domestic violence clinic. If anyone knows of someone that is being abused, please have them call this hotline:
I want people to understand that emotional abuse is as bad and sometimes worse than physical violence. The scars are there–but deeper and hidden. A hallmark of emotional abuse is having doubts from the very beginning. Because someone sees it in a skewed way, they tend to push those doubts down.
EC: You have many scenes where Claire realizes the abuse will start because Griffin’s eyes go from green to black?
LR: It is possible for a person’s eyes to turn black when enraged. The explanation in the book is based on research, including conversations with a psychiatrist. The eyes don’t actually change color, but the pupils completely dilate from extreme arousal and rage. In the book, there is a scene between Claire and Conor where she wonders about the change in eye color.
The conversation, “What kind of person would it happen to?” Claire asked. “A psychopath,” Conor said. “Has it been documented?” Claire asked. “Have people actually seen it happen?” Conor could tell by the tension in her voice that she herself had witnessed it. “A famous example is Ted Bundy,” Conor said. “One of his only victims to survive said that during the attack, his eyes turned from blue to black. And police interviewers saw it too. The eyes don’t actually change color, but the pupils completely dilate from extreme arousal.” “Fueled by rage?” Claire asked. Conor nodded. “And the desire to inflict pain.” “What can you do about a person like that?” she asked. “Stay away from him,” he said.
EC: How did you get the idea for the story?
LR: In the neighborhood where I live, there have been real-life murders. This novel, as with my other novels, are based on my reactions to real-life events. Close to where I live, Jennifer Farber Dulos went missing in Connecticut. Although she has never been found, she is presumed dead, and her husband Fotis Dulos was charged with her murder. Court documents show that Jennifer repeatedly expressed fear to a family court judge. “I am afraid of my husband,” Jennifer wrote. “I know that filing for divorce and filing this motion will enrage him. I know that he will retaliate by trying to harm me in some way. He has the attitude that he must always win at all costs.”
EC: How would you describe your antagonist, Griffin?
LR: He is an ambitious man who feeds on power. He shows one face to the public, and another face behind closed doors, to his wife and children. Griffin is a narcissist, a sociopath, who has dark emotions, anger, and hates women. He forced her to stroke his ego.
EC: How would you describe Claire?
LR: Warm, smart, sensitive, and an artist who is respected and beloved. She ends up being very strong.
EC: What about the relationship?
LR: At first, she thought he adored her, but in actuality, he wanted to control her. It took a while for her to realize what he was doing. For him it came down to power and control as he manipulated her to doubt herself, lose her self-esteem, and to constantly give in by walking on eggshells. He had a talent of making her think it was her fault.
EC: Why the Connecticut setting?
LR: I live there. In many of my books the story takes place in Black Hall. It is based on my town of Old Lyme, known for the art colony, the birth of American Impressionism.
EC: Why shadow boxes?
LR: I love art. My mother was an artist, so I grew up in this atmosphere of art. I was also influenced by my freshman college art professor who does shadow boxes. They are magical works of art. I collect her work now.
EC: For Claire the shadow boxes expressed her feelings?
LR: She uses nature and memory as her inspirations. She collects sea glass and pebbles and periwinkle shells on her beach walks, owl pellets and acorns and bits of lichen on her hikes through the woods and incorporates them into shadow boxes. Writing the novel, I took the same walks Claire would have, and I picked up treasures along the way. She delves with issues such as the environment, humanity, abuse, life, and death.
EC: What about Maggie, the Yorkshire Terrier?
LR: I wanted to show how Sallie and Dan had given Maggie to their daughter Gwen for her ninth birthday. Gwen had embraced the responsibility of taking care of her furry friend. To love an animal is the simplest love of all. The family and Maggie rescued each other. Dogs give unconditional love and are very supportive.
EC: Do you have dogs?
LR: I grew up with a Scottish Terrier. But now I have cats. I guess I am both a dog and a cat person. Unfortunately, as an author when I go out on book tours, it would be hard to have a dog. Cats are a little more self-sufficient.
EC: What about your next book?
LR: Tom, Conor, and Jen will be back. Right now, it is a work in progress.
Hello book lovers, welcome back! Welcome to our Tuesday post! This includes #TeaserTuesday, #BookBeginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy!
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Yvonne @ Socrates Book Reviews now hosts “First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros”, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday, Book Beginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros are this week! Luv Sassy x