Young women are vanishing from Miami's club scene, most disappearing without a trace, others found suffocated in plastic bags, their battered corpses filled with a deadly cocktail of narcotics. There are no suspects and few clues. When exotic dancer Rayne is taken, her sister Blaze calls the ladies of Shadowlands to find her. With only five days before Rayne is found dead or never found at all, Smoak and Ash dive into Miami's underworld of drugs, prostitution, and slavery, using every skill they have to find her before the clock runs out. Alone? Afraid? Lost? In trouble and have nowhere to turn? Call Shadowlands. We're here to help.
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Hot, kick ass, female lead characters. Hot strippers. Lesbian sex. Gun play and action scenes, oh my. This book should be right up my alley, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Ash and Smoke operate a private investigation firm called Shadowlands. Their client’s name is Blaze. With names like that, author Skye Knizley must be a comic book fan. Her main female character, Ash is certainly written like she’s a comic book hero. She’s James Bond and Wonder Woman rolled into one. She can slug it out toe to toe with men who out weigh her because she’s got fighting skills that exceed an Olympic gold medalist, martial artist. She’s a perfect shot, while all bad guys cant hit the side of a barn with a sawed off shot gun. She rides motor cycles, has stunt driver car skills. She even gets away with killing people indiscriminately as if the novel’s modern day setting were actually the old, wild, wild West. She routinely screws women without even knowing their name then allows her partner, Smoke, to wake them and unceremoniously kick them out with the threat of bodily harm. Ash has even been a DJ in spite of being deaf. Author Skye Knizley character is as repulsive to me as actor Michael Chicklis’ character was in the TV show, The Shield. There was obviously an appeal to that character since the show was on 4 or 5 seasons. I guess there must be a similar appeal to Ash since this is book one of a series of books. I personally just don’t see the appeal.
Skye Knizley is definitely a talented writer and the plot of the book is great. It just would have been nice if the main character was written as a kick ass woman of action who operates within the boundary of what is humanly possible. Instead, she is written so super human that no matter what happens in the story, I never believe she is in trouble. For me, the action scenes held no excitement or sense of tension because there’s no sense of peril when someone is unbeatable. When you have a character like that, action scenes are boring. Skye Knizley attempts to explain away Ash’s abilities by saying she was trained in the military to be something akin to a GI Jane, special forces, female soldier. Come on now! You can’t even get into the military if you’re deaf. If you don’t have perfect hearing, then you actually must have a specific percentage of hearing or better, in both ears.
Sierra Kline is the narrator for this novel. She has a very attractive voice, but I feel her performance sometimes lacked distinction in the voices of the characters. At times, everyone sounded the same.
If you are able to suspend your disbelief, then I think you will like “Ashen Rayne: Shadowlands, Book 1.” It’s otherwise, a good story. If, however, you lean more toward my point of view, then don’t spend your money on this one. Finally, this audio book was provided by the narrator at no cost in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of Audio Book Blast.