A sweet comedy about a lonely young woman who discovers she has a talent for righting wrongs. At 300-plus pounds, Ellen is used to being overlooked. Then one day she saves a blind woman from a mugging and finds someone who finally ‘sees’ her.
What a gorgeous gem of a book! This novel will touch all readers who have ever felt ignored or downright invisible. Ellen has a wry sense of humor, as well as a unique take on the world and its inhabitants. Watching her come out of her shell and reach out to others is both inspirational and encouraging.
–Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times.
Advanced Review –
Issue: May 15, 2014
Shattuck, Shari (Author)
Jun 2014. 276 p. Putnam, hardcover, $26.95. (9780399167614).
Ellen Homes lives a quiet life, working nights as a custodian at the local Costco and spending days holed up inside her small apartment. Overweight, socially stunted, and burdened with a facial scar received during childhood at the hands of her abusive mother, Ellen is comfortable letting the world go by without her. But when she witnesses an attempted mugging, she discovers hidden strengths when she singlehandedly chases away the perpetrator. The result is an unexpected relationship with the victim, a young blind woman, Temerity, and her brother, Justice. The women become fast friends and find their experiences with crime have inspired a greater need to help the underserved. The two become involved in
a variety of escapades, including helping Ellen’s pregnant neighbor connect with her relatives, solving the attempted murder of a local drug dealer, and uncovering an international crime ring at Costco. In her seventh novel, Shattuck (Lethal, 2005) delivers strong, well-balanced characters and clever dialogue, making this both a fun read and a satisfying story of personal transformation.
— Carol Gladstein, Booklist
Chicklit Central. Melissa Amster. TWINS
Both Invisible Ellen and Becoming Ellen (links are to reviews) made it to my favorites list during the years they were published. So I was thrilled to find out that Shari Shattuck was publishing a companion novel. While Twins could be the third in the Ellen series, it also can be read as a stand-alone, as there is enough background information to fill in what happened in the previous novels. However, I highly recommend reading both of them first, as they’re delightful!
Temerity is one of my all-time favorite secondary characters, so I am glad Shari told most of this story through her perspective. It was interesting to get into her head and understand how it feels to be blind. I also enjoyed getting to know Justice better this time around. He had a smaller role in the Ellen novels, but he also seemed really nice. I love that they were both still up to their “schemes” to help people. I wish they lived in my neck of the woods so I could ask them to help some people I know who have been dealt unfair circumstances. While this was a happy-go-lucky story overall, there were some sad and dark moments to balance it out.
The only thing that didn’t work so well for me was that perspectives shifted a lot within the chapters, especially when Temerity’s narrative was taking place. If something needed to be described, another character would take over the narrative for a moment and then it would shift back to Temerity’s voice afterward. It got confusing at times and I felt we could have received a different descriptive focus from her, like how something smelled, tasted, sounded, etc.
I would love another novel featuring these characters, especially now that Ellen is on her path to a new career. I felt like I was revisiting with old friends and I love how they made some new friends in this story. I’m not ready to let go of them yet!
Exploding like a string of firecrackers let loose beneath one’s feet, Shattuck’s debut novel keeps the reader deliciously on edge. Raw action collides with secrets and family conflicts as one of the most vivid heroines to hit the shelves recently tries to discover who wants her dead. Hard-shelled Callaway Wilde has everything a young woman in L.A. could need: beauty, brains and lots and lots of money. But her wealth has left her saddled with bitter relatives (including acid-tongued “Attila the Mum”) and an inability to trust anyone. An attempt to kill her seems at first to be simply a matter of Cally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But too soon Cally realizes she’s in serious trouble and has few allies, with the possible exception of attractive L.A. police detective Evan Paley, who remains unfazed by Cally’s wealth and sees the vulnerabilities she hides behind it. But it’s not until a half sister surfaces that Cally’s world is shaken to the core-and the reason behind the attacks becomes clear. Glib, cynical and assured in many ways but deeply unsure in others, Cally’s voice spins a siren’s call that, combined with Shattuck’s electric pacing, will keep readers glued to this novel.
— Publishers Weekly
“Shattuck’s latest is an interesting look into a mother-son relationship that also deals with the dynamics of having psychic ability. Impending doom is felt through Shattuck’s beautiful description and imagery, and while the varying points of view can be distracting, many of the secondary characters really come alive and could have carried the book on their own, such as Greer’s friend, Leah.”
— RT BookClub
Being a reviewer is similar to a prospector panning for gold; every once in a while one sifts to find a gold nugget LOADED in the sediment. This amateur sleuth novel is crackling with repressed sexual desire, so much so that one should use potholders while reading this book. There are so many suspects with viable motives that readers will go crazy trying to figure out who the perpetrator is. The good news is that this is the opening installment in what has the makings of a great series.
— Harriet Klausner, TheBestReviews.com
“Shattuck thrusts her readers into the world of the paranormal almost from the first page, kindling an uneasiness and dread that´s not resolved until the final pages. Her descriptions of Greer´s visions and premonitions are wonderfully imagined and realistic, and Joshua´s violent battle with the spirit world on behalf of his new friend – although reminiscent of Harry Potter´s powers – is also very believable.
The book´s new and returning characters and their sticky relationships are richly drawn and convincing. So well does the author lay down clues and red herrings, that readers may be surprised at who are the good guys, and who, the villains.
Speak of the Devil is a concisely written, romantic-suspense-mystery, with taut, exciting chapters that keep readers racing to the finish.
— Jackie Houchin
Greer Sands has opened a successful spa in the Los Angeles suburb of Angeles Crest. Greer has psychic abilities that she has tried to hide, but her close friends are aware of her gift. She is able to see into the future, not by pictures but by auras and colors. Her eighteen-year-old son, Joshua, also has psychic skills, but he sees images of the present. Right now he is seeing an evil spirit around a young man named Simon, who is on a work group from a juvenile detention center when they first meet. The spirit wants to steal Simon’s soul, but between Joshua and the spirit of a little dog protecting Simon, this isn’t going to happen.
The winds are high and the land is dry in this part of California. There have been fires in the area — some brought on by thoughtless smokers, and some started by an arsonist. There is also friction between the citizens of Angeles Crest and a development group owned by Rowland and Susan Hughs. The Hughs are raping the land to put up expensive, tacky homes so that other people can enjoy the good life in this locale.
All of the core characters in SPEAK OF THE DEVIL were introduced in EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, the first episode of this psychic/paranormal series featuring Greer Sands. There are enough back stories on these people to make DEVIL a good stand alone read. The pace of this dark, multifaceted tale is fast and furious; the characters are outstanding; and the plot is absolutely riveting. Fans of Shari Shattuck will be greatly awarded with this new offering, and then will have to wait patiently for the next story.
— Betty Cox, Fresh Fiction
Shari Shattuck scores a big hit with The Man She Thought She Knew. Smart, fast-paced and sexy, this book kept me riveted to my seat. I can’t wait for the next Callaway Wilde adventure!
— Julie Kenner, USA Today bestselling author of The Manolo Matrix
The gorgeous, brainy and filthy rich Cally Wilde has met her match in the handsome, smart and filthy rich detective Evan Paley. So much so, that they are now engaged and living together most of the time. In fact, Cally is making plans for the big event when Evan receives a mysterious phone call that he tries to hide from her. When she grills him about his secretive behavior, he gives her his usual comment, “There are things it’s better you don’t know about.” Leaving it at that, Evan heads downstairs. Then shots ring out below, and Cally creeps down the stairs to encounter a man pointing a gun at her. When he quickly leaves, she discovers the dead body of a stranger in Evan’s office, but Evan is nowhere around. He’s been kidnapped.
— Tanzey Cutter, reviewer – Fresh Fiction.com
LETHAL is fast-paced, edgy and extremely sensual. Ms. Shattuck does a beautiful job keeping the reader glued to their seat while she weaves a tale of murder, mystery, and a passion electrifying enough to scorch you.
The characters are compelling and the plot is gripping. I thought I figured out who the culprit was and then the next twist had me rethinking it again. I was pleasantly shocked at who it was. I laughed at the antics and cried at the injustice the characters went through. I adored Cally for overcoming her past, her sassy and witty attitude and they way her character grew throughout this charming tale. Evan stole my heart with his sense of justice, his love of his job and finally realizing he can have brightness in his dark world. The secondary characters are just as dynamic as the main characters and really add authenticity to the tale. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Shattuck’s riveting tales.
— Billie Jo, Romance Junkies Reviewer
Shattuck leavens her action-heavy plot with humorous and sensuous moments that help to keep the pace from becoming overwhelmingly fast. Lethal can be read alone, but readers might be more comfortable starting with the first book, which provides backstory to Cally and Evan’s relationship.
— Donna Carter
Shattuck’s follow-up to Loaded (2003) finds independently wealthy Cally Wilde happily dating Evan Paley, the sexy detective she met on her first case. Her second adventure begins in the Little Tokyo district in L.A. where she comes upon a man attacking a young woman. Cally rescues the woman, whose name is Aya, and learns that the attack was in now way random after Evan gets shot in the leg, and Aya reluctantly reveals that her wealthy patron has another ward, named Shika, who is on the run from her former lover, a Colombian drug lord. But there’s even more to the story than Aya is telling them, and Cally soon finds herself and her loved ones drawn into the web of a dangerous conspiracy. Unlike many heroines in cick-lit detective novels, Cally is never irritating or grating; instead, she is a fully formed, strong, and engaging character throughout this fast-paced and suspenseful mystery.
— Kristine Huntley
LOADED is just that – loaded with emotion, sexual tension, greed, familial rivalry and jealousy, that all add up to a suspenseful, sexy tale. Shattuck’s debut novel is a welcome addition to my library. I can’t wait to read her next one.
— Lory Martin, TheBestReviews.com