Title: A Shimmer of Heat
Author: Christy Shields
“Matt slept like a dead man for eight hours, wrapped up in Lessa, while she chewed over the conversation and tried to understand if she could be with a man like Matt, a man she now knew was falling in love with her.”
This is the first in a romance-thriller series of five books. With multiple protagonists, the narrative depicts the story of Lessa, a woman whose husband tragically died recently and who is struggling to come to terms with life on her own, looking after her children. When a new man enters her life, Lessa doesn’t think much of it, until she is informed that the man she has been talking to, doesn’t have the best intentions. The less than reputable, Stefan Dawes, is big in the drug world, and doesn’t intend to let anyone get in the way of him and Lessa. Not wanting her to get hurt, the owner of Revolution Security, Matt, steps in to create the illusion that he is interested in Lessa, in order to make Dawes stay away. They begin a fake relationship, but will either of them manage to successfully keep it fake?
When I first started reading this novel, if I’m honest, it was a bit of a slow start. I think it took me a while to get into the story, and get a grasp of the characters. But, that’s really where the strength of this novel lies – in its characters. Shields does a great job of creating believable, in-depth, and complicated characters, which I enjoyed getting to know. I particularly found Liv fascinating, because her backstory was so compelling, and I found myself wanting to know more about her as I read.
Although the main genre of this book is a romance, with scenes of kidnap, attempted rape, and lots of talk of violence, Shields definitely doesn’t stick to the stereotypical “beach read” kind of romance. I really enjoyed how the thriller element kept me reading, and definitely think that it kept the book from being predictable. It was also interesting to see how the characters were affected by the horrors in their past. Some hid from them, some endeavoured to never experience them again, but what I liked most is that Shields did a great job of portraying their coping method in an all very human manner, making it all the more plausible.
I did find that the plot was a little messy, especially to being with. At first, I found it hard to keep up with everything that was going on, in particular because Matt’s job was complicated in itself, so that added another layer of confusion. However, A Shimmer of Heat definitely grew on me the more I read it. Probably because of how plausible the narrative was, but also because I found the characters endearing too. While I will admit, the graphic sex scenes came as a bit of a surprise, at least Shields was good at writing them.
Overall this book was surprising and original, Shields successfully manages to write a book with romance, but one which will keep you on the edge of your seat. A Shimmer of Heat explores grief, pain, and love, while depicting exactly how hard it is to navigate all of that in real life. If this novel is anything to go by, then the rest will certainly be enjoyable reads too.