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Shadows Still Remain: A Novel Hardcover – April 21, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the O'Hara & Krekorian Series

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Book Description

Edgy, electrifying and dark—a riveting debut

A Beautiful Woman, Missing

New York City, 2005. Thanksgiving weekend. A topless Kate Moss peers down from a billboard over rain-spattered Houston Street. Escaping a troubled past, Francesca Pena came to the city and reinvented herself. At New York University, her beauty and charisma are the envy of her privileged pals, yet none knows the real Francesca—who, after a night of drinking, is now missing.

A High-Stakes Gamble

Detective Darlene O'Hara of the Seventh Precinct and her partner, Serge "K." Krekorian, set out to find Pena. But when the case turns high-profile and Homicide is called in, O'Hara—who has an eighteen-year-old son she saddled with the name Axl Rose O'Hara, and whose binge drinking exacerbates the massive chip on her shoulder—refuses to let go. Risking both her and K.'s careers, she defies NYPD brass and Homicide legend Patrick Lowry to secretly pursue her own investigation.

A Desperate Chase—and a Chilling Twist

Following a deadly trail that leads from NYU's ivory towers to Brooklyn tattoo parlors, from a skanky strip club to a whitewashed boutique run by a Korean madam, O'Hara closes in on her prey. But she has to move fast, because Lowry and the NYPD are about to make a devastating mistake that will leave the real killer free.

The Story Behind Shadows Still Remain by Peter de Jonge

Before I conceived any aspect of Shadows Still Remain, I sat and rode around with NYPD detectives. Both the story and cast were shaped by the men and women, I was lucky enough to spend time with. This is also true of the setting. I recalled that a former colleague had married a cop who had worked out of the 7, the Lower East Side precinct just south of the East Village between Houston and Chinatown. One afternoon he brought me down to the station house at 19 ½ Pitt Street and escorted up the stairs to the second floor detective room, where Darlene O’Hara in the opening pages of Shadows Still Remain is enjoying a solitary Thanksgiving. When I arrived, the three man detective team was, like her, finishing their lunch at the filthy table at the back of the room. The retired cop explained what I had in mind, and to my surprise, no one objected.

For the next couple months, I often joined them on their shifts, passing myself off as the passive taciturn member of the team. When they went into the projects to talk to victims or witnesses or make an arrest, I stood beside, or better yet behind them, my only responsibility not to say or do anything that exposed me as an imposter and coward. On house calls, I pretended not to be scared. When we went to bars, I pretended I could drink.

Some of the book’s locations, like NYU’s Bobst Library, where O’Hara reads the victim’s transcripts and quickly comes to feel proprietary about the peace and quiet, were as new to me as O’Hara. Others were deeply personal. For example, 251 Fort Washington Avenue, at the top of Manhattan in Washington Heights, where Consuela Entonces lives with her daughters, is the building my father lived in as a teenager. Now it’s a Dominican neighborhood. Then it was filled with recently arrived German Jews like him. Location-wise, I only took a couple liberties. I invented a condo in progress on the west side of Rivington Park, called “Atelier," and a tiny boutique offering an absurdly minimal selection of merchandise called “eeL,” and as far as I know there is no Brooklyn tattoo parlor named “Bad Idea Tattoos.”

One reason I opened Shadows Still Remain at the end of 2005 rather than the fictional present, was to show the merciless dispatch with which New York’s Darwinian economy makes over the face of the city and at the same time try to protect the book from seeming obsolete before it got in your hands. On Thanksgiving Eve, 2005 when Francesca Pena climbs out of the subway onto Bleeker Street, Tower Records loomed over the neighborhood, running from Broadway to the far side of Lafayette. Now of course, along with many other retailers Pena passes that night, it’s long gone. Washington Square Park, whose grubbiness stood out in contrast to the affluence of the NYU campus that surrounds it is in the midst of a multi-million dollar makeover and the anomalous little Howard Johnson Express Inn where Darlene O’Hara spends a couple highly productive days and nights, has a new façade and name The Gem Hotel. The rooms haven’t changed however, and if you’re eager to spend a couple nights in the Lower East Side, you might want to consider it. I gave them a call and their prices are still the cheapest in the neighborhood.

Photographs from Shadows Still Remain (Click to Enlarge)

Pitt Street, 7th Precinct:
Detective Darlene O’Hara, the heroine of Shadows Still Remain is a 34-year-old detective who works out of the 7th Precinct. The station house, located in the shadow of the ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge, looks out the bleakest corridor of the Lower East Side and has the curiously exact address of 19 1/2 Pitt Street.

Lower East Side Bar:
In the course of verifying an alibi for a murder suspect, O’Hara discovers her new favorite dive bar in a basement off First Avenue and 5th Street. O’Hara instantly likes way the place looks, but mainly likes what she hears--Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Zeppelin--the shimmering metal of her misspent youth.
Orchard Street:
My wife took these pictures one afternoon this winter. This shot, looking north up Orchard, somehow captures the old ghosts of the Lower East Side. If it wasn’t for the sign for the ATM, you could be looking at a photo from the early 1900s.
Rivington Street:
This is the view from the second floor bar of the Rivington Hotel, where, in a critical juncture, O’Hara meets her partner Serge “K” Krekorian. K chooses the location because he’s quite sure no cops would ever set foot in such a trendy spot.
Stanton Street:
This is the window of a tattoo parlor on Stanton Street, just east of Essex. One night O’Hara discovers just how many tattoo parlors there are in lower Manhattan, and can’t believe there’s enough empty downtown skin left to go around.

From Publishers Weekly

De Jonge, a James Patterson coauthor (Beach Road), delivers his first solo effort, a routine crime thriller set in New York City. NYPD Det. Darlene O'Hara, beautiful and thirty-four, with wavy red hair and the kind of freckles men try to lick off shoulders, is looking for missing NYU student Francesca Pena, a very pretty teenage girl with long jet-black hair and bottomless brown eyes, when she learns that Pena's brutally beaten body has been found in East River Park. While her professional colleagues soon focus on David McLain, Pena's hometown friend who initially reported her missing, O'Hara doubts McLain is guilty. As the evidence against McLain mounts, she persists in her search for the real killer, a quest that leads her to cross lines, risk her job and become a wanted person herself. Predictably, O'Hara's digging reveals Pena had a secret life. Few readers will be surprised that the detective manages to crack the case in the nick of time. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061373540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061373541
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,729,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Shadows Still Remain Peter de Jonge (as in the frequent James Patterson co-author) creates O'Hara a beautiful, rash and ambitious detective. O'Hara "catches" her first murder case and is determined to work it so much so that she breaks all the rules of professionalism and police protocol. As she learns more about the victim, Franseca Pena, "the undisputed star...whose approval and messy snorts of laughter the others vie for", each new clue only begets more questions. Out of her league and damaging her career, O'Hara doggedly pursues the only avenue of redemption--solving her case.

Peter de Jonge unsurprising reads much like James Patterson. You'll find the same page turning elements and suspenseful drama amongst colorful descriptions like, "slushy rain slobbers all over the roof, and O'Hara tracks a fat brown droplet down the windshield." De Jonge however has gone darker and delivers a better than average police procedural story. If you novelized a Law and Order SVU script, you'd have the gist. The book is loaded with surprises and is a tough to solve who done it. The title is apt, as it leaves the reader with many questions and unresolved story lines, and one can only conclude that this may be the beginning of an exciting series.
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Format: Hardcover
SHADOWS STILL REMAIN is a well written crime novel, but it lacks a quality that makes for a truly effective page turner. De Jonge obviously has creative talent, but there was very little in this novel that I found original or compelling.

The plot, involving a NYPD police detective's quest to solve the murder of a young college student, is pretty standard stuff, the kind of shopworn material you might find in a LAW AND ORDER rerun. I personally found a lot of the dialogue to be surprisingly flat. This novel is also relatively slow paced, which I found surprising from an author who co-wrote several books with James Patterson.

None of the characters struck me as particularly original, with the possible exception of the central character Detective Darlene O'Hara. Still, even O'Hara struck me as something of a cliche -- a highly competent, yet rebellious Irishwoman who constantly clashes with her superiors. Will O'Hara disobey her doltish commander and launch her own investigation of the crime? I think you already know the answer to that one. Michael Connelly treaded this type of territory many times before with his Harry Bosch novels, and he did a far better job of getting inside his main character's head.

Still, De Jonge is a skilled writer, and I enjoyed his vivid descriptions of New York City, as well as his social commentary on the people who live there (all done through the O'Hara character). I also found the novel's ending to have a rather surprising twist. SHADOWS STILL REMAIN is entertaining to read, even if its story doesn't seem to add up to very much.

Overall, this novel's okay, but others have done this type of thing better -- Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and Dennis Lehane readily come to mind. If your reading time is limited, go with one of them instead.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Peter de Jonge's Shadows Still Remain is his solo debut, but his background as a co-author with James Patterson clearly shows up here in this fast paced murder mystery set in Lower Manhattan. If you like this genre, you'll quickly find that this one is better than the average police procedural tale.

The first two chapters are where we first encounter Francesca Pena on Thanksgiving Eve as she steps out of an apartment building in the city's East Fifties, and the author's description of the neighborhood are so accurate. She heads Downtown and meets up with her friends in a very hip new bar in Nolita, and proceeds to get wasted. Leaving the Lower East Side bar in the early morning she feels nauseous, and contemplates hailing a cab, but something happens...

We meet our protagonist Darlene O'Hara in the beginning of the third chapter, a striking redhead in her mid-30s who has an eighteen-year-old son (just do the math) named Axl. The author's descriptions of her and the surroundings are quite vivid, as can be seen here:

"Detective Darlene O'Hara licks the cranberry sauce off her thumb and savors the penultimate bite of her homemade turkey sandwich. She is enjoying her modest feast in the empty second-floor detective room of Manhattan's Seventh Precinct, overlooking a windswept corridor of the Lower East Side where so much unsightly city infrastructure--including a highway, bridge ramps, dozens of housing projects and this squat brick station house--has been shoved against the East River."

Her shift at the Seventh Precinct goes fairly quickly until a suspect from the projects is brought in, and Darlene interviews him.
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Format: Hardcover
I disappeared briefly from society when I picked this book up. Once I started, I could not put it down, and I didn't want it to end. An amazing read. The wordsmithing is brilliant and the story so cleverly evolves. The descriptions of the gritty, seamy side of New York City and characters who frequently find themselves there are vivid and engaging. Being familiar with the city, I found it to be a somewhat surreal experience to read it as I felt completely swept up in the sights and dives of the Lower East Side. I hope I get to read more of de Jonge's heroine detective in the future.
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