Under the Shadows (Paperback)

By Gwen Florio

Midnight Ink, 9780738750538, 360pp.

Publication Date: March 8, 2018



A story assignment becomes a murder investigation for troubled journalist Lola Wicks

Lola Wicks is in bad shape. A family tragedy has nearly flattened her in a way that her years reporting from war zones never did. Her friends, alarmed by signs that Lola is in the grip of a destructive addiction, hope that a freelance assignment will get her back on her feet. The threat of having her child removed persuades Lola to head for Salt Lake City on a puff piece about overseas adoptions. But the story takes a dark turn when the teenager at the center of her story lands in jail facing a murder charge. Setting out to prove the youth's innocence takes Lola to her own dark place, and she's not sure if she'll ever be able to find her way back.

Praise for the Lola Wicks Mysteries:
"A gutsy series."--The New York Times

"Compelling, realistically flawed characters and a timely story line . . . make this one of Florio's hardest-hitting mysteries yet."--Library Journal (starred review)

"A gut-wrenching mystery/thriller."--Kirkus Reviews

"Can a Montana reporter sunk deep into despair after the death of her husband ever climb out of the pit she's dug for herself?Not even the evident distress of her 8-year-old daughter, Margaret, and her beloved dog, Bub, have cut the vicious cycle of pills that gives Lola Wicks relief from the pain of losing her husband, Charlie, in an eco-terroris t bombing six months earlier (Reservations, 2017). Margaret has just enough Native American blood to be considered part of the Blackfoot tribe, and after Charlie's death, the "aunties" of the tribe "swept in...cooking and cleaning and taking care of Margaret, and Lola, too." But now Jan, Lola's best friend and colleague on the local paper in Magpie, is driving her to an intervention: she and the aunties have realized they're only enabling Lola in behavior so destructive that a social worker has considered removing Margaret from her home. Jan has arranged for Lola to go to Salt Lake City to write a human interest story for a religious magazine about Mormon adoptions; the editor of the magazine, Donovan Munro, has arranged for her to interview the Shumway family, who had adopted a 10-year-old Vietnamese boy some years earlier to add to their household of five daughters. Even before Lola arrives at her appointment with the Shumways, though, their neighbor Sariah Ballard is murde red and Trang, also called Frank, is arrested. The Ballards and Shumways are best friends, and Frank was engaged to Sariah Ballard's daughter Tynslee, though they're both still in high school. Struggling to function without her pills, Lola scores a new supply from a nervous boy she later finds is her editor Donovan Munro's son, Malachi. Since all the teens know each other, Lola is convinced they'll be her best source if only she can get them to open up about their secrets. It takes a trip all the way to Vietnam for Lola to uncover some of these secrets, and even then she gets the answer wrong. But her hunt for the truth starts her on the road to recovery. Florio's flawed, complex, compelling heroine faces challenges that are both gut-wrenchingly difficult and all too common today. Her determination to rise above them raises this convoluted tale far above the crowd." --Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Gwen Florio (Missoula, MT) has won several journalism awards and been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize. Her fiction has won the inaugural Pinckley Prize and the High Plains Book Award and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her Short Fiction. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Women Writing the West.