Stolen by Shiloh Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Let this be a lesson. Staying hidden and anonymous is a double-edged sword. Shay Morgan hides in a snow entombed place - Alaska. In this tiny community, she's able to keep to herself. No one knows who she really is nor do they know what she does for a living. This anonymity helps keep her sane. Shay doesn't want to deal with her past and she's virtually all alone except for a handful of people. Even these people, not all of them know the real Shay Morgan.
Elliot Winter is in love with Shay yet gave her up because he couldn't get her to trust him. They couldn't build a life together if she can't share. Elliot's frustration is understandable and justified for the most part. Still he loves her from afar. When Elliot and Shay are brought back together, Shay's secrets are exposed. Elliot is now thrown into a nightmare situation. Shay's public life is stolen from her.
The conflict in this story is rather horrifying. For those of us who prefer to stay behind the scenes, this stealing of an identity is frightening and beyond terrifying. As person who writes and reviews with a pseudonym, this story hits me a bit harder than others. The way a person can be essentially erased or have their life ripped away from them without anyway to defend themselves is shocking. Ms. Walker did an excellent job demonstrating all the ways a person can be isolated and redirected. It's diabolical.
The villain in this story was a sociopath. The focus on Shay was alarming. The intent behind it all is understandable but the way it was twisted into something so ugly was astounding. In a way, it reminds me of Dexter Morgan's brother, Brian Moser. While the reader is able to guess the villain quickly, there were a few twists and turns which made the story more riveting and horrific. Sometimes, loving a person too much can result in ways not intended. In this case, being loved by a person too much results in just the way we expect - stalker psycho crazy.
The characters in this story were interesting. Elliot is the hero who is supportive and loving. Shay is the paranoid recluse. I have to admit, I didn't like Shay. I couldn't connect with her and many times I wanted to slap her upside the head. Since I've never lived through the trauma she's lived through, I can't sympathize. My empathy is lacking for her too because she's whiny at times and overly inner focused. It's not that she is self-centered. For someone who doesn't want people to know about her, everything seems to be about her. She's not a good friend or sister. She's a terrible girlfriend. She's kind of a sorry excuse for a person. Despite my dislike of Shay, the story worked well for me. The secondary characters made the story for me. Elliot's sister and Darcy deserve best supporting cast awards. This story is recommended for romantic suspense readers who enjoy a good thriller theme.
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