Monday, March 26, 2012

Search the Shadows by Barbara Michaels

It was back to Barbara Michaels’ books for me over the weekend. This time it was Search the Shadows, which is about Haskell Maloney looking for her father. Haskell’s mom died when she was a baby, and Haskell was raised by her aunt Jessie. For most of her life, Haskell thought that she knew who her father was: Kevin Maloney, who died in Vietnam. When Haskell goes for a blood test before marrying her lawyer fiancee, Jon, she finds out that she is a carrier of Tays-Sachs. Since that is something that would come from an Eastern European Ashkenazi or someone from Nova Scotia, Haskell realizes that her “father” wasn’t her father. Of course, Haskell has a breakdown, breaks off her engagement until she can “find herself,” and fights with Aunt Jessie, who should have known and didn’t tell Haskell. Jessie, however, is just as shocked, and Haskell decided that she has to go in search of her father. Haskell decides to go to the Oriental Institute in Chicago, where her mother went to school and met her father. Haskell decides that one of the guys in her mother’s photo album must be the father. One of them is Stephen Nazarian, who blew himself up in with a group of Vietnam War revolutionaries. Stephen’s father, Victor Nazarian, is a wealthy, powerful, elderly man, and Haskell determines to volunteer to work for his museum organization, because who can turn away a volunteer. The next thing we know, Haskell is on the Nazarian grounds and in danger.
This book has no woo-woo elements. There are no ghosts or spirits haunting Haskell, well, except for the spirit of her mother. I have to admit that Search the Shadows is one of those Barbara Michaels books that I’m not very fond of. Yes, I read through the book quickly, and I enjoyed it to a degree. I love Michaels’ writing. The Egyptology bit struck a chord with me. Haskell was plain annoying though. I mean, really! So you find out that you are a carrier of Tays-Sachs, and the first thing you do is dump the guy you are going to marry? That just didn’t make sense to me. It’s as if Haskell (or maybe Michaels) was looking for a way out from the beginning. The romance part of it was shallow. Haskell winds up with a guy at the end, but it’s really not the guy that you would think. We really don’t get a build up of the romance. I figured out who the dad was, but it’s really not that obvious. So what did I think? Enjoyable, but flawed, book. I think that if you love Michaels, you’ll think this one is okay. Not the best, but by far, not the worst.

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