Review: The Shadows Behind Her Smile


The Shadows Behind Her Smile, by Karen Millie-James

Publisher: King Of The Road Publishing Limited; February 12, 2016

This morning I awoke to a beautiful, warm morning out on my deck.  After some coffee, I decided that I should sit out on the deck enjoying the sunny day and dig into another novel to review. I sat down with Karen Millie-James’ debut novel, The Shadows Behind Her Smile, and the next thing I knew three hours had passed and unfortunately I was finished with the novel.  Do you ever find yourself frustrated and almost pouting because you’ve reached the end of a novel?  Reaching the ending of this novel was so disappointing because I wanted this story to continue on and on!

The Shadows Behind Her Smile is about a Cydney Granger and her business as a corporate forensic specialist.  Cydney is well-respected in her field, successful, and also has abilities to communicate with the deceased (making things quite interesting).  Cydney lost her Special Forces husband (Steve) years earlier and now resides with her teenage twins, Sean (who served with her husband), and his daughter Sophie.  Those are some of the major players, but there is a long cast of characters also tightly wound into the plot, especially her new love interest, George.  When Cydney is contacted by a man recently deceased, she proceeds to try to help his widow re-gain control of the family business.  Additionally, she and her team and researching a potential business purchase for a long-time friend.  Between the two business investigations, she is also juggling an aging mother in a nursing home, a selfish sister that doesn’t help out, continued grief over losing her husband, and the prospects of dating and falling in love with someone new.  Needless to say, Cydney has a great deal going on, but she remains driven and committed to her work, family, and friends.  The narrator shifts in the novel from Cydney, Sean, Steve, George, and so on – however, these are not shifts causing confusion.  This is a complex novel with several subplots, however, it is not overwhelming with too much happening.  There were a few times that I got somewhat lost in the business talk about shares and holdings and investors, but I attribute that to my not being a business-minded person. You want to talk education, literature, etc., then I’m your girl.  Not so much with the business and financial stuff.

Anyway… Millie-James has crafted a fast-paced novel filled with crime, suspense, love, loss, and trust that you will not be able to put down once you’ve started.  The writing in this novel will propel you into the plot as if you are working with Cydney’s team on these investigations, instilling a longing for peace and resolution for several of the characters (and punishment for others).  If you are not typically a reader of crime/thriller/suspense fiction, forget you’re preconceived ideas and put this on your to-read list.  Luckily for all of us readers out there, Karen Millie-James is currently working on the follow-up to The Shadow Behind Her Smile, so stay-tuned for more of her eloquent and thoughtful writing.

Want to learn more about the author?  Visit:

*I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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