Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shadow Laws - Book Reviews

The second Bryson Coventry thriller, Shadow Laws, was released on October 15, 2006, as both an original trade paperback and as an audio book. It is available now from your favorite local bookstore or your favorite online bookseller, including Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc.

Shadow Laws
ISBN 097692434X, 9780976924340
Jim Michael Hansen
Dark Sky Publishing, Inc.
402 Pages
$13.95 (TP), $18.95 (Audio)
October 15, 2006

Back Cover Copy. Denver homicide detective Bryson Coventry, and beautiful young attorney Taylor Sutton, are separately hunting vicious killers but for very different reasons. As the two dangerous chases inadvertently intersect, both of the unters get pulled deeper and deeper into an edgy world of shifting truths where there is more at stake than either could have imagined, nothing is as it seems, and time is running out.


Hansen, Jim Michael. Shadow Laws. Dark Sky Oct. 2006. c.400p. ISBN 0-9769243-4-X [ISBN 978-0-9769423-4-0]. pap. $13.95. While police detective Bryson Coventry investigates what looks to become a serial-killer nightmare, brilliant and beautiful young attorney Taylor Sutton is hired by big-time lawyer Nick Trotter to follow up on a mysterious client who pays Nick a fee but has never asked him to do any legal work. As engaging as the debut Night Laws, this exciting blend of police procedural and legal thriller recalls the early works of Scott Turow and Lisa Scottoline. Hansen is a Colorado attorney.
--LIBRARY JOURNAL (October 1, 2006)

"Shadow Laws is a fast-moving crime thriller, and Hansen creates powerful suspense, bringing to light fully developed characters and providing hours of entertainment as he rewards the reader with a juicy tale. A nail-biting page-turner, yet another winner from Hansen following Night Laws." (5 stars) --Brenda Snodgrass, Curled Up With A Good Book.

"Wow. This is, how, in short, I would describe Shadow Laws, the second in the line of hard-hitting “Laws” series by Attorney Jim Michael Hansen. Last year while reviewing Night Laws for this Journal I had remarked that I would be on the eager look out for the next Hansen work, and the wait has proved worth it as this new novel is something special, a hell raiser- page turner of a read,- that is, mildly put, spectacular.

Bryson Coventry returns in splendid form, this time around on the hunt for a killer who sends letters to all the TV stations and newspapers announcing the date of his next “visit.” And right on schedule, the killings take place, with the murderer leaving his signature mark at each site.

At the same time, the heroine of the novel, feisty-gutsy attorney Taylor Sutton, is on a hot trail investigating a “client” for fellow criminal lawyer Nick Trotter, a criminal Trotter accepted a retainer from through mail, and one he has never seen face to face. And when this “client” starts bragging about the crimes he has committed and will commit, Trotter feels that he is being set up, with the attorney- client confidentiality clause possibly even leading to his own murder.
The suspense in the novel is spine chilling, even much more than what James Patterson offers in his Alex Cross series, being a fine blend of the psychological thriller genre and the legal thriller genre. A fine, fine read and a highly recommended buy-I'm looking forward to the next one" (5 bolts) -- Narayan Radhakrishnan, New Mystery Reader Magazine,

"SHADOW LAWS by Jim Michael Hansen: In this second of the “Laws” series, Denver homicide detective Bryson Coventry, and beautiful young attorney Taylor Sutton, are separately hunting vicious killers but for very different reasons. A lawyer friend of Sutton’s has a mysterious client, with whom he has only talked by phone, that he thinks is trying to kill him. He has tapes of their conversations that are not conclusive and wants Sutton’s advice as to whether he can ethically turn them over to the police. In the meantime Coventry is looking for a missing woman that he fears is dead. Soon they are in pursuit of a sicko who likes to play games with his victims, the police and attorneys. Eventually the paths of Coventry and Sutton cross and they close in on the truth. Another excellent outing." 11/06 Jack Quick,

"A serial killer has terrorized the residents of Denver. Homicide Detective Bryson Coventry leads the investigation that seems to be always a bit too late, almost as if the culprit somehow knows his every move. Getting a bit paranoid, Bryson wonders if someone in the inner law enforcement circle could be the maniac.

As Coventry digs deeper into understanding the nightmarish world of his adversary, attorney Taylor Sutton also seeks to bring to justice to a diabolical killing machine. Soon their cases interconnect, but in spite of reluctantly comparing their notes, neither is ready for the next kill by a predator whose pleasure is hurting people. As more die, Coventry and Sutton wonder whether they need to cross the legal line both are sworn to uphold into the shadowy realm where their foe makes death the law of the cement jungle.

This is a terrific police procedural- private investigation thriller that grip the audience from the start because the cases feel like they come from headline news. The subplots are fast-paced and merge smoothly into a strong serial killer tale. Readers will enjoy the chilling inquiries made by the intrepid but fearful lead pair; however, afterward will keep the lights on as no one will want to meet who makes the laws in the shadow of night." --Harriet Klausner, #1 Amazon Reviewer

"Denver homicide detective Bryson Coventry returns (Night Laws) in Jim Michael Hansen's Shadow Laws. Art student Ashley Conner is missing and Coventry believes she's been hunted and captured by a vicious killer who kills his targets after playing a game of dice with them. If they lose, they die. Attorney Taylor Sutton has been hired by her long-time friend, Nick Trotter, to locate a mysterious client whom he thinks is a killer.

At first glance, it appears that Coventry and Sutton are investigating separate crimes and killers. But their cases soon intersect. The hunters become the hunted, a person without a name becomes a trusted confidant, and others hide deadly secrets.

Shadow Laws is a thriller that will keep you turning the pages while you remind yourself to breathe. Hansen's ability to build what appear to be separate stories that ultimately intersect is a talent not often seen in the thriller genre. His realistic approach caused me some bad dreams and I found myself making sure my doors were locked and when driving I kept looking over my shoulder. That's a powerful storyteller." --Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews,

"Hansen's story surges with action like a screaming Ferrari with no brakes. His plot captivates and terrifies, while the characters vault from the page--alive and kicking--dueling with sizzling dialogue. Throughout the tale, Hansen's razor wit snicks and slices with wry cunning, giving the reader a complex, intriguing and satisfying ride." --Mark Bouton, author of Max Conquers the Cosmos and cracks in the Rainbow,

"Without a shadow of a doubt, Hansen knows murder." --Paul Anik, I Love A Mystery,

"Jim Hansen's books just get stronger and stronger. Shadow Laws is part police procdural, part legal thriller, and completely satisfying." --Mark Terry, author of Dirty Deeds and The Devil's Pitchfork.

"An accident on an open road in the middle of the night. A heat wave that’s struck Denver and has no end in sight. A police detective with a nose for trouble. An inquisitive attorney who gets an assignment from a good friend. What do they all have in common?

If you’re a lover of crime-noir and thrillers, you’re in for a treat. Readers first met Denver detective Bryson Coventry in Night Laws and he’s back in author Jim Hansen’s excellent second installment, Shadow Laws.

There’s a killer on the loose in Denver and Detective Coventry is having a hard time tracking him down. Bodies are turning up in unlikely places; places that really piss off Bryson. It’s almost as if the murderer is taunting the police department, and the detective in particular.

Taylor Sutton, a tough but beautiful attorney, is asked by a good friend to help track down a guy who left a bizarre message for him. Was it threatening? Or are they reading too much into it? Does the messenger have insights into the murders that are plaguing Denver?

As the story unfolds, we learn that friends may be enemies, killers don’t look like killers, and family members might be accessories to murder.

Move over John Grisham, there’s a new author/attorney in town and his name is Jim Michael Hansen. Writing at a breakneck pace with characters and action that leap off the pages, Shadow Laws will make you laugh with joy one minute, and tremble with fear the next. This is what excellent storytelling’s all about.

Having read tons of crime fiction when I was young, this story really brought me back to the genre in a whole new — and refreshing — way. There is, of course, murder as well as mystery, laughs, snappy dialogue, excellent pacing, great sex, and enjoyable characters."
--Byron Merritt, FWOMP Book Review.

"It all starts with a threatening note and photocopied driver's license that has been sent to many news stations. The note reads: "Next visit: Weekend of July 7."
When the note is brought to the attention of Detective Bryson Coventry, Bryson sets out to make sure the driver's license's owner is okay. Instead, he learns she's been missing for a couple of days. Is a madman on the hunt? When a second letter comes in with the date changed to the 14th, Bryson fears a serial killer is stalking the streets of his small Colorado town.

Attorney Taylor Sutton's day starts off easily enough. It's hot. She's dressed for the weather, not for her job, and she's just been handed an unusual case. Another lawyer, Nick Trotter, hands her a $10,000 retainer with the promise that she will look into a stranger calling himself "Mr. Northwest" whom Nick fears may be a killer. Could Taylor's mysterious stranger and Bryson's killer be one in the same?
As more women vanish, Bryson works tirelessly to solve the crime. Meanwhile, Taylor finds that Nick may not be telling her the truth. Could her life be in danger?
At first appearances, SHADOW LAWS may sound predictable to mystery fanatics. It isn't! I highly suggest pushing that thought out of your head immediately and diving in. One thing I know for certain is that Jim Hansen does not make anything easy. His novels contain more spirals than a corkscrew. From the first page, the reader finds him or herself sucked into an unfamiliar area, but that same town becomes vividly real. You can almost smell the victims' fear. Jim Hansen is a master at creating powerful suspense." --Tracy Farnsworth, Roundtable Reviews.

"As with Night Laws, this is the thriller equivalent of comfort food."--Russel McLean, Crime Scene Scotland.

"Chiller thriller." --Author Geraldine Evans.

"Hansen has given his fans another winner." --Author Nancy Tesler.

"This is the second crime thriller I have read by this author. The first, Night Laws, was superb and this new one is even better. There must be something in the mountain air around Golden, Colorado just west and north of Denver that produces such fine writers of mysteries and thrillers. Several ones I have reviewed share common backgrounds and talents, and Jim Hansen is no exception. The current story is about unintended consequences and a wily serial killer who takes having his proclivities used by others who need to get rid of a little excess baggage rather resentfully. There are so many twists, turns, and gottcha’s in this story, that it keeps the reader guessing and surprised all the way to the end. It even includes a homicide detective chief who isn’t above a little frontier justice every now and then. The author is especially ambitious to juggle two protagonists—the detective and a smart lady lawyer who seem at times to be working at cross purposes. We rated the author’s second book five hearts of heart stopping action." --Bob Spear, Editor-in-Chief, Heartland Reviews (

“I believe that Jim Hansen did a good job with his first novel, Night Laws, and I expected to feel the same satisfaction . . . But I have to say Shadow Laws blew my socks off! While the first novel left me walking down the road to the wrong conclusion at times, this one kept me on a mystery merry-go-round until the last ten pages. And when the realities became clear, they slapped me in the face like a blast of cold winter air. If you like crime thrillers, this is a must read!” --Kathy Martin, In The Library Reviews.

"One of the marks of a great series writer is the ability to connect the reader with one principle character from one work to another. The character must be strong, he or she becomes the readers recognition of the author's work and one that the reader knows will be the pivot point of the entire storyline. In the same token each story must be able to stand alone and such is the case with the writings of Jim Michael Hansen. To me, this is the mark of an exceptional writer.

Author Jim Hansen has accomplished this task in his second work, "Shadow Laws," by drawing us again into the work and life of Homicide detective Byson Coventry as he begins a hunt for yet another killer of innocent young women. We are comfortable knowing our detective yet if this is our first read of this outstanding author's work, we are drawn into the life of Coventry by his defined descriptive writing of Coventry's character, life and occupation.

In the beginning of our read we are witnessed to a fatal car accident caused by a careless couple who hide their hideous crime; we will not be told how this interweaves with the story at this time, but you will be shocked how important this event becomes. We travel to Denver and meet Taylor Sutton,Esq. and her friend Nick who informs her that he needs her help with a delicate matter.

He has a mysterious client, one who he has only talked with on the phone, although he has taken his retainer. Now he feels this same man is trying to kill him and he doesn't know why. He has taped their conversations and wants to know if it would be against client privileges to take these tapes to the police as he feels he maybe a killer. However, the client never actually admits to killing anyone but the undertone that he has is there. Chilling!

We are then taken into the life of Detective Coventry; a young woman is missing. Perhaps she has only decided to take a few days off away from everyone, but Coventry knows deep in his gut that this is not the case. Soon we are in the midst of the chase for a very sick man who likes to play games with the police, attorneys and the women that he kills. He is a self-made star and a man to be feared, one who is exceptional in leaving no clues, nothing left to chance. Creepy!

The storyline twists and turns, rounds corners and comes to dead-end streets as you desperately try to piece together how all the characters are interwoven with our killer and each other. And it doesn't stop there as our detective becomes involved with a woman who is the neighbor of the missing girl. There is a problem however, as this woman seems to have a secret past, and Coventry,like it or not, must find out what that is. One point I feel I should mention is that this work is a little more racy sexually than the first, however it does not take away from the suspense or storyline of this book. Every character that our author brings into play in this work is important to the story, yet believe me you will not be able to figure out why until the very end.

"Shadow Laws," is fast paced, a work that is ingenious at keeping the reader totally in the dark and absolutely shocking as the truth is revealed. As you read it, mysteries are layered one upon another, characters are interwoven, yet separate, and answers seem to be totally out of reach as the clock ticks away until the final hour where death may well become the victor. A nail-biter, page turner read, one that has all the elements that simply must be there for a top-notch murder mystery . Draw the shades, leave the lights on and double lock the doors as you settle back for a bone-chilling adventure. Outstanding and Exceptional! Highly recommended!"
–Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

“Jim Michael Hansen . . . has come up with yet another thriller that will pull the reader right into the spine-tingling story. . . . It is an on-the-edge-of-the-seat excitement that will leave you, the reader, shivering.” –Wanda Maynard, Sime Gen Reviews.

“Edgy characters, edgy plot, skillful storytelling—Shadow Laws is sure to please legal thriller, psychological thriller and police procedural readers alike.” --L.B. Cobb, author of Splendor Bay and Promises Town.

“Talented Jim Michael Hansen offers us thrills and chills! A killer proves how easy it is to stalk, kidnap and kill young women and evade detection. A tale that will have you looking over your shoulder or unwilling to be out after dark alone. A look at the battle of good versus evil and you’re never sure who’ll win. Original look at the old crime of murder. Exciting reading with a cast of characters you’ll enjoy and some you’ll love to hate.” --Anne K. Edwards, author of Death on Delivery and Journey into Terror.

“In Jim Hansen’s latest legal thriller, Shadow Laws, he does it all; vividly evokes a setting, Denver, from its sleazy Colfax Avenue bars to its slick Cherry Creek mansions; brings to life a quirky bunch of characters; and twists a plot so capably that the reader hasn’t a chance to put the book down until it’s finished.” –Anne Ripley, author of the Louise Eldridge gardening mysteries.

Lieutenant Bryson Coventry has his hands full in this second book of the "law" series -- more ways than one. Luckily he has a hotshot and hot-to-trot accomplice filling in the reader and doing the foot work while Bryson plays around. Taylor Sutton is the most atypical 21st century woman you'll ever meet. Bryson might do well to come up for air a little more often or this gal will steal his staring role.

Bryson has more than one mystery to solve though, including the past of a mysterious, but irresistible woman. Not as strong as his first novel, Night Laws, Shadow Laws still delivers a one-two punch and gives us a few more insights into the continuing mystery of Bryson Coventry's character.

Nathan Wickersham is introduced early on as the bad (really bad) guy. He tears through the story like a Vegas pit boss on the hunt for loaded dice. As someone who likes the bad guys, I would have preferred more character study on this character, but as interesting as he was, I wouldn't want to meet him in a even well-lighted alley. Even the villain has a silent and deadly partner who keeps everyone's heads turning to see who's behind them.

The book keeps the reader, and most of the characters, guessing till the last page. It's definitely a good read and will no doubt become a collector's "must have" as the series evolves. Buy it while you can! Don't expect me to give you my copy when you find they've sold out. –Nancy Malcom