Ash Bowman is a former police officer who turned private detective after walking in on a murder in progress that killed his partner, Evelyn, and left him maimed. When not working a case, he spends his time trying to map the Core at the space station Fraxin Yari, where Evelyn’s ghost haunts him as he prowls the dark corridors.
Gabe Whitfield is a journalist who is trying to learn the truth about the same murder. Approaching Ash to help him find a potential witness, the two can’t resist the attraction they have for one another. Teaming up, the two begin to search for answers by heading deep into the darkness of the Core.
I am so not a sci-fi reader, but there was something about this book that made me choose it…okay, I suppose it has something to do with Ash being a former police officer, now private detective. Anyway, this book kept me on the edge of my seat from the very first pages and I almost forgot that it wasn’t taking place in the present time, nor was it taking place on Earth. Honestly, this book reads more like a contemporary than a sci-fi. While there are sci-fi aspects to it, the world that the author created conjures up images of 19th century England’s St. Giles where thieves and prostitutes roamed through dark, gloomy passageways where one easily can become lost. In this book, the Core is the center of gang activity and home to many of the poor Red-Irish who’ve sought refuge of a 30-year Civil War.
The characters in Mapping the Shadows quickly drew me into the story. Gabe grew up on Mars. Red-Irish, he was sent to Chicago to get an education after he lost his family in the Martian Civil War. Gabe is hired on as an investigative journalist to solve an assassination that left one police officer dead and another maimed, primarily because he is Red-Irish and able to penetrate the Core without looking out of place and because he is an orphan and has no one to mourn him if he never returns.
Ash is suffering from PTSD after watching Evelyn get gunned down. When his calls for an “officer down” went unheeded because both he and Evelyn were gay, he walked away from his job as a police officer and began a private detective firm. Now, his sole purpose in life is devoted to mapping the Core, the oldest section of the space station where Evelyn died and Ash was maimed.
When Gabe approaches Ash, the sparks between the two are instantaneous. As the saying goes, where there are sparks, there is fire! These two burn up the pages. Though the two end up in bed with one another within 24 hours of meeting each other, their relationship is believable. Readers should be are, there are a lot of sex scenes between these two…so turn on your air conditioning, things are heating up!
While this book is a sci-fi, it is also a mystery/suspense. Joining forces to find a missing girl, they realize that their investigation is pointing towards someone in the political elite ordering the assassination. As they begin to dig deeper into the murder/assassination, their very lives are in jeopardy. With only each other to rely on, the two head deep into the Core to find the secrets it’s holding.
Overall, this book is definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a good M/M romantic suspense. Even if you are not a sci/fi fan, don’t let that aspect of the book deter you from picking this book up. I highly recommend!