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WesternSFA
The Shadow Men
By Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Spectra Ballantine, $7.99, 325 pp
Release Date: June 28, 2011

The latest in the ‘Hidden Cities’ series although the publisher seems to have dropped that description from the book cover. This one is in Boston where a loving husband and father suddenly lost his family when they just disappear in a bookstore. And nobody remembers them…because they never existed. But Jim remembers and, thankfully, so does Trixie – his wife’s best friend. It is Trix who introduces Jim to the Oracle of Boston – the only person who can explain where his wife and daughter went. But the explanation is so fantastic it takes a real leap of faith for Jim to follow.

At a time in the past, the city was deliberately split by a magician into three realities. So, armed with a letter from the Oracle to take to the Oracles of the ‘other’ Bostons, Jim and Trix leave their city for another Boston that’s just a bit different, hoping they can find Jenny and Holly – their Jenny and Holly. What they find is two subtly different Bostons and, unknowingly, they are the agents of change that cause the two other realities to collide with catastrophic results. The question is: is the reintegration of the two other Bostons a natural occurrence or the machinations of an Oracle? And can they stop it from happening to their Boston ?

The boys’ writing is as seamless as always. They sure know how to spin a story and this one is no exception. It’s hard to find an original idea these days but I think this one qualifies; alternate realities are not new but I don’t think I’ve seen one where they reintegrate. The description of the aftermath was a bit haunting. And, as in most of Golden’s writing, we have innocents caught up in a maelstrom and feel their helplessness. The ending had a bit of a shocker but it felt right. ~~ Catherine Book

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