Book Review: Seven Shadows by V.S. Kemanis

Seven Shadows by V.S. KemanisThe fifth Dana Hargrove book takes us forward to a time when Dana is experiencing her midlife crisis. Her children are all grown up now, and she feels her life has taken on a direction that might be quite unsure. She seems full of self-doubt at the moment, and to be honest, this sort of got to me in the book. Even her relationship with her forever-happy husband has hit a new low of ‘stale.’ In one year I will be at the age Dana is in this book, so I am a bit scared of what the future might hold. Will the menopause blues get me as well? The book really opened my eyes to the very near future and to the way different people are dealing with this aspect of their lives.

As for her career life, Dana is a former prosecutor turned judge dealing with two cases at the moment, both high-profile ones. The first is about a former-millionaire young woman who supposedly killed her partner. Once the verdict has been reached, now Dana finds herself in the very tough position of having to decide on a punishment. How many years will she get? A minimum of 5? Or dare she go up to 20-25 years to set an example of her?

The second case involves a pill mill that is run by an orthopedic doctor, and given the current opioid crisis in the US, this case is definitely one that everyone has their eyes on. The bigger problem is, however, that someone wants to keep Dana from hearing these cases and sends her and her family anonymous threatening messages. There is a stalker on the loose, and Dana, her sister, and the rest of her family might be the stalker’s latest target.

Even if this is a reader’s first book by the author, it is very clear that Ms. Kemanis has a strong legal background which she utilizes for maximum impact. There are numerous relevant and well-placed details about the cases and their handling of the respective authorities that only someone who works in the field knows how to tackle. Still, the author doesn’t go into extreme courtroom details that could bore a layperson.

The story is fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns, and with a very interesting ending that I didn’t see coming. The Dana Hargove books are what I call legal mysteries. Having read too many legal thrillers so far, I do enjoy the lower level of thrill and chill in the V.S. Kemanis books. For people who find thrillers too unnerving, this series will fill a void that people didn’t even know they had. I found this book to be the most emotional in scope so far. There is a lot of soul searching in the Hargrove family. I daresay this book at times crosses genres from legal mystery to psychological suspense, equally drawing in readers of both genres.

My only worry about the series is that it might end soon. From what I’ve noticed, each book takes place several years after the previous one. We started with Thurday’s List in 1988 when Dana was just a rookie prosecutor. Homicide Chart takes place in 1994 when Dana is a young mother. The next book, Forsaken Oath, takes us to 2001 when Dana is an established and well-respected prosecutor. Next, we go to Deep Zero, to 2009, when Dana is the newly elected District Attorney. And finally, we get to Seven Shadows to 2015, when Dana is entering the second half of her own century. I love these books, so I really hope that we will get to see many more stories with Dana, her husband her sister who is an actress, and her now grown-up children. At some point Dana will have to retire, and that will be a sad day for the lovers of this series.


Seven Shadows by V.S. Kemanis
Series: Dana Hargrove Legal Mystery #5
Published by Opus Nine Books
Published 2020
Genres: Legal mystery
Source: Review Copy
Also by this author: Thursday’s ListHomicide ChartForsaken Oath, Deep Zero

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