Author J.F. Hilley is an Air Force veteran having served twenty years, including time in Afghanistan. Using her obvious career military experience, Hilley has penned the entirely realistic read, “The Killing of a Shadow.” At times this book is part romance, while other times it is gruesome, painful, and action packed, but throughout readers remain unwavering in their desire to see The Shadow pay for his brutal actions. Trigger warnings include death, rape, PTSD, violence, and many other ghastly horrors of war. And, while this may not be a heartwarming read, it felt like a necessary one for those, like myself, that have lived a free and enjoyable life thanks to those that have served and protected us.
Our main heroine is none other than female staff sergeant Alexandra Foster. Foster joined the military right out of high school to escape life with her abusive and alcoholic father. Having grown up in a less than ideal household she volunteers to serve a 365-day tour in Afghanistan as a way to further advance her Air Force career. Upon her arrival she is immediately taken in by a group of quick friends and is soon recruited to undertake a top-secret mission to kill The Shadow. What she doesn’t anticipate are soldiers such as Liam and Captain Marcs, both of which play entirely pivotal roles in her life, for extremely different reasons.
Creating a strong, but fragile female lead, flanked by two polar opposite male sidekicks, tucked amongst the Afghan landscape and that is just scratching the surface of what “The Killing of a Shadow” offers readers. While Alex’s backstory is fraught with difficulties and trauma, readers can’t help but burrow in as villians attempt to hold her back at every turn. Giving us a front row seat to her characters’ thoughts and dialogs, Hilley has forged a diverse array of personalities and morals within the fictional characters gracing these pages. Adding to the captivating nature of the read are the contrasting personalities in both the military and locals.
Bringing her military experience to the forefront of this read, Hilley crafts a genuine tale, teaching us the ins and outs of military life, the sacrifices made, and the relationships formed. “The Killing of a Shadow” will make reader’s hearts pound as they root for Alex’s success.
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