Shade of Pale - Greg Kihn

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, Open Road, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Open Road for letting me read an advance copy and for publishing a ton of great books.

Shade of Pale was originally published in the 90’s---this is a re-issue. For those of us that enjoyed the horror of that decade, this book is a lot of fun and I heartily recommend it. No cell phones—which creates tension and plot twists that would be impossible today. Classic rock references. Even the title itself is a reference to the Procol Harum song “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

The Banshee is a creature, mainly, of Irish legend. She is a curse on certain Irish families---specifically the “old” or “original” families. Considering that the “Mc” of my names means that I happen to belong to one of those old clans, I thought about taking notes, you know, just in case. The folkloric and historical aspects of the Banshee legend is explored in fascinating detail. The anthropological and psychological underpinning are also very interesting. Even Saint Patrick makes an (historical) appearance.

I don’t spend time in my reviews telling the plot but I will say that many authors could learn a few lessons on how to pace a thriller from reading Shade of Pale. Kihn weaves four exciting story lines, each of which is a race toward a predestined confrontation with the Banshee and each other, into a compelling and absorbing narrative. I read the entire book in one sitting because there wasn’t a suitable stopping point. I love it when that happens.

Four stars. Took off one point because I found 2 characters to be annoying and unrealistic. The New York cop and the Black Rain terrorist were fantastic, however. Oh, and the Banshee was every bit as dangerous and deadly as promised but a lot more complex and interesting than I realized.

Shade of Pale was a ton of fun and a great way to spend an evening.