Review of “When Shadows Fall” by JT Ellison



Dear Dr. Owens,

If you are reading this letter, I am dead and I would be most grateful if you could solve my murder…

Forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens thought life was finally returning to normal after she suffered a terrible personal loss. Settling into her new job at Georgetown University, the illusion is shattered when she receives a disturbing letter from a dead man imploring her to solve his murder. There’s only one catch. Timothy Savage’s death was so obviously the suicide of a demented individual that the case has been closed.

When Sam learns Savage left a will requesting she autopsy his body, she feels compelled to look into the case. Sam’s own postmortem discovers clear signs that Savage was indeed murdered. And she finds DNA from a kidnapped child whose remains were recovered years earlier.

The investigation takes Sam into the shadows of a twenty-year-old mystery that must be solved to determine what really happened to Timothy Savage. Nothing about the case makes sense but it is clear someone is unwilling to let anyone, especially Samantha Owens, discover the truth.


I won this novel through GoodReads last year, but, for some silly reason, I hadn’t read it until a few days ago. Needless to say, I quickly regretted having put it off for so long especially because I was instantly hooked!

This is the third book in the Samantha Owens series. Samantha is a medical examiner who is used to working alongside detectives in order to solve violent crimes. A past event has caused her to leave her profession for something much less stressful. She begins to prepare to teach a class on forensics when she receives a letter from a man asking her to solve his murder.

At first, she doesn’t know what to make of this letter. Is it a hoax? Is it someone trying to spook her? Or could it possibly be real?

She will soon learn that people are willing to go to great lengths to keep their secrets hidden…no matter the cost.

I have not read the previous books to this series, but there is plenty of backstory to help along the way. Therefore, I never felt lost or as if I was missing some vital pieces of information. With that said, there is not TOO much backstory. It is done in such a way that it is enough to catch you up, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming.

On the other hand, if you have not read the previous books and want to, I highly recommend reading them in the correct order because When Shadows Fall does contain information about the other books that will spoil them for you.

I really liked the characters! I was rooting for Samantha the entire time. She is strong-willed and courageous. She has suffered from an enormous loss that still pains her to the present day, but that hasn’t weakened her resolve one bit.

I also grew attached to Xander and Fletcher who work alongside of Samantha to help her solve crimes, but they also have personal attachments to her. I especially loved their playful banter. Both characters are easily likable.

There is a particular aspect about this book that I hadn’t read about before and once you read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m being very vague simply because it’s kind of spoilerish. Anyway, I hadn’t even considered that as being a possibility for the case at hand. Since I had never read a book about that kind of storyline before, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was greatly pleased with how it played out.

Overall, it was incredibly suspenseful, addictive, and entertaining. I want to go back and read the first two books in the series. I want to read more about these characters that I have instantly grown attached to.

If you are a fan of suspense/mystery books then I highly recommend this novel!

Final verdict: 5 stars!

Buy link:

Amazon (only $1.99 for the Kindle version!)

Add to your TBR:



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