Identities in the Shadows

Hot Damn! I didn’t know what to expect from D. T. Moorhouse’s debut novel Purple Shadows, but it sure surprised and captivated me.

(By the way, check out my vlog here!)

This story takes place in a small UK township, possibly in Moorhouse’s native Ireland. It follows a few weeks in the life of young Dean Turner, a handsome, average 17 year old. You know the type–decent grades, but not outstanding; has a small group of friends, a cute girl friend; he’s a generally nice kid.

His whole life changes one day when his oldest and dearest friend Dave picks on their classmate Jack Hawkins, the class nerd. Nobody really likes Jack–they see him as a sycophant and know-it-all, and yet, there’s something about him that both intrigues Dean and makes him feel bad for the kid. So, when Dave harasses Jack with a neon pink dildo, Dean steps in and breaks them up…but when he chases after Jack to make sure he’s okay, they both get detention for “bringing that abomination” into school.

It’s post-detention when walking home together that Jack makes a move…and Dean kind of likes it. Then he has a lot of conflicting feelings–which makes sense considering he thought (assumed?) he was straight–all this time. But eventually, their casual acquaintanceship develops into something more, that is, until they are ripped apart and drama ensues.

It’s this separation and drama that, for me, was the most captivating. However, I also really liked the way Moorhouse developed the two boys’ relationship. It’s clear that he put a lot of thought into developing these characters both as individuals and as they relate to each other. Dean’s emotional breakdown just seemed so realistic and plausible, it was heart wrenching!

In addition to the characters being realistic and developed, the plot was also clearly well thought out. This book is to be the first of a series, and he expertly set up the ending to allow for that. But even before the ending, the plot was well done–even when Dean is just working through the daily life and ponderings of both a normal teenage kid and a stressed out, emotionally vulnerable one, the plot was engaging–there wasn’t a dull moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and think you probably will too. Again–I’m not sure if it’s just a recent trend I’ve been noticing or if I’m more sensitive to swearing, but there is some in this book. It’s mostly f-bombs, so if you’re sensitive to that, you might feel a little uncomfortable. Similarly, there are a couple of fist (and kicking) fights and some mild sex scenes. I’d say it’s like, a little more than PG-13 but not quite R-rated material… well maybe 1980s R-rated material.

I think the biggest trigger, ahem, is at the end when Dean is just so, well, emotionally unbalanced. So, if you’re sensitive with mental health, the chapter aptly titled “The End” might be a little difficult to read. Then again, since it’s the first of a series, maybe it’s like one of those cliff-hanger crime shows where you know the main character just has to be alright! (and you’re biting your nails the whole time, naturally)

That’s all I’ve got for this week! I’m excited to share another Twitter friend’s book with you next week, The Super Twins by Andy Slinger!

Happy Reading!

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