Cover Image: The Shadow People

The Shadow People

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Member Reviews

This certainly proved to be an interesting read, one that I may have to go back and read again to get the full impact. Mr. Clifford has written this in a different style, a lot of narrative, but that is the way Brandon Cossey has to tell his story, with a few twists and turns along the way. The ending was totally unexpected.
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The premise was great but something about the execution just felt off. I don't think the writing style was for me, i didn't enjoy the extensive descriptions of everything. Things did improve as the story went on but it was a push to get through it.
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This story had a fascinating premise and a very easy, casual writing style which I enjoyed. It is a bit slow paced to start and it times is does meander a bit here and there but I think it was trying to establish a foundation. The characters are great, so interesting! This story was literally “a trip”. If you’re looking for a unusual read look no further!. I would check out more by this author. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Polis Books for a copy in exchange for a review.
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Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not really out to get you...I love books about mental health and this one checked all the boxes. Insightful and engaging with just the right amount of horror, this book will leave you gasping for air!
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This is a good book to read going into the Halloween season.  There is a lot of creep with the mysterious death of Jacob far from home, the unanswered questions and the crazy zines found in Jacob's room about The Shadow People.  Brandon has own issues too that become more prevalent as he searches for answers  and things quickly come unraveled as people start chasing him, thinking he knows too much.  This story does a good job of making you doubt the narrator as paranoia sets in and the ending sure wasn't what I was expecting. I definitely was on the edge of my seat while reading it.

On a side note, the part about the color blue was fascinating and I had to do my own research on that after I finished the book.

I enjoyed this book and thank you to netgalley for providing an electronic copy of this story in exchange for a review.
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The Shadow People by Joe Clifford is a book that will keep you turning pages well after you should be asleep.

The storytelling was good, characterization believable within the realm of a thriller, and suspenseful throughout. I make the qualifier about characterization because for any thriller or suspense story to work characters need to be a little bit different than what we normally encounter in life. That is why we so often find people screaming "no one would do that" or "why didn't they just..."  So within the realm of the thriller genre, these characters were very believable.

I would recommend this to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and those who simply like a good story.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Another great offering from Joe Clifford, who seems to get better with each new book. This one, a step in a new direction for him, may be his best yet. A deeply atmospheric psychological thriller with a hell of a twist at the end.
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“The Shadow People was a sinister race of doppelgangers, plants sent to spy on us from netherworlds and report back.  The Shadow People were forever lurking on the peripheral, shape-shifting entities ever present and eternally vigilant. Few saw them. Only the “enlightened” could process their existence. Then once you saw them, you couldn’t ignore them; they were everywhere.”


In Joe Clifford’s latest book, well-adjusted Brandon Cossey is looking forward to graduating SUNY college and relocating to Syracuse University for graduate school. He finally decides to try to date Samantha Holahan and is surprised to learn that she knows him and is willing to even talk to him.  Unfortunately, before the relationship can get started, he gets called home when the woman who adopted him is worried that her son Jacob, Brandon’s former best friend, is missing.  Jacob has had a history of schizophrenia and his mother is concerned that he may have stopped taking his medicine. Brandon is unable to help and returns to his college town. Soon after, Jacob is found dead of apparent suicide.  Brandon reads some of the strange ezines that Jacob has been writing about various outrageous ideas including about Shadow People that only he and a few other see and understand how they were secretly influencing everything. (Reminds me somewhat of QAnon.) Jacob’s grandfather Francis, who also apparently has schizophrenia and talks about strange happenings, decides to investigate his grandson’s death, not believing it’s a suicide. Brandon’s not sure about Francis but decides to help and travel along with him to the place where Jacob was found dead.

During this trip, Brandon starts listening to Francis, who is convinced much of what Jacob wrote about is true and may have led to Jacob’s death.  Brandon doubts his prior beliefs and even what he knows about his own past. He begins to wonder about what he sees around him and what really is the truth.  This makes for a strange and interesting adventure.

This is the fifth novel I’ve read by Joe Clifford and the first standalone.  I’ve read the first four Jay Porter books and they are some of my favorites. Those books are much darker so this one with the happy (at least initially) and confused Brandon was definitely a different style.  The writing of course was very good in The Shadow People, but I didn’t enjoy the story nearly as much.  I guess it’s finally time to read the last one in the Joe Porter series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Polis Books for providing me a copy of this book for this honest review.
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The Shadow People by Joe Clifford is a dark and depressing tale. I mean that in the best way possible! Brandon is about to finish college when he gets a call from his best friend, Jacob's mom, to ask for help in finding Jacob. It seems Jacob has mental problems and always goes off his meds and disappears...but never for this long. Brandon feels obligated to help because Jacob's mom took him in as a child and let him live there with them. 
I don't want to give too much of the plot away. Just know this is a crazy and original plot and I think most people will enjoy this book. I've said it before, Joe Clifford has a way with writing books that immerse me completely in the world of the story. The descriptions of place and character are done so well that I really know these people and the town. Don't miss this one!
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When Brandon Casey learns that his childhood bestfriend, Jacob, has committed suicide, he is sad but not surprised. Jacob suffered from schizophrenia and has always existed outside of society's norm. But when he goes home for the funeral,  Brandon learns just how crazy Jacob was.
  Strange handmade magazines, found in Jacob's bedroom, talk about conspiracy theories and Shadow People that live amoung us. Stranger yet, is that Jacob's body  was found states away, and only identifiable by his teeth. 
   Who else knew about Jacob's crazy ideas, and did he die because of them? Brandon doesn't want to get sucked into Jacob's insanity,  but finds he has no choice..


I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It claims to be a psychological thriller, but I don't agree that it is. Its not supernatural nor is it really a thriller.  It mostly crazy rantings that go around in circles. Not what I was expecting.
  I found the storyline to be too much, and not going anywhere. The ending seems to be thrown together to explain the madness.  A lot of the story is rabbit holes that lead no where. 
  If the Story was about Brandon's childhood, and how he ended up with Jacob's family,  it could have been really interesting. The truth about Brandon's childhood was the only thing that got me excited. 
  I wish this book was so much more then it was.
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Brandon is about ready to embark to graduate school when his childhood friend, Jacob, dies. Jacob has had numerous psychotic episodes in his life. But, circumstances surrounding his death just do not add up to suicide.

Brandon and Jacob’s estranged grandfather, Francis, start their own investigation. Francis also has psychotic episodes, basically because he refuses treatment for schizophrenia. Brandon finds himself in a whole different situation than he ever imagined. With shadow people, strange happenings and even murder, Brandon must fight for his life to find the truth.

I love a story which has me guessing all the way through. This one definitely keeps you on your toes! I swear…this story is part horror and part psycho thriller. Add in all these unusual characters and you have a great tale! I think this is Joe Clifford’s best novel yet!

Need a story that is twisted and unique…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley, author Joe Clifford, and Polis Books publishing for giving me a free arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4 stars
Who are the shadow people? 
This book was a roller coaster ride of crazy! I had no idea what I was reading during most of this book. I kept asking myself "Are the shadow people real? Is there some mass hysteria outbreak? Were the characters dreaming? Were the shadow people part of the after life? Was the grandfather some sort of conspiracy theorist? A government coverup?  An unreliable narrator? All these questions and more plagued my mind as I was taken deeper into the rabbit hole that is this story. Brandon Cossey started out as a sensible and  likeable guy, but as he began to look into the deaths of his friend and other, his personality began to change from being aggressive towards a girl he likes and then his personality would switch again. It kind of gave me whip lash. The other characters were just as interesting and well developed. This book sucked me in and would not let me go. I had to read this book during the day because the idea of shadow people freaked me out!  The writing took me a little bit to get used to. I am really not a fan of first person narrative, but it really worked for this book. The big reveal was excellent and I definitely did not see coming. Overall, this book was a great read and I will have to read it again to see how some of the parts I did not quite understand came together at the end. This was my first book by this author and it will not be my last! I look forward to reading more new releases by this author! I would recommend this book to those who are fans of "The Whisper Man" and other domestic thrillers.
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I was provided a free copy of this text by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was a disappointment of a novel. I was interested in the story from the preview provided, but it seems the entire plot was muddled. I hope Clifford will rewrite the ending
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Great story! Joe Clifford sent me an ARC copy of this one and i have to say he keeps going. This one has more suspense in it than most of his others. The Shadow People delivers on many fronts, has suspense, some mystery and crime elements and some gritty drug use. Also gives us a glimpse into Schizophrenia and what it would be like to either have it or a family member have it. Brandon's brother Jacob has it and is a kind of conspiracy nut, so when Jacob is murdered Brandon has to figure out what is real or what is just Jacob's conspiracys kicking in. I loved the book, as i have all of Clifford's novels, has such a real feel to them. Keep delivering great reads Joe and ill keep on buying them. Thanks for the signed ARC!!
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3 for neutral.  Cannot get it to download properly.    Will update if able to get it to download and read!
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Loved the cover. Found it to be a good book full of twists and turns, a strong story and good believable characters
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Thanks so much to Netgalley, Joe Clifford & Polis Books for the advance digital copy of The Shadow People. Having read several of this authors books before, & I couldn't wait to read this new one. This is my honest review.
This is not a book to skim, it is to relish, to ponder, to soak in the feelings, emotions, atmosphere and humanity. It was deep, meaningful, thoughtful, gritty, compelling & the best I've read from Mr. 
Clifford yet.
Mr. Clifford immersed me in Brandon's character as a complex college student on a quest to uncover the truth about the death of his childhood schizophrenic friend, Jacob. The story explores this at breakneck speed with unexpected outcomes.
The crusty character of Francis added even more intrigue and suspense.
The shadow people will stay with you long past bedtime. I couldn't stop reading and highly recommend., 4.5 stars!
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Brandon Cossey is finishing his last semester as an undergrad when he learns his childhood best friend, Jacob Balfour, has committed suicide. The news about Jacob, who had long battled schizophrenia, does not come as a surprise―but the bizarre details surrounding his death do. Jacob was found several states away, in a quarry, burned alive. 

When Jacob’s estranged grandfather, Francis, who also suffers from schizophrenia (but chooses to go untreated), arrives for the funeral, he tells Brandon that Jacob didn’t kill himself; Jacob stumbled upon a secret so deadly he was murdered to keep it quiet. Soon afterwards, Brandon’s life takes a turn for the strange.

At times part horror and at others part crime/thriller this book had me confused yet thoroughly intrigued. I started reading this with a firm notion it was a horror based around conspiracy theories, little green men and ghosts we cannot see, but like the message Clifford is trying to present, not everything is as straightforward as it seems.

Touching on themes of mental health, abuse, addiction, family dynamics, crime and poverty this novel has genuine grasp and creates empathy for the host of characters. 

My only qualm is that at times the storyline (whilst trying to be clever and keep you off the scent of what was really happening) was sometimes convoluted and hard to follow. 

An unexpected ending (but not a bad one) this one definitely had me guessing and questioning absolutely everything from start to finish! 

#bookreviewsbymrsc #theshadowpeople #joeclifford
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The Shadow People plays on your paranoia. Every minute of doubt influences your next steps. Brandon, a seemingly average kind of guy, gets swept up into uncertainty after his pseudo-brother, Jacob, goes missing. It had been a while since he interacted with the guy but nonetheless, Brandon heads back home to visit the only stable home he's ever known. Brandon is greeted by Lori, his second mom and Jacob's actual mom, and her daughter Chloe when he gets to the house and it doesn't take long for him to start poking around. Jacob's life is far different from the way Brandon had seen it going last, so when he notices that he has leaned into these conspiracy theories a lot more he can't help but brush this off. Things start getting weird now that Brandon knows a little too much and when Jacob's body is found, Brandon's paranoia heightens. Was it murder? Was it an accident? What happened to his long-time friend? What secrets linger in the shadows you don't pay attention to?

I didn't know if I liked this as I was reading it. This idea of 'the shadow people' creeped me out and I thought I would have been much more on edge than I actually was. When I figured out that this story was playing on paranoia and had played around with conspiracy theorists, I was super intrigued. I find conspiracy theories interesting on my own, but watching YouTube videos of people who dedicate so much time and energy to proving some of the wildest ones is concerning but also really fascinating. I thought that the book would translate the same way but it didn't. I was never really on edge, I was mostly confused the whole time. Maybe that was the point? Maybe the uncertainty is meant to make me, the reader, paranoid alongside our main character. If you look at this book through that kind of lens then I think you'll find it much more enjoyable. 

The Shadow People could've had this like Donnie Darko-ness to it and it just didn't. I felt like I was reading the story of the actual story and it skipped a lot of interesting details. It had the vibes of the old prayer "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" but again, I wanted to be thrilled! I wanted it to kind of spook me, and it did none of those things. I'd give this like 2.5/5 stars.
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The Shadow People by. Joe Clifford
Rating: 5 stars

Summary: A young man with a sad history and semi adopted family is notified his best friend is missing. Jacob is also extremely mentally ill. After they find him dead a thousand miles away in Minnesota under bizarre circumstances he goes on a quest to find the Shadow People.

Comments: Clifford again goes in a different direction with his writing into the mystical genre with a ton of suspense built in. Think Dean Koontz with some steroids shot into the story. Great stuff
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