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The Long Shadow on the Stage

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Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show "Dispatching David," millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, "Dispatching David" has just been canceled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune i Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show "Dispatching David," millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, "Dispatching David" has just been canceled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune is dwindling and his girlfriend Clara is pressuring him to propose. When Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of the TV show during filming, everyone speculates whether it was suicide or murder. Why would Jackson commit suicide? If it was a setup, who would want Jackson to die? And most importantly, what was the motive of the murderer? As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson's secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.


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Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show "Dispatching David," millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, "Dispatching David" has just been canceled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune i Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show "Dispatching David," millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, "Dispatching David" has just been canceled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune is dwindling and his girlfriend Clara is pressuring him to propose. When Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of the TV show during filming, everyone speculates whether it was suicide or murder. Why would Jackson commit suicide? If it was a setup, who would want Jackson to die? And most importantly, what was the motive of the murderer? As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson's secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.

32 review for The Long Shadow on the Stage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bryony S

    A lead actor in a hit TV series mysteriously dies while filming but no one knows how this happened, who did it or why. Was it a co worker? His girlfriend? Or some crazy fan? We are taken on a journey from getting to know Jackson and his work and life with his girlfriend and best friend to reading about his tragic death and the pieces that need to be picked up after. I loved the start with the description of Jackson and his girlfriend and the troubles in their relationship while also demonstrating A lead actor in a hit TV series mysteriously dies while filming but no one knows how this happened, who did it or why. Was it a co worker? His girlfriend? Or some crazy fan? We are taken on a journey from getting to know Jackson and his work and life with his girlfriend and best friend to reading about his tragic death and the pieces that need to be picked up after. I loved the start with the description of Jackson and his girlfriend and the troubles in their relationship while also demonstrating how strong their relationship was. I do think the characters could have shown more personality as I don't feel like we are engulfed in who they are and didn't fall in love with them for this reason. Throughout you read from the different perspectives, but after the murder there are a few chapters of reading from the murderer, and I really did enjoy this trying to find any detail possible as to who it was. Other chapters also included flash backs from Jackson's childhood and again reveals more information we are just wanting to find out and follow through on! One character I didn't enjoy so much was the investigating officer, she lacked in her way of dealing with the investigation, revealing too much information that seemed rooky. On the other hand, revealing this information allowed us, as the reader, to pick up on tip bits of details that really did peek the story up. The office was so strong willed to find out the truth and it does pay off. There were a few inconsistencies in the book, but for a debut book from this author this is very good and well rounded. I loved the ending and do hope the open ended cliff hanger is fulfilled! Loved the writing style, basic and easy to understand which leaves the story and the plot as the main focus.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike Musings Book Reviews

    A well written and most enjoyable book. I never saw the ending coming and I recommend it for a relaxing afternoon read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sheena Fleming

    Suspense and intrigue throughout. A gripping story of murder, drama and secrets. A compelling plot with well established and believable characters It kept me on the edge of my seat right till the end, even that kept me guessing and wanting more. I hope there's more from this author. Suspense and intrigue throughout. A gripping story of murder, drama and secrets. A compelling plot with well established and believable characters It kept me on the edge of my seat right till the end, even that kept me guessing and wanting more. I hope there's more from this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adeel

    The Long Shadow on the Stage by Nicole Heydenburg tells the story of leading actor Jackson Birkman. Jackson is the leading man on "Dispatching David" which is a highly popular and successful detective show. Jackson has a certain amount of popularity among fans due to his performance on the show. He is also happily engaged to his girlfriend Clara who he has been with for around 6 years and who adores him. But things start getting weird for Jackson when out of nowhere he is kidnapped by an unident The Long Shadow on the Stage by Nicole Heydenburg tells the story of leading actor Jackson Birkman. Jackson is the leading man on "Dispatching David" which is a highly popular and successful detective show. Jackson has a certain amount of popularity among fans due to his performance on the show. He is also happily engaged to his girlfriend Clara who he has been with for around 6 years and who adores him. But things start getting weird for Jackson when out of nowhere he is kidnapped by an unidentified assailment. Although he is able to escape, nothing is the same afterwards. However, Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of his tv show. This sends shock waves as everyone begins to speculate whether it was murder or suicide. In charge of finding out is Officer Wilson. Upon investigating the case she slowly behind to realise that Jackson's life wasn't all it seemed and he has been hiding a secret or two. She won't stop until she finds out who the real Jackson Birkman was and how he really died. So yeah this was a really exciting book full of many twists and turns. The author pulls no punches in making you think you know what's going to happen only to turn it on its head. This kept me glued to the story and wanting to find out what exactly happened to Jackson. I'm also a big fan of multiple narratives. Firstly you have Jackson the actor and murder victim. Then you have Edgar who Jackson has known since college, his fiancee Clara, Blaine who is Claire's friend and is also in love with her, and finally Detective Wilson. When done correctly, multiple POV's make it really interesting seeing from the perspective of different characters. Seeing each individual character develop was great as they each individually evolve differently. It allows you to get deep into the psych of each person. In terms of the writing, I really enjoyed the journey feel I got from it. The writing flowed at a good pace. It felt like a game of chess as each player made their move and Detective Wilson tried to stay two steps ahead. I also thought it was great how at the beginning we get an in-depth look into Jackson's life before he is killed off. This allowed you to get a better understanding of who Jackson is as a person and the life he has been living. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the multiple twists. The ending was the best part for me but I can't say why because spoilers lol. If you're looking for a mystery/thriller to read then this is definitely for you. It's also a pretty quick read and only took me a day to finish

  5. 5 out of 5

    Madhu MaBookYard -

    My Rating : 4🌟 . Kindle/ e-Arc/ August2020 #madyardchallengeAug2020 #ARCaugust #advancedaugustreadathon . Thank you to the author Nichole for the review copy! . This book follows our characters: main lead, free spirited, commitment fearing, Jackson; organized, caring, girlfriend, Clara; supportive, always in the shadow bestfriend Edgar; loud mouthed director Gus; and the determined, work oriented Officer Wilson. It's a multiple PoV murder mystery with an interesting ending! . First, I absolutely loved h My Rating : 4🌟 . Kindle/ e-Arc/ August2020 #madyardchallengeAug2020 #ARCaugust #advancedaugustreadathon . Thank you to the author Nichole for the review copy! . This book follows our characters: main lead, free spirited, commitment fearing, Jackson; organized, caring, girlfriend, Clara; supportive, always in the shadow bestfriend Edgar; loud mouthed director Gus; and the determined, work oriented Officer Wilson. It's a multiple PoV murder mystery with an interesting ending! . First, I absolutely loved how the scene was set for the characters and the mystery plot. We get insight about what Jackson's life was like for a few months time, get to k ow his personality and the other characters and then the plot hits you. It was quite different from reading the murder plot at first. There were alternative present and past scenes described as and when certain scene happened, and that helped with the backstory as well. . Second, I really love reading multiple pov because you get to see what's inside everyone's head and it's always fun when it's a murder mystery. It adds to the suspense element of the story and that helped me think. I really loved how each character got their own space so that their characters can be judged or explained. The minimum amount of side characters introduced made the story less cluttered and kept the focus on the main characters we knew. . Now coming to the characters and storyline, I think both Edgar and Jackson had a really good character development. I could see the thought process of both of them clearly and why they did what they did. The flow of the story seemed random at ties, but that didn't bother the story lin at all. My only issue is whn a chapter has a pov heading, suddenly there would be another pov in the same without any indication. It took a second to adjust my thoughts, but it was clear whose side we are seeing in the story. That ending was mostly open ended, and even though you get to see the mystery solved way before, you get invested in the story enough to see it through. . Overall, I really loved how the setting was done to the story, the characters introduced, the multiple pov, the plot execution, and the open ended ending. It made me think about what must happen next. If you are a fan of mystery crime , then definitely pick this one up!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chantelle

    Let me just tell you. GET THE BOOK! if your looking for a book that keeps your interest, page after page, go ahead and grab the book, and purchase it! From the beginning of the book you are captivated to keep on reading. The twists in the plot have you wondering what’s next. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book page after page. You think you have “who done it” and the. Your like no it can’t be, and then your like well damn! lol. I’m not going to spoil this for anyone, but Let me just tell you. GET THE BOOK! if your looking for a book that keeps your interest, page after page, go ahead and grab the book, and purchase it! From the beginning of the book you are captivated to keep on reading. The twists in the plot have you wondering what’s next. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book page after page. You think you have “who done it” and the. Your like no it can’t be, and then your like well damn! lol. I’m not going to spoil this for anyone, but you need to get the book. You won’t regret it! To Nicole, Thank you for writing such a great book, and congratulations on this being your debut! I am now a loyal fan and will purchase all your books to come! Get writing, I’m waiting for the next part! Respectfully, Mrs. Blackburn

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie E. (Bookshelf Adventures)

    Easy to read mystery. Full review here: http://bookshelfadventures.home.blog/... Easy to read mystery. Full review here: http://bookshelfadventures.home.blog/...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather McKenzie

    Wow. I’m going to start by saying this was the first book I have read in a long time for fun and it left me feeling like I wanted a second book immediately. I remember reading books as a kid that were technically considered for young adults because they had such dark context and themes, and the rush of the way I would feel when the story would end reminded me of how I felt when I finished this book. The Long Shadow on the Stage was a quick read, I was able to read it in one day because I couldn’ Wow. I’m going to start by saying this was the first book I have read in a long time for fun and it left me feeling like I wanted a second book immediately. I remember reading books as a kid that were technically considered for young adults because they had such dark context and themes, and the rush of the way I would feel when the story would end reminded me of how I felt when I finished this book. The Long Shadow on the Stage was a quick read, I was able to read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know more about the characters, the constant feeling of suspense kept me on edge, eager to know what was to come. Just when I felt like things were calming down and like I really thought I knew who the characters were, the author would add a twist that would completely throw me off guard. I am left with so many questions, and that is truly one of my favorite components of reading. It is not often that you find a good book you can’t put down, and that you don’t want to end because the story is too good. I loved the modern tones and the smooth writing style as well. The author did a great job at making the characters relatable. The book flowed very well, and the different POVs of characters offered for a lot of interesting perspectives into how events actually happened. 5 stars! Definitely would recommend to anyone who loves to read :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sierra Swan

    What an incredible book! Everyone LOVES a good mystery, especially me. I’m not a reader and lose interest easily in any book I’ve ever tried to read, but I read the first 200 pages in one day and couldn’t take my eyes off the pages. Chapter after chapter, I kept getting sucked in deeper and deeper trying to figure out who the killer was. I am truly impressed with how the author was able to keep my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book! I will recommend this book What an incredible book! Everyone LOVES a good mystery, especially me. I’m not a reader and lose interest easily in any book I’ve ever tried to read, but I read the first 200 pages in one day and couldn’t take my eyes off the pages. Chapter after chapter, I kept getting sucked in deeper and deeper trying to figure out who the killer was. I am truly impressed with how the author was able to keep my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book! I will recommend this book full of mystery and excitement to everyone!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Fantastically written novel full of twists and turns. From the very beginning you’re sucked in and find yourself questioning everything you’ve been told in order to crack the case yourself. Reading from different characters perspectives connects you further into their lives and their world in a way you may not have done if it wasn’t written this way. Nichole is a incredibly talented writer and I can’t wait to read more from her!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric Kent

    It's difficult to write an effective review for a thriller without spoilers! Overall, I recommend buying this book as a quick, breezy thriller you can polish off in a week. There are a few thoughts I'd like to share, though, that may help frame your experience. I think it's critical to know that this is a debut novel for a self-published author. You're not reading the 84th novel from a corporate-backed luminary who has mastered the craft over 30 years. Set expectations accordingly. There were qu It's difficult to write an effective review for a thriller without spoilers! Overall, I recommend buying this book as a quick, breezy thriller you can polish off in a week. There are a few thoughts I'd like to share, though, that may help frame your experience. I think it's critical to know that this is a debut novel for a self-published author. You're not reading the 84th novel from a corporate-backed luminary who has mastered the craft over 30 years. Set expectations accordingly. There were quite a few elements of this book that I really enjoyed: This novel walks the line between mystery and thriller pretty well - you sort of know who the antagonist is, but maybe not exactly. And since the actual main character dies (as disclosed on the jacket...so no spoilers there), the story centers around three other main characters with different chapters told from their respective points-of-view. Switching POV throughout the narration is a powerful technique - as it allows the reader to access inner-monologues to become more intimately familiar with more characters. Dracula and Gone Girl are two examples that come to mind where this technique was used to perfection. Here, we learn enough to know the characters were multi-dimensional and layered...but I felt their development swirled and stayed a little shallow. In other words - I love the technique, and I loved its use here...and there was an opportunity for it to be even more effective. The pacing was terrific during the "action scenes" - especially the criminal activities. I wish there were more of them! I thought the author did a terrific job of building suspense through those engrossing scenes. To be fair, there were also a few aspects I didn't love: There is a severe incident of animal cruelty. It's brief, unexpected, and excruciating to read if you are an animal lover. It's probably necessary in the overall psychology, but unsettling all the same. This isn't a police procedural, so latitude should be given here. However, I had a hard time squaring to the actions of the investigating officers. There were several moments that just didn't seem believable to me; where I didn't think the officer would do or say *that*. Often times, I felt the dialogue served too much as exposition. Sometimes the characters spoke like they didn't have a relationship outside of that scene...so the conversation came across as stilted. Ultimately, I didn't love the book - but I love everything about it. I love emerging authors - especially those who defy the odds to self-publish their debut. I'm excited to see how Nichole grows as an author...and I will absolutely purchase and read her next book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    E.S.

    Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars) Jackson Birkman is an emmy nominated actor who seems to have it all. But, with the final episode of “Dispatching David” approaching, his future is filled with uncertainty. Sure, he has a wonderful fiancée and the best friend a guy could ask for, but with finances tight, there seems to be a constant nagging over his head that he might be on the streets. Unfortunately, Jackson never has a chance to find out after a freak accident on set that results in his murder Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75 / 5 stars) Jackson Birkman is an emmy nominated actor who seems to have it all. But, with the final episode of “Dispatching David” approaching, his future is filled with uncertainty. Sure, he has a wonderful fiancée and the best friend a guy could ask for, but with finances tight, there seems to be a constant nagging over his head that he might be on the streets. Unfortunately, Jackson never has a chance to find out after a freak accident on set that results in his murder. But was it an accident? A suicide? A murder? Will anyone ever know for certain? In a suspenseful, compelling novel that will keep you on your toes, The Long Shadow on the Stage paints a picture of psychopathy, obsession, and uncertainty. The reader is thrown for a loop, with time frames put into question, as well as the reliability of the point-of-view characters. Did Clara do it? Did Edgar? What about Gus? Or was it just a crazed fan? The pieces eventually fall together, but even when the crime is solved, it doesn’t mean justice is served. In a way, to an extent, this is the origin story for a killer. Perhaps the killer first acts out of desperation, but it is clear there is something more sadistic and evil going on backstage. As we delve more into the killer’s mind, we see someone who distorts reality, who takes small things as offense, and might just be a brilliant actor. Has the plotline of Dispatching David taken over the actor’s persona? Have they lost themselves to the show? So many of these questions linger, even as the book ends, and that is the brilliance behind the story: not every question can be answered, and justice is not always served. Yet, the lack of answers to why the murder took place might also be the book’s flaw. It is never clear why the perpetrator kills Jackson: was it for his money, his debts, his fame? Or was there someone else? There’s a hint that possibly the killer is in love with Jackson, or at least in what Jackson is; I do hope the author’s intention is not to frame the killer’s desire for Jackson as a reason to kill him. Perhaps it was just a long game instead, to lay pieces of a puzzle together, to fill some sadistic desire for blood. We might never know, and that’s okay. Overall, the story is suspenseful and leaves the reader hanging on the edge of every word. Will the killer continue? Or will they stop? And is Jackson really that good of a guy? I guess you have to read and find out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Priya

    This is a multi-POV murder mystery revolving around the characters Jackson, Clara and Wilson. Jackson, a celebrity is mysteriously dead on the sets of a TV show during filming. Everyone is confused if it is a murder of suicide. Who would want to kill Jackson? If it was a suicide, what made him take this huge step? And then we see officer Wilson who is hell-bent on finding the truth behind this mystery. The story keeps getting more interesting as the investigation proceeds. This book will keep you This is a multi-POV murder mystery revolving around the characters Jackson, Clara and Wilson. Jackson, a celebrity is mysteriously dead on the sets of a TV show during filming. Everyone is confused if it is a murder of suicide. Who would want to kill Jackson? If it was a suicide, what made him take this huge step? And then we see officer Wilson who is hell-bent on finding the truth behind this mystery. The story keeps getting more interesting as the investigation proceeds. This book will keep you on the edges of your seat throughout the story. You will feel like you are the one who is investigating the crime and Just when you think you have solved the mystery a new character is introduced. Each character is given equal importance and not sidelining the main characters. The narration of the story is really good and the mystery is kept till the end of the story. The story is very captivating and it will keep you guessing throughout the book. If you love crime thriller then you need to definitely pick this book up.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jo Williams

    Thank you to the author and Love Books Tours for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. The author takes the reader through the events leading up to, and following, Jackson Birkman's death by allowing us to watch from the shoulders of the various characters. I enjoyed this voyeuristic touch, as it allowed for some elements of confusion to be added to the mix. I felt like some questions along the way weren't fully answered, but perhaps that was just me being nosey and want Thank you to the author and Love Books Tours for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. The author takes the reader through the events leading up to, and following, Jackson Birkman's death by allowing us to watch from the shoulders of the various characters. I enjoyed this voyeuristic touch, as it allowed for some elements of confusion to be added to the mix. I felt like some questions along the way weren't fully answered, but perhaps that was just me being nosey and wanting to know more about the characters. Speaking of characters, there were a number of twists and deaths I did not see coming! I struggled with a particularly cruel event and left the book alone for a few days so it wasn't so fresh in my mind. There were lots of red herrings along the way, and the perpetrator ended up being who I'd initially suspected but discounted as more clues were discovered. A whodunnit for summer, set in a landscape of envy, excess and love.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    I read this because of a RAVE review by a Goodreads friend Chantelle, and at first it was highly enjoyable. The plot was clever and the characters believable. The writing was rough, though, and that would have cost the book a couple of stars---word usage, spelling ("gage" instead of "gauge", for example), etc. Especially annoying were the repeated uses of the word "anyways", as in "he was charismatic and handsome, so people were drawn to him anyways." It is VERY difficult for me to believe the a I read this because of a RAVE review by a Goodreads friend Chantelle, and at first it was highly enjoyable. The plot was clever and the characters believable. The writing was rough, though, and that would have cost the book a couple of stars---word usage, spelling ("gage" instead of "gauge", for example), etc. Especially annoying were the repeated uses of the word "anyways", as in "he was charismatic and handsome, so people were drawn to him anyways." It is VERY difficult for me to believe the author has a degree in English! However, I am VERY sorry I read it. There is a depraved, horrific instance of animal cruelty that has haunted me since I read it. IF YOU LIKE ANIMALS OR ARE IN THE LEAST BIT SQUEAMISH, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU AVOID THIS BOOK. Chantelle, you steered me wrong!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becca Harris

    I loved the concept and the execution made it such a wonderful read

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zedekiah Heydenburg

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bruce S. Wuollet

  21. 4 out of 5

    A.C. Whitt

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Opperman

  26. 5 out of 5

    stephanie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nisha Joshi (in the midst of an Austengasm)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natty

  31. 5 out of 5

    Valena D'Angelis

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sara

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