Marty's Shadow, by John Heffernan

They’re not just tricks of light and dark. You hear them. You smell them, taste them, feel them. They seep right into you. They become you.

Marty and his brother Jack spend a lot of time on their own. Their father follows the work he can get, and comes home on weekends and occasionally during the week. Their mother has been gone seven years and although she writes sometimes, she isn’t coming back. Marty is haunted by memories of the time before his mother left. Their house was visited at night by the mysterious shadow man. For years Marty has kept the shadows at bay, but now they are haunting his dreams, even when he’s wide awake.

Marty’s only friends are his dog, Gwab and a girl, Nariah. But Nariah has troubles of her own. Labelled a ‘Paki’, she’s subject to whispered jibes at school. And at her family’s home, the local store, a series of small incidents is taking its toll. Marty’s efforts to help and defend her are welcome, but could lead him into trouble.

Marty’s Shadow is a heart-wrenching tale of facing demons, and fighting against the odds. Marty is, on the surface, a tough kid who is bringing himself and his younger brother up in spite of parental neglect and community disinterest. But as the story unfolds, Marty’s insecurities become increasingly apparent, as he has to confront the realities of both his present and his past. This is not a feel-good novel, but it is, in its own way, beautiful and is also deeply absorbing.

Suitable for ages 12 and up.

Marty’s Shadow, by John Heffernan
Omnibus, 2007