Shades is a gripping horror of the more psychological kind, in that it doesn't rely on shock and gore to overawe the reader.
No, atmospheric and richly composed, it lets the tension and the fear creep up on the reader as the dark story unfolds, just as the full terror sweeps up the characters in its hideous embrace.
Those characters are, for the most part, an unseemly bunch; what do you expect of self-serving and ambitious corporate execs, right? Indeed, but surprises are in store, and they are not all beyond redemption, but whether that can save any of them is entirely another matter.
It's a weekend away at an isolated summer house, an excuse for drinking and point-scoring, and enduring the cruel games of the Rainier Corp's boss, Jason. But there's no 'I' on this team -- as Jason makes clear, there is no team.
The weekend will prove just how true this proves, and it goes far beyond the mundane jostling for promotion.
For Mark and Nathan, of a different ilk to their peers, the weekend is supposed to be one final agony to endure before cutting loose from Rainier Corp and its sociopathic boss, but as they'll discover, there's more to Rainier than meets the eye -- and they won't be forgetting this weekend in a hurry.
Douglas has written a blinder; something a little different from the epic fantasy works that seem to be (to this reader, at least) her more better known fare, but it's written with the same rich detail, depth of character, and confident aplomb.
If there's one slight snag, it's the scattering of proofing errors that give a slight tarnish to the usual slick presentation encountered in the author's other other works. But they are, it must be said, slight and they certainly don't detract from the reading experience.