I enjoyed reading SHADES OF THE PAST very much. The author's writing style, the subject matter, and the characters themselves have a lot to do with that.
Ms. Hecht has a talent for making the reader (or at least this reader) see the scene as if the reader was right there with the characters and feel what they are feeling. I like that about any of the reading I do and she certainly does it with flair.
SHADES OF THE PAST, specifically, I think showed a little bit of what EMS workers and other first responders go through, especially when the death of a co-worker or partner is involved. Shades showed a glimpse of this brilliantly.
Kiefer, Ray, Chauncey, Brody, their friends and co-workers, together and alone, their interactions, and what goes on in their heads (Kiefer and Ray specifically) can grab the reader by the heartstrings and also make them laugh as well. Ms. Hecht has shown, to me at least, a nice balance between the "heavy" stuff and humor.
All paramedics know how dangerous their job can be. Kiefer just never expected to experience that truth so early in his career when he lost his cousin and job partner to a tragic accident. Now floundering in both life and his role as a paramedic, Kiefer is in jeopardy of losing everything he worked so hard for.
In all his years as a Pontiac City Fireman, Ray’s seen a lot of hurt. Nothing affected him more than the day he found Kiefer, emotionally shattered and near catatonic. Ever since then, Ray hasn’t been able to get the paramedic out of his mind. When he finds out that Kiefer is making a cross-country trip to return some items to his deceased cousin’s mother, Ray jumps at the chance to go along. What Ray doesn’t expect is to fall for the medic. Will he be able to help Kiefer heal enough to give them a chance or will Ray suffer his own heartbreak?