The story follows Eugene, a teenager in 1980s America abandoned by his father and with a less than model mother. His reasonably normal little sister is the only real plus in his life until Penelope Ember, a rather tasty and well-heeled woman, takes an interest in Eugene. Desperate to earn Penelope's approval, Ace (as she calls him) works hard to improve himself only to discover… that the next few lines would give the plot away.
The author does a good job of capturing that certain period of a young man's life when he's both desperate to please but can flip that need to bitterness in an instant. However, my favourite parts of the book were when there was frenzied violence, which were very well-written and enjoyable.
Generally, the quality of the writing was very good and the story was immersive. Although it's not the longest book in the world I did read it in a couple of days and often found myself reading for longer than I'd intended.
Downsides are harder to think of. It is, I believe, planned to be the first part of a 12 part series, and as a rule I prefer short series and stand-alones. However, I certainly plan on giving book 2 a look.
It's slightly on the short side, but to be honest I'd rather read a somewhat short book than one padded with waffle.
So, if you like real-world fantasy then you may well enjoy giving House of Shadows a crack.