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Sharlah Webb thinks her luck is finally turning, until her boyfriend, Brian, is jailed on drug charges. Now a hurricane is bearing down, she’s broke, and Brian’s secrets have put them both in danger. Can she trust Brian? The police? Sharlah begins her own search for answers, launching a mystery that will take years to unravel. Identity: A novel of suspense, love and finding your true self.

224 pages, ebook

First published March 11, 2013

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About the author

Shawna Seed

2 books22 followers
Shawna Seed is a writer and editor whose career has taken her to both coasts and several spots in between, working for organizations that include The Dallas Morning News and ESPN.com.

Originally from Kansas, she's lived in seven states and every continental U.S. time zone. She and her husband now call Dallas home.

When she's not writing, her interests include cooking, travel and watching college basketball. (Go Jayhawks!)

Her books include Identity, a suspense novel set on the Texas Gulf Coast, and Not in Time, a novel about looted art.

Visit her website, where the goodies include her blog and discussion guides.

Like Shawna's fan page on Facebook

Visit Shawna's author page on Amazon

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5 stars
43 (50%)
4 stars
29 (33%)
3 stars
11 (12%)
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3 (3%)
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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,028 reviews2,628 followers
November 14, 2018
Sharlah Webb can’t believe her kind, caring and gentle boyfriend had been arrested on drugs charges. He’d never used drugs – she would know – he had always been anti-drugs. But now he was in the cells, awaiting trial with no chance of bail. And when Sharlah’s good friend Missy was murdered with Sharlah discovering her body; then Missy’s boyfriend Cliff’s body was found, Sharlah knew something terrible had happened.

When she visited Brian in jail and he urged her to get away safely in the face of the hurricane, she told him she’d be back. The rush of people evacuating made it difficult. The rain was relentless. And then her car broke down…

Twenty years later and Brian – and the police – had been unable to find any trace of Sharlah. He knew the police assumed she was dead; in the back of his mind he felt there could be no other answer. He still missed her dreadfully.

Identity is Shawna Seed’s debut novel, and it has been languishing on my kindle since 2013. I read it for a challenge and was surprised and pleased at how good it is. An intriguing plot which had me guessing, Identity had plenty of twists and red herrings to keep me interested. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Shawna Seed.
Author 2 books22 followers
January 4, 2014
Among the things that inspired Identity:

A love of mysteries that dates to reading Encyclopedia Brown and Trixie Belden as a kid

Experiencing Hurricane Alicia on a visit to Houston in 1983

Living in Florida right after I graduated from college

Attending class reunions and connecting with former classmates on Facebook, which made me realize how little our lives as adults can resemble our high school identities

48 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2013
Ranks with the best of those can't-put-it-down thrillers. It's a propulsive yarn, compete with murders, drug deals, corrupt cops and an irresistible couple at its center. And all that while a hurricane crashes down on the Texas Gulf Coast. A must read.
Profile Image for Rita Wright.
2 reviews
March 16, 2013
Suspense books so often depend on a main character that has special skills or military training to save the potential victims from "the bad guys". I loved that this book takes a couple of kids who have every reason to fail and yet through their courage and persistence you just hope they will pull through. The organization of the book with three characters telling the story over a 20 year timespan was a great device for keeping the reader engaged in solving the problems of a drug bust coupled with suspicious deaths interrupting the blooming romance of two young adults. The Texas setting allows for a bit of grit as the young woman faces life coming out of poverty and abuse and the young man faces the challenges of disappointing well-heeled parents due to learning disabilities that don't let him quite fit in with the high rolling Texas business community. With the story line running from the mid-70's to the late 90's the plot uses the changes in technology to help turn secrets into the tools to bring about the conclusion. It's a fast read, great for an afternoon of spring rain or that last snow of the season.
Profile Image for ML.
426 reviews9 followers
March 17, 2013
Described on the cover as "a novel of suspense," this novel is just that and so much more: an insightful look at the inner workings of the two main characters, Sharlah and Brian, whom I felt I knew personally by the novel's end. The author's crisp yet flowing style creates a real page-turner, and having the individual characters tell the story in segments over a 20-year timespan is a great device for keeping the reader engaged.

I love books that I can't stop thinking about after I've read them, and this is definitely one of those books. I simply did not want the story to end, and I am definitely looking forward to more books from this author (even a sequel, perhaps?). A great read on all counts!
Profile Image for Pam.
22 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2013
This is one of those books that you can't put down once you started reading it.
Profile Image for Sherry Fundin.
1,768 reviews117 followers
July 16, 2013
Brian, Sharlah's boyfriend, had been busted for drugs. Sharlah didn't believe it. He was one of the good guys. He had been acting strange but....

Three days later Sharlah was sitting in the back of a cop car again. She had gone to visit her friend, Missy, only to find her lying on the floor in the kitchen.

The detective asked if Brian's and Missy's death could be related.

At work at the diner, Sharlah searched the newspaper for anything more about Missy. The headlines were all about the low pressure cell, tropical storm Aileen. It was upgraded to a Category One hurricane.

Sharlah prepared to hunker down, because she had no intention of leave. She looked out the window and watched the trees blowing. When the bullet came through the window she thought it was something from the storm.

Who should appear at the door, but Zak, the detective. He seemed to show up at just the right time. Was that a coincidence or was something else going on?

As the storm worsened, Brian told Sharlah to grab her valuables and go. She talked to Kevin in Houston. He told her to come there. She loaded up and left.

It had been four years and Brian found it hard to believe that Sharlah had just walked away, never to be seen again. It was like hurricane picked her up and took her away.

Ten years later, still no answers. But Brian could not forget. He thought of Sharlah every day.

5 STARS - Would Buy It For Them (lol)

Shawna Seed approached me and asked if I would read and review Identity. When I read the blurb she sent me, I jumped right on it. The book spoke to me before I even opened my Kindle to begin reading. I just want to take a moment and apologize to Shawna for taking so long to write the review.

Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Read it straight through. All the time I'm reading, I keep hoping I know the ending. I have come to care about the characters and want good things for them. I want to have a happy ending.

It was like a TV show - it's this guy, no that guy, no too obvious, it's that guy. The mystery and suspense I felt, while trying to figure out who did it, kept me on the edge of my seat. I was leaning forward and devouring the words like the M & M candies I love.

This book is full of betrayal, love, sacrifice and self centered cruelty. It has every element for a successful and amazing novel. Great story and writing. I love and hate the characters and it has a mega hit ending.

The ending? Tears in my eyes and then it was over. It took me five plus hours, but I just could not quit.

A little bit of humor: "A disease called lackanookie."

If this is her debut novel, I can hardly wait to see what Shawna Seed comes up with next. I am constantly amazed at the quality of writing I have discovered since joining Goodreads and blogging. I have found Indie authors that never would have been published if they didn't go through the tremendous effort of figuring it out for themselves. Kudos to these hardworking, passionate and dedicated individuals.
Profile Image for Sarah.
80 reviews
March 24, 2013
As others have said, once I started Identity, I couldn't put it down, and I still find myself thinking about Sharlah and Brian.

What I particularly liked was Sharlah's resiliency and resourcefulness in spite of sometimes overwhelming odds. The girl is a survivor of the best kind.

Pick this one up soon. You won't be sorry. I can't wait to see Ms. Seed's next novel!
Profile Image for Erica Ryan.
18 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2013
I definitely couldn't put this book down once I started! I really liked the author's ability to divulge important clues slowly while keeping the pace of the plot moving quickly. I loved Part One especially. I kind of wish the whole story could have continued along those lines, but then it would have been a different book.
March 27, 2013
I was drawn into the story from the first page. A quick read. I would've been interested in another section devoted to Kevin, but I appreciate the mystery left in him. Very enjoyable, like a "hamburger" type of a book.
Profile Image for Bobbi .
69 reviews10 followers
May 26, 2013
Great, suspenseful mystery read with well-drawn characters and great pacing. Moves quickly. I especially appreciated that along with the necessary unsavory figures were some characters you wouldn't mind meeting.
Profile Image for Rodger Payne.
Author 2 books2 followers
December 12, 2020
Full disclosure: I met Shawna Seed in the early 1980s when we were both students at the University of Kansas. I had two roommates back in those days -- one had gone to high school with her and the other became her boyfriend. Over the decades we've occasionally communicated electronically. We follow one another on twitter.

In any case, I resolved this year to read some works of fiction by people I know personally and this was certainly worth the effort. Shawna writes exceptionally well, her characters are very well-developed, and the plot is both plausible and interesting. I was frustrated a couple of times when main character Sharlah Webb didn't pick up on disturbing clues about other characters or situations, but I also know this was intentional to reflect Sharlah's age and inexperience. If Goodreads allowed me to score this as 4.5 that's probably where I'd put it, but I decided to round up rather than down. It's truly very good and worth your attention. I recommended it to my spouse and passed along my personal copy.
Profile Image for Rebecca Kenny.
73 reviews
June 19, 2018
The story of a girl who gets caught up unknowingly in her boyfriend's drug running and his arrest.

It was an easy, page turning read that I enjoyed. The only disappointment was the quick passage of time suddenly and the cliffhanger ending!
209 reviews2 followers
October 13, 2018
My second book by Shawna Seed. It is well written, captivating, interesting and fun. Hurry up with the next book!
233 reviews1 follower
August 23, 2022
Well done page turner, set in Texas
The author lives in Dallas and writes for the Dallas Morning News.
Profile Image for Paula LaRocque.
Author 7 books17 followers
May 30, 2013
The thing I like best about Shawna Seed’s debut novel, Identity, is its readability—its conversational, concise, and quick-moving prose. Seed’s mystery is a page-turner as much because of its style as because of its plot.

It’s impossible not to care about the fortunes of its two main characters, waitress Sharlah Webb and her hapless boyfriend, Brian Lowry. They’re a likeable pair, albeit both with a certain naïve innocence and unmet ambitions who so far have been unable to get a firm grip on life. Or on themselves.

Identity opens with Brian’s drug arrest—which bewilders Sharlah and kicks off the book’s action. Is Brian the man Sharlah loved and thought she knew? Whom can she trust now? Her too-few friends? Brian’s censorious family, who think she’s to blame for Brian’s trouble?

That trouble gets worse. Sharlah promptly discovers the body of a close friend, and the story is unleashed: drugs, murder, good/bad cops, an attempt on Sharlah’s life, a hidden stash of money . . . . And as if all that weren’t enough, a hurricane is on the way.

Sharlah, a character with a gritty background, develops some grit of her own during the course of Identity. And Brian reveals surprising substance as well through the book’s middle section. (The story is told in three parts and over a couple of decades—an effective organizational device that offers more creative latitude and heightens the book’s mystery.)

Shawna Seed is skilled at placing clues early, when her narrative is delivering backstory and seems most relaxed. She doesn’t make the mistake of some new mystery writers of blowing the trumpet when a clue appears. (So pay attention to those opening chapters!)

Identity is not only a readable whodunit, it’s also a story about acquiring a sense of purpose and self—or discovering the purpose and self you already have.

—Paula LaRocque, author of The Book on Writing
and Chalk Line, a Ben Gallagher Mystery
Profile Image for Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews.
2,321 reviews120 followers
July 8, 2013
I enjoyed this book and thought the overall story was good, there were just a few editing type things that could have made the flow better. At one point the story switches from Sharlah's point of view to Brian's. At this point it is 4 years later but it takes a few pages to realize that it is 4 years later. Then it switches to another person's point of view and that is about 10 years later. Also the chapters were really really long.

Aside from those 2 things, I thought the book was written very well and I was able to feel the emotions of the characters.

The story does have something of an abrupt ending and it leaves you wondering how some things turn out. That can either be a really good thing or a bad thing, guess it depends on how you like the story to end. I think it does leave it open for a sequel should the author choose to follow up and let us know how certain situations were resolved.
Profile Image for Kate.
257 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2014

This book was a fast read. I admit I wanted to find out what happened. The writing was only OK. The characters were pretty simplistic, almost flat, really. The main female character especially irritated me - she was simultaneously clueless and yet she managed to fake her identity and get an MS in library science? And then being SO worried about money laundering...it was contrived. End was unclear, maybe a second book will be written?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Linda.
109 reviews
March 30, 2014
There is a drug bust, a couple of murders, a hurricane and messy family relationships and Sharlah and Brian are right in the middle of it all. They each have their own personal problems that would often be a recipe for individual failure; but, you are pulling for them and want them to overcome everything together.
Profile Image for Talya.
22 reviews2 followers
May 8, 2015
I picked up this book after enjoying another book by shawna seed, I couldn't put that one down either. A well done suspenseful mystery that spans two decades. I especially liked that this novel took place partially in Houston which allowed me to visualize the book even more vividly than normal. I hope to read more by this author when she writes them in the future.
7 reviews
August 29, 2015
I could not put the book down once I started. Though it's that good there were two areas that kept me pondering in that who shot Sharlar and why? Why was Cliff killed. Did I miss the answers in the book, and if I did then it must be rather trivial.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Deanna Dean.
8 reviews
January 1, 2014
I loved this book! Very quick, but engaging story. I look forward to reading more by Shawna Seed.
2 reviews
January 15, 2014
Barbara W

Identity is a fun read. I loved the characters and the plot held my interest all the way. I was sorry to see it end.
Profile Image for Rbjumbob.
250 reviews11 followers
January 24, 2014
This is a well written story. Ms. Seed moves the story along, Intriguing I kept coming back to see what was going to happen. On the negative side I thought this book was very depressing.
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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