Shadow Life

Nov. 18 2022
Michael B. Decter
New Publication


A Novel

By Michael Decter


A Taut, Searching Story of Guilt, Family Secrets & New Love

For fans of John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom series, Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy and Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides comes Shadow Life – the debut novel from Michael Decter, set for release with Cormorant Books on August 20, 2022.

The first book in a planned trilogy, Shadow Life introduces readers to Matthew Rice – a successful sixty-year-old Toronto politico who finds himself suddenly unmoored after serving jury duty on a devastating child murder case. Retreating to his cottage on an isolated island in Georgian Bay after being placed on medical leave, Matthew spends his evenings nursing scotch and old memories as he tries to evade the encroaching nightmares borne of the trial.

It is not long before Matthew’s trips down memory lane lead to Pandora’s box in the form of a missing birth certificate, and the ​​thread of his life begins to unravel more spectacularly with the discovery of a long-buried family secret.

As Matthew’s desire to uncover the identity of his real birth mother sparks an investigation that will take him from Sydney to Boston to Dublin and back to the rocky shores of Quarry Island, readers are drawn into Shadow Life’s atmospheric and delicate web where memory and myth will ultimately collide to reveal self-discovery and new love.

“Each of us is far more vulnerable, far more easily unravelled than we believe,” shares the author on his inspiration to write Shadow Life. “Our life journey to knowledge is also a journey of discovery of from where we have truly come.”

To promote the August 2022 release of Shadow Life, Michael Decter has select availability for interviews and byline article commissions and can speak to a range of topics, including:

  • The experience of serving as a juror on a murder trial – even in courtroom dramas, we rarely catch more than a passing glimpse of the citizens called upon to make hugely consequential decisions or consider the lasting effects of participating in such a trial, particularly those that involve gruesome crimes
  • How tenuous one’s ‘identity’ truly is, and the role our memories and personal mythologies play in shaping our sense of self
  • Drawing inspiration from the majestic and unforgiving landscape of Georgian Bay, where he has had a home for the past 22 years
  • His protagonist’s “prepper” tendencies – what would he stockpile if waiting out the end of the world on an isolated island?
  • Why, after decades of building a name for himself in the highly competitive worlds of finance, government and healthcare, he is pursuing a new path as a debut novelist

About the Author:

A Harvard University graduate, MICHAEL DECTER was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2017 and the Order of Canada in 2004. He has written three non-fiction books on healthcare, three on investment, a memoir, and Tales from the Back Room, a collection of political stories. Decter has also written about health and healthcare in the Literary Review of Canada, contributed OpEd pieces to the Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail, and for several years he wrote a column for Osprey Media.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, MB, Decter now lives in Toronto, ON. He is a dual citizen of Canada and Ireland.

Shadow Life is his first novel.


About the Book:

  • Genre: Fiction > Literary > Family Life
  • ISBN [hardcover]: 978-1-77086-667-6
  • Price: $24.95
  • Release date: September 15, 2022
  • Distribution: University of Toronto Press (Canada); Orca Book Publishers (U.S.)
  • Pre-order links: