Shadow Dance
Susan Andersen
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Shadow Dance

Susan Andersen
376 pages
September 2002 (re-release)
rated 2 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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There’s a predator loose on the glitzy, glamorous streets of Las Vegas. He’s been dubbed the "Showgirl Slayer," since his victims are always beautiful blonde showgirls. Because of his expertise with serial killings, Lieutenant Tristan MacLaughlin from the Seattle Police department is temporarily transferred to Vegas to spearhead a task force to capture this brutal killer. The day Tristan arrives in Vegas, dancer Amanda Rose Charles has to perform the distasteful duty of identifying the Slayer's latest victim, her friend and colleague. From the first instant they meet, Tristan and Amanda are equally attracted and intimidated by the other.

Tristan moves into the empty apartment in the triplex owned by Amanda for the duration of the case. Things are never easy with them, especially since Amanda’s man-eating friend Rhonda has her sights set on Tristan. The killer’s also on the prowl, and since he now feels that he is in direct competition with Tristan, he becomes more and more daring and brutal. Then, one night, Amanda starts receiving phone calls and flowers from a mysterious admirer -- and they do not stop. Is he just one of the thousands attracted to this glamorous showgirl, or is Amanda the next target of the Showgirl Slayer? Tristan has to race against time to save Amanda. But will these two stubborn people ever concede their feelings for each other?

Shadow Dance was Susan Andersen’s very first book, released in 1989. It has been polished up a bit and re-released with a new cover. Andersen has tried to create a suspenseful plot set against the glitzy backdrop of Las Vegas, and in 1989 she did succeed. But since then, readers have been exposed to a vast variety of such stories, many greatly superior to this book. So this re-release will mainly please the fans of this author, and not the reading public in general. The characterizations also feel clichéd. Amanda is the typical "ice maiden" while Tristan, a transplanted Scot with a thick brogue, is the typical tall, dark and brooding loner-type alpha male. They have a sort of love-hate relationship going on, interesting at first but becoming tedious as it lasts until story's end. And since the identity of the serial killer becomes obvious very early into the story, there is very little suspense left in the book. All in all, it’s a mediocre read.

© 2002 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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