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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review - Where Shadows Dance

Summer is finally here!  Oh happy day.  The bookmark swap is gathering participants steadily.  Don't wait, sign up now.  May 31 will be the last day to join the swap.

Today I review a fantastic historical suspense novel that I am excited to have discovered.  If you aren't already a fan of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, it isn't too late to start.

Author:  C.S. Harris

Copyright:  March 2011 (NAL Hardcover) 352 pgs

Series:  6th in Sebastian St. Cyr Regency Mysteries

Sensuality:  Some strong sensual imagery at the end, a few fight scenes

Mystery Sub-genre:  Historical Suspense

Main Character:  Sebastian St. Cyr (Viscount Devlin) a veteran of the Peninsula wars with Napoleon and a nobleman with an ingrained sense of justice.

Setting:  1812 London England

Obtained Through:  Publisher for an honest review

Sebastian's friend, Paul Gibson, is an anatomist who gets dead bodies to learn from as a surgeon.  He specifically wants the body of a young man who was reported to die from a heart problem so he can further his knowledge of such problems.  What he finds is the man died of a knife to the back of the neck.  Mr. Gibson immediately goes to Sebastian who is known to solve such murders.  The young man worked at the foreign office and dealt with many international representatives which opens a world of political strategies and calculated moves. 

This is how the story begins and it is full of suspense and intrigue.  There are two women important in his life: Kat Boleyn, an actress and love of his youth and Hero Jarvis, the intelligent and fearless activist daughter of Sebastian's powerful enemy Lord Jarvis.  Fans have apparently formed Team Kat and Team Hero factions rooting for their favorite with sentiments running hot.  

This is my first book in the series but it is obvious how easy it is to become a big fan and jump into the debate.  Dare I say seemed that Hero is more of a capable woman to match Sebastian's lifestyle and interests.

There are many strong characters from Paul Gibson, Hero's father, Sebastian's father, even the police constable.  They all make an impression in their own ways.  

This book was a wonderful surprise for I did not expect the level of suspense that the story displays.  I felt the plot had just enough twists without being too much.  There are several murders with an impressive line up of international suspects.  I had figured out the killer(s) but couldn't be positive and the motive was wrapped in international maneuvering.  I was impressed by the level of polish I felt the plot and the characters displayed.  The historical details are lush and vivid topping off the whole.

The only drawback is some leaps of believability.  Sebastian is a Regency hero of almost modern stature (one of the book trailers says "think Mr. Darcy with a James Bond edge") with uncanny hearing ability and Hero Jarvis proves herself nearly as lethal in a significant scene where her life is threatened -  but she doesn't have any post traumatic stress at all.  I can't get too worked up about these since the rest is so well written. 

There are several nail-biting scenes, but the climatic confrontation with the killer is first rate.  The wrap up was equally as superb.  The biggest problem I have is now I just have to get the prior five books to read. Is there such a category as historical suspense?

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