Author: Julie Garwood ISBN: 0345453867 1/2007 SUSPENSE Publisher: BALLANTINE
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
This is my first experience with Julie Garwood's contemporary suspense side of her writing, and I must say I'm a bit disappointed. The emotion, passion and dimensionality that I loved so much in her characters from her past historicals seems to be missing here. I'm almost tempted to believe that the "niceness" of Julie Garwood crosses over into the lives of her characters in SHADOW DANCE: the villains aren't really that villainous, no matter how bad Garwood tries to write them, and the townspeople, who are an eclectic group of characters, are just so "nice" beneath it all, that you immediately forgive them for any bit of mischief they've done or any hidden secrets about them that are finally revealed in the end. They're all just too doggone nice.
I'm also disappointed in both the characters of Noah and Jordan. They're personalities are mostly flat—that is, until the bedroom scene comes in, where they suddenly demonstrate a little flair of passion and display some emotional depth. Noah is supposed to be an über sexy hunk (he's a descendent of Cole Claybourne, by the way, which I thought was a rather neat reference), but I just didn't feel any of that sexiness emanating from the pages. There's just not a lot of romance between Noah and Jordan, and very little emotion.
The plot revolves around Jordan's trip to visit a strange and eccentric professor in Texas who supposedly has the all the historical background of an ages old feud between the Mackennas and the Buchanans and a missing treasure. While there, she's framed for the murder of a man found dead in the trunk of her car. Enter her FBI brother, Nick, and his agent best friend, Noah, to get her out of the fix. What ensues is a lot interaction with the bumbling and inept local law officials, and as the body count starts to rise, the search is on to find out who and why someone is out to get Jordan Buchanan. It's really not all that suspenseful, and definitely not edge-of-your-seat reading. It's sort of a "nice" version of suspense with just an added dash of pretty tame romance.
SHADOW DANCE isn't the best of Julie Garwood that I've read. As a matter-of-fact, it's rather quite average. But it is Julie Garwood, with her unique style of prose, and she does portray life in a small, close-knit town pretty accurately. The fact that the pacing is steady, along with those two things raises its status to a 4 Rose Read for me.
Bottom line: If you're looking for a book that features a "nicer" kind of romantic suspense, with not a whole lot of emotion and romance, then SHADOW DANCE is just what you might be looking for.