Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Death Dancer by Tara Lain

A tattooed dancer and a by-the-book detective dance with death in the ego-fueled halls of ballet.

Bad boy of ballet Valentin ‘Val’ Aalto stands poised on the verge of huge success—except for one big obstacle. Influential lead dancer Harry Hardesty hates Val and cheats him out of the lead in Romeo and Juliet.

When Hardesty winds up dead, Val looks like a prime suspect—and gets thrown under the detailed and methodical inspection of the handsome NY detective with the stick up his butt, Andrew Preston. At first, Preston believes Hardesty may be the victim of the chilling Dancer Killer who’s struck three victims, but evidence stacks up against Val.

Still, Andrew can’t seem to keep his hands off his suspect and when the Dancer Killer starts stalking Val, Andrew is forced to choose between his dedication to a job he loves and his growing passion for his beautiful dancer. Together Val and Andrew discover that chaos can be beautiful, one should choose desserts wisely, and love can even trump death in the rehearsal halls of ballet.

Reader Advisory: This book contains descriptions of murder scenes, brief allusions to past child abuse and a scene of violence.

Add to Goodreads

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Pride Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Val, an aspiring principal dancer, is a wonderful character and I thoroughly enjoyed the intensity and drama as the police chase a serial killer targeting the dancers in his company. Skinny, catty, and bitchy, the dancers and management at NYBT reinforce every stereotype about the world of professional dancing. I loved the complex politics and complicated relationships in this story.

I enjoyed the suspense, especially as Val finds himself being pursued by the killer. Frustratingly, the killer’s identity was disappointingly predictable from the halfway point (or possibly even earlier) and I found Val’s blindness to obvious clues frustrating after a while. The ending is exciting but I hated the predictability of it.

The romance in this story is between Val and Andrew, the lead detective assigned to the murders. This isn’t my favourite Tara Lain paring – the instant attraction – casual dating – happily ever after felt very simplistic and a little too pragmatic. The passion and romance I would expect from a famous artist was missing in this relationship. I enjoyed the tentative lack of trust between these two men as Val becomes a prime suspect at one point, but I still needed more passion to fully believe in Val and Andrew.

I also wanted to know Andrew better. In some ways, his partner has more character and unique qualities than he does. Andrew reads as a dedicated, bearish cop but the story is told mostly from Val’s perspective and I didn’t feel I completely knew Andrew.

The ballet is the star of this story and I really loved both the dancing and the dancers.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/M Mystery
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Val is a dancer who could be the next big thing. However, there is one tiny problem... Harold. Harold is a mean man who is petty and horrible, a semi-OK dancer, but he comes with money.

Val is trying to hold everything he's worked so hard for, together, but with things falling apart around him, Val is weighing his options.

Dancers are being hurt all around and when the dancers that are being stalked and murdered hit close to the home of Val, he has to wonder if he's next.

Andrew is trying his best to figure out why dancers are being targeted. He seems dedicated, but at the same time, he's conflicted because he's drawn to Val. I didn't really like Andrew's character – he was wishy-washy and hard to relate to. I didn't really feel that you got to know him – rather, he was one dimensional.

The murder mystery is predictable, which was unfortunate. I knew who the "bad guy" was less than halfway through the story and the fact that it took so long to "figure it out" was both frustrating and kind of funny.

Overall, this was just an okay book for me. The predictability and the lack of heat between the main characters were turnoffs. I liked the mystery aspect and this book had a lot of potential, I just didn't feel that it delivered.

This is the second book in the series – and whilst it can be read as a standalone, I would recommend that you read them in order as they are great stories, which link.

The mixing of a murder mystery, and a hot and steamy romance works very well – in fact, there were times where I had to stop reading, in case things went the wrong way! I guessed one of the big reveals, but that actually made it more tense, waiting for the shoe to drop! It was very subtle how the leads from book one entered the story, and ended up being key to certain plot lines.

Being immersed into the world of ballet dancers and their diva behaviour was fascinating and fun. Coupled with a straight-laced but gay policeman who is captivated by Val, the level of drama and chemistry is extremely engaging. The dynamics between the two men, and the realisations of how they could look forward and move beyond their pasts, all added to the hotness.

Highly recommended if you like your romance hot and to be couched in a good mystery/police procedural.

Also Available in the Dangerous Dancers Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Pride Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out our Golden Dancer post.

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice and new experiences, Tara says that on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Connect with Tara

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Death Dancer (Dangerous Dancers #2) by Tara Lain to read and review.

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