REVIEW BY: Christie
TITLE: Death Dancer
SERIES: Dangerous Dancers, Book 2
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing
LENGTH: 228 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2016
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.
Okay, so after reading the blurb for Death Dancer, it was clear to me that I had to get my hands on the book. Yeah, that was definitely a great decision, because Tara Lain totally knocked it out of the park with this book. Honestly, Death Dancer was fantastic!
Valentin Aalto has been training in ballet since he was three years old. Now, in his twenties, Val is one of the principles of NYBT (New York Ballet Theater) and trying as hard as he can to work his way up the ladder. Only one thing (or person, to be more exact) is holding him back now: Harry Hardesty. Harry is an arrogant, cocksure man with an ego bigger than Kanye West’s, and less talent in his entire being that Val has in his pinky finger. Harry even threatened to leave the NYBT if Val was cast as the principal male lead in Romeo and Juliet. Which basically put a halt to whatever machinations the higher ups had in regards to how they envisioned the play to go.
Valentin desperately wants the part in Romeo and Juliet, but gets ousted by little more than a tantrum and empty threats made by his rival, Harry. Tho the demands were outlandish, the upper echelon of the powers that be at NYBT caved and acquiesced to Harry’s ridiculous complaints and threats. So Val was cast as Tybalt, while Harry himself was cast as… Yep, you guessed it: Romeo. Which caused confusion and anger with most of the NYBT students. Not that it took much for everyone to rally around Val; he was well liked, as opposed to the barely tolerated Harry Hardesty.
Well, turns out there are all these murders going on within the general vicinity of the theater, and the victims are male dancers. The last of which belonged to NYBT. Queue Detective Andrew Preston. Sexy, tall, built Detective Andrew Preston, by the way. And, Val can’t keep his eyes off the man. It is instant attraction between the detective and ballet dancer, but the two men try to ignore it for the sake of the investigation. However, it is very hard to ignore their attraction when they keep bumping into each other. So, they start seeing each other in secret. Then, Harry is murdered and Val is one of their main suspects. I mean, c’mon… Harry is dead, Val was openly feuding with Harry before his untimely demise, and now everything Val wanted is finally coming his way. The NYBT needs a principle to step in and dance all of Harry’s roles, and of course Val is asked to be said dancer. It certainly doesn’t look good for Val.
Is Val the serial killer that the police are trying to find? Can Val and Andrew keep their relationship a secret? Can our two men even continue a relationship the closer they get to finding out who is killing all the male dancers in town? Was Harry a victim of the serial killer, or is there another murderer out on the loose somewhere? For the answer to this and many more questions you may have, do get and read the book. It’s killer! Not literally, of course.
I highly recommend this book. Especially if you are a fan of the ballet, gay romance, or simply of Tara Lain’s other books. She is phenomenally talented, and this book is no exception to her brilliant library of works. I, for one, plan to get it in paperback when it comes out, then in audiobook form if it ever becomes available.