The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



Professional Reader Reviews Published

Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood

Shadow Dance - Julie Garwood

Jordan Buchanan, the ultimate computer nerd, attends yet another brother's wedding and is charged to keep an eye on her sister-in-law's nineteen-year-old sister who's practically doing back flips to gain the attention of Noah Clayborne, an FBI agent with a score list longer than the Good Book. Not that he's interested, he knows the girl is too young for him, but still, it's better to be safe than sorry.

An uninvited guest crashed the party, a nutty professor that's been communicating with Isabel, the nineteen-year-old "acrobat", about her family roots leading all the way back to Scotland. The professor claims the wedding between the two families should never have taken place, since they've always been feuding.

Since he's a MacKenna, the saintly family, according to him, and the Buchanan's are the vile barbarians, Jordan feels she should defend her family from such slander, and is soon sucked into the professor's story about the family feud. And a treasure.

Intrigued, Jordan follows the professor to a small Texas town, Serenity, where everybody knows everybody, everybody is friendly and accommodating... Until professor MacKenna's dead body ends up in Jordan's trunk.

She manages to contact Noah with her predicament, before she's knocked out cold and arrested for murder.

Noah and her brother Nick come barreling into town, clear her of all the charges, get the incompetent chief of police fired, and even more tongues wagging.

Nick is called home, leaving Noah behind to get Jordan safely back to Boston. But another dead body in the trunk keeps them in town for a little while longer.

This book was an obvious improvement from Murder List. The mystery stayed constant and the romance never got in the way of the main plot.

The setting in the small, God-forsaken town in the middle of Texas was refreshing and also served as a sometimes comedic backdrop to the humdrum of murder and mayhem.

Jordan was fun to read. A strong, yet nerdy woman who's more at ease with computers than people. Her trip to Serenity was an attempt to shake up her life, the life many called boring, while for her it was just safe and secure - her comfort zone. Soon, though, her insecurities, again about her appearance, started getting on my nerves.
Why does Ms. Garwood always portray her heroines as shallow? I've read only two of her books, yet in both the heroine was always so self-conscious about her appearance, thinking no one could be attracted to her, because of her looks.

Noah was the typical romantic suspense hero. A playboy (at the beginning) with a soft heart that always changes his way at the end, thanks to his woman.

Yet again, the romance did seem a little forced. They were friends, suddenly, cooped up in the small town, she starts seeing him in a different light. We learn he's always been attracted to her, yet refrained from acting on it, because she was his best friend's sister, so he went on romancing other women... And suddenly, after resisting so long, they just cannot anymore and fall helplessly in love with each other.
Maybe it was something they ate.

The main mystery plot was much stronger than in her previous book, yet once again she just couldn't do without the deus-ex-machina end effect.
While the mystery was driving and keeping the reader at the edge of the seat, the final explanation seemed diluted and far-fetched at best.
While the story built on mystery, the ending left much to be desired.