A Ballroom Dance Mystery, by Ella Barrick, Obsidian, September 2011
Stacy Graysin notices that Rafe Acosta, her ex-fiance but still co-owner of Graysin Motion studio, has been acting far from normal. He's been distracted in the studio and showing up late or completely missing his ballroom dance classes. Their relationship has been dicey since Stacy caught him in bed with another woman, but she and Rafe have pushed their tension aside in front of their clients and to participate in dance competitions.
One night Stacy hears a loud thump coming from the studio. She decides to investigate and finds Rafe dead on the ballroom floor, blood pooling around him. Though she immediately calls 911 and explains what she heard to the police, she becomes the only suspect in the crime. The finicky homicide detective on the case doesn't consider anyone else as a potential person of interest, so now it's up to Stacy to clear her name, save her neck and protect her studio's reputation.
This is the first book in the new Ballroom Dance Mysteries by Ella Barrick and a delightful addition to the cozy mystery field. The author has filled the story with interesting characters who are far from the cozy genre stereotypes. Stacy is portrayed as an independent owner of a ballroom dance studio who hates the bookkeeping side of her business. She's impulsive, cringes at the thought of ever working in a cubicle and loves to dance. Stacy gets along great with her sister Danielle but thinks the beiges, browns and navys Dani wears all the time are boring. Graysin Motion's flamboyent, Russian-born, temporary instructor, Vitaly, is hooked on grapefruit juice and butchers the English language, but once he's on the dance floor, he transforms into a strict teacher and the dancer for which he's won top prizes all over the world. From Tav (Rafe's half-brother and the studio's new co-owner) to Phineas Drake (Stacy's atypical lawyer), the characters are fresh and funny.
Quickstep to Murder puts a new slant on cozy mysteries and reveals the behind-the-scenes preparations and intensity of ballroom dance competitions. But beware...you may yearn to lace up your dancing shoes and sign up for salsa lessons after completing this amusing book. So purchase your copy of Quickstep to Murder today and get ready to rumba!
* The next book in the series, Dead Man Waltzing, will be released in June 2012.
PROTAGONIST: A 29-year-old, independent, c0-owner of Graysin Motion ballroom dance studio
CRITTERS: Hoover, the Great Dane pet of a client
ACTION: Lots of dancing (nach), father trying to tackle his daughter's boyfriend, escape from a murderer
LOVE INTEREST: Rafe was, Mark thinks he is, Rafe's half-brother Tav may be
ROMANCE: Memories of being with Rafe, quick kisses on cheeks
QUIRKINESS: Congresswoman choosing dancing over House votes, a couple of octagenarian women fighting over a sixtyish male dance teacher, amusing male Russian-born instructor
INTERESTING TIDBITS: What really happens at ballroom dance competitions, the intensity of practicing for events, scenes in Old Town, Alexandria VA
FUN FACTOR: Lighthearted cozy, interesting and quirky characters
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