Sunday, February 24, 2008

Review of DANCE ON HIS GRAVE by Sylvia Dickey Smith

By Sylvia Dickey Smith
L&L Dreamspell
ISBN: 9781603180061
Tradeback, 250 pages, $16.95
Genre: Mystery

Sidra Smart is 51 years old and recently divorced from her preacher husband. When her brother dies in a motor vehicle accident, Sid, inherits his investigative firm, The Third Eye, in Orange, Texas. Sidra has no experience as an investigator and initially intends to sell the business but is intrigued by a young woman named Jewell, who claims her father murdered a woman 30 years before. Although Jewell was three when it happened, her memories are so intense, Sid can’t help but wonder if they’re real. She questions Jewell’s sister, Emma, who corroborates much of what Jewell remembers. Emma and Jewell confide in Sid their father’s cruelty, and both, along with their mother, are suffering mental and emotional sequelae as a result of his abuse. Sid contacts the sheriff of Orange, Texas with the information Jewell has provided, and shortly thereafter, her life is threatened. This makes Sid more determined than ever to bring justice upon the man who has severely damaged so many lives. But someone is intent on stopping her.

Dance on his Grave is a strong start to the Third Eye series and is sure to develop a large reader base. Sid Smart is a compelling character; a woman who lived a sheltered life until she decided she wanted out of a controlling relationship and is now determined to start her life anew, despite antagonistic actions from members of her husband’s parsonage. A female baby-boomer as a private eye is a fresh addition to the mystery genre, even more appealing, one with intelligence and maturity. Sid’s Aunt Annie is a likeable, albeit quirky character, and Sid’s mentor George Leger lends a colorful Cajun ambience to the story. This well-written mystery falls under the category of page-turner and will keep the reader entertained throughout.

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