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Smoke and Shadows

by Tanya Huff

(DAW Books, 2004. US$23.95 / Canada$36.00 hardback, 375 pages.)

Four stars.

This book takes a half-step aside from one of Tanya Huff's most popular series, which cover scanbegan with Blood Price, about a cop named Vicki Nelson and the vampire Henry Fitzroy. Now we get to see what happens to Tony Foster after he has left the streets -- and, more or less, Henry.

Tony currently works as a Production Assistant in Vancouver, for a television show about a vampire detective. All would be well, except that Tony discovers the show's "special effects wizard" is, in fact, a bona-fide if timid wizard. What's worse, the shadows have stopped behaving like normal shadows and started acting independently. Then people start dying.

Past experience has left Tony with a knack for spotting potentially dangerous weirdness. Reluctant to get tangled up with Henry again, Tony nevertheless calls on the vampire for assistance, which turns out to be a good thing -- because an evil warlord from another dimension is trying to take over the world using the shadows as a first step. Much mayhem ensues as they try to convince the wizard to help (and even the Cowardly Lion would roll his eyes at some of her antics) while thwarting the shadows and the Shadowlord, and not incidentally trying to avoid losing the job that Tony likes.

Smoke and Shadows is a blend of drama and very dark humor. A must for Tanya Huff fans, it's also well worth a look for anyone who enjoys "behind the scenes" stories about the film industry. Highly recommended.

Review by Elizabeth Barrette.

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