Review of GHOST OF A CHANCE by Flo Fitzpatrick (see her website)
Zebra Books, August 2004
Kiely Davlin really should be going to New York casting cattle calls, but when her friend Lida Rose is hired to direct a remake of a 100-year-old melodrama, Lida Rose cons Kiely into helping--both as an actress and as choreographer. Kiely knows that Lida Rose has matchmaking plans, but Lida Rose always has matchmaking plans and there's no way Kiely is moving back to Dallas permanently. Still, Lida Rose needs a favor and a paying job sounds like a great way to spend the summer.
Once in Dallas, Kiely discovers that Lida Rose wasn't kidding about the sexy men on the stage--all of them apparently straight. The sexiest of them all is Rafe Montez--who plays the villain and who just might have been typecast--what, exactly, is he doing all that snooping for? Did I say the sexiest? Well, that doesn't include the ghost of the former villain, shot dead in the theater on opening night half a century before, the last time the play was run. That ghost seems interested in Kiely, which would be nice if he wasn't quite so dead--and he didn't need to warn her so often that something terrible was about to happen.
Author Flo Fitzpatrick combines a strong chick-lit and humor feel with paranormal elements and romance to delive a strong story. Her writing kept me smiling as Kiely stumbled from misadventure to misadventure, the play got in worse and worse trouble, and interfering owners, her friend Lida Rose, and curious newspaper reporters glommed onto the so-called curse the play labors under. Fitzpatrick clearly knows and loves the theater and dance, and these elements add richness and texture to the novel.
GHOST OF A CHANCE was a surprisingly mature novel for a first-time novelist. Fitzpatrick doesn't mind breaking the rules (how many times are authors told to stay away from the theater, to keep the hero and heroine on the page at all times, and to definitely ensure that the heroine doesn't do evil things like drink?), but her rulebreaking adds up to a really superior novel. Well done--I'll look forward to reading her next book.
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