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    Review of SMOKE AND SHADOWS by Tanya Huff

    DAW Books, April 2004

    Production Assistant Tony Foster has noticed the shadows--the ones that don't seem to quite reflect the movement of the solid objects around them. Because he's ex-lover and still friend of a vampire, Tony doesn't automatically dismiss the idea that there's somethings seriously wrong going on. Still, an invasion by a 'shadowlord' who has already destroyed one world and is intent on our own, seems a bit over the top. The sole survivor of that conquered world, a wizard in the guise of a middle-aged special effects guru, refuses to involve herself in the losing battle to defend earth against the shadowlord's new invasion. Which leaves Tony and his vampire-friend Henry to face the shadows themselves.

    Both Tony and, while it's dark out, at least, Henry can be persuasive and they manage to get some help from the reluctant solitaire-playing wizard, but the shadowlord is gathering power with each opening of the gate between their worlds, learning more about the people who live here and our ability to defend against his power--and about the ability of our technology to shed shadows in places even the shadowlord had never considered. Tony's attempt to prevent any shadows from returning to the shadowlord seems like a long-shot, but even the wizard doesn't guess the shadowlord's response.

    Setting an occult mystery on the set of a vampire-detective television show is a cute concept and Tony's clever use of light, pattern and darkness in his battle against the shadows adds a nice touch to this contemporary fantasy. Author Tanya Huff's craftman-like writing kept the story moving forward as Tony, with occasional assistance from the wizard and the vampire, tried to stay ahead of the shadows. Still, I found myself waiting for the twist--the ah-ha moment when Huff turned around the story and surprised me with something new. Instead, she seemed to settle for cute.

    SMOKE AND SHADOWS is an enjoyable light story. If you're a fan of vampires, gay fiction, and humor, the book makes a pleasant read.

    See more reviews of novels by Tanya Huff.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 7/09/04

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