Tanya Huff,
Smoke & Mirrors
(DAW, 2005)

Smoke & Mirrors is the second in Tanya Huff's series about Tony, a former street-kid, rescued by vampire Henry Fitzroy. Tony has moved out of Fitzroy's home and is now working as a production assistant on TV show Darkest Night, which ironically is a fictional show about a vampire detective.

In the first episode, Tony and Henry defeat a Shadowlord planning to possess the cast and crew of Darkest Night. Tony discovers he has wizard powers and must somehow manage to control them. In my opinion, the backstory from Smoke & Shadows was a critical part left out in Mirrors. Just a few paragraphs would have made Mirrors a more stand-alone book.

In Mirrors the cast and crew is filming a haunted house story -- in a haunted house. Of course, they don't know that when the Boss probably got a cut-rate price on rental of the site. When one of the crew gets cut, the malevolence in the house comes alive. All doors shut at dusk and the deaths of the malevolence's victims is played over and over. The pattern is murder, then suicide, and each one of the multiple deaths is a separate story in itself.

They'll be freed -- if they can survive the night. Meanwhile, cast members are slowly going crazy and becoming suspicious of one another. Tony, the low person on the totem pole, is a very suspicious character in most people's books because he's the only one who can both see and communicate with the ghosts. His powers are untrained and most don't even believe in them -- making him a likely target to be kicked off the island by suspicious higher-ranking cast members.

Add to that all the histrionics of show biz folks, stir in the Boss' two pre-teen daughters, Tony's unrequited lust for the show's co-star and, oh yeah, a warning not to go in the basement.

Mirrors is definitely a good, fast-paced read, but not the book it could have been. The backstory from the first book is necessary for new readers and even those of us who bought Shadows in hardcover a year or so ago. Still, I'll go out on a limb and say I'll still buy the next book in the series.

book review by
Becky Kyle

21 August 2010

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