One Last Dance
While this book is not a romance, there are many romances going on within it’s pages, some more satisfactory than others. I’ll tell you right off the bat that this book was well written and had an interesting premise – but the characters are all so whiny and unsympathetic, my own personal irritation factor with these people went through some major peaks and valleys.
The premise of the story is, after forty years of an apparently solid marriage, Lydia Seagrave picks up a gun and blows away her husband, Vernon. Why? Well, that’s the question daughters Daphne, Alex, and Kitty want answered – as does the defense attorney, the DA’s office, and the public at large. Vernon Seagrave was a doctor, a coroner to be exact, and was something of a public figure in the town of Miramonte, California.
Vernon was also a faithless slime-ball who cheated on his wife with what must have been the entire female population of Miramonte over the entire length of his marriage. Lydia turned a blind eye to the affairs. Until now. Whomever Vernon had been playing doctor with lately pushed Lydia over the edge, and into murder. She offers no defense, answers no questions. It is left to the daughters to solve the riddle – which they do. When they do, I wasn’t surprised – Daddy was a jerk.
At 38, Daphne has her own problems. Married to Roger for eighteen years, she thinks he’s been cheating on her, so when she returns to Miramonte and is confronted by Johnny, her One True Love (and the assistant DA who’s prosecuting the case), Daphne is plunged into a moral dilemma (which she fails, in my opinion). Daphne is full of angst.
Kitty is 35, single, and childless. Hoping to adopt the child of an unwanted pregnancy, things take a sudden turn when she falls for the teenage-mother-to-be’s brother, Sean. He’s 25 with he sex-drive of a 25 year-old. Life should be so hard (no pun intended). Still, Kitty has angst over her relationship with Sean, and whether or not his sister will grant her adoption rights to her baby, now that Kitty’s mother is on trial for the murder of her father.
Alex was her Daddy’s favorite, to the point where she lost a good marriage because of it. Nobody, not even Jim, her ex-husband, could measure up to Daddy – and Jim knew it. Jim cheated on Alex, and that ended their marriage. More angst. But it’s only been two years since the divorce – do Jim and Alex still have a chance at happiness?
Then, soft-spoken Mommy blows cheatin’-heart Daddy away. More and more angst (understandably, in this case). Throw in an unsavory best friend of Mommy’s, and unsavory best friend of Alex’s, financial problems, baby problems, real estate problems, and you have your basic soap opera. The show-don’t-tell rule was broken right away when the reader must plow through each daughter’s history before we even get into the action. This was very irritating, especially when each daughter comes off as having been the spoiled, self-centered, Mom/Dad-always-liked-you-best type. I couldn’t identify with, nor did I care deeply for, any of the daughters.
Johnny and Jim approach being heroes, as does Sean (who has the most potential for hero-dom) but the constant referral to Johnny’s cigarette breath (which Daphne likes!), and the cigarette dangling out the side of his mouth had me frowning and shaking my head. For non-smoking readers, this is a real turn-off.
Lydia Seagrave (subtle foreshadowing by the author or an ironic moniker, I wonder), practices the don’t-ask-don’t-tell method of murder, and her ultimate fate is something you can see coming a nautical mile away (except that none of the hundreds of characters who populated this book seemed to have picked up on it).
I think One Last Dance (a title that makes no sense, by the way, given the premise of the story), had all the potential in the world. There are readers who may find something here, but I’d advise you not shell out the $25 for this one, and wait for the paperback.