Jan 18, 2008

Book Review: Tapped Out, by Natalie M. Roberts

Title: Tapped Out: A Jenny T. Partridge Dance Mystery by Natalie M. Roberts
Published October  2007: Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery

Finished this cozy mystery by Natalie M. Roberts, about crazy dance moms, the world of dance, and a "ditsy" dance teacher involved in murders. I enjoyed reading about the setting, Utah, and a funny Samoan missionary who really wants to be a dancer/dance teacher.

Here's my review:

When Utah dance teacher Jenny Partridge agrees to help out as a teacher at the Hollywood StarMakers Convention dance competition, little did she realize just how far someone would go to try to discourage her. First, a telephone call threat, then the bombing of her car, followed by another bomb set off in her dance studio, and an attack by a snowplow in a dark parking lot. .

Things become more serious when she finds the body of a StarMakers Convention dance teacher in a dumpster. Jenny persists, however, as she needs the money that convention director, Bill Flanagan, has offered her to coach at the two-day dance event. Bill, an old flame and fellow dancer, is in a quandry as two of his teachers have disappeared without leaving any word of their whereabouts or intentions.

Jenny doen't play sleuth in this second book in the dance mystery series. Events happen around her that leave her depending on a few of her dance moms and her current love interest, detective Tate Wilson. Her character and attempts at humor might seem familiar to those who have followed the mystery series featuring Stephanie Plum, who does play sleuth - the supposedly "ditsy" main character, her conservative parents who try to match her up with every single male available, a quirky grandmother, and reliance on her sometime boyfriend, the detective, to pull her out of sticky situations.

Subplots include a Samoan missionary who asks Jenny to help him leave the mission to become a dancer, "psycho dance moms" who hound her day and night about their little dance darlings, and the development of a relationship with detective Tate.

Mildly entertaining cozy novel, the mystery does give some insights about Utah and its missionaries, the world of dance competitions, and the obsessed parents of child dancers, the paycho dance moms. Yes, the mystery is solved, and it does involves Jenny, but not through her own attempts at crime solving.

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