See my full review on my blog Mystereity Reviews
Hagar's Last Dance was riveting and enjoyable; with a rich plot, great characters, lots of intriuge, a sprinkle of humor and a little bit of romance combined to create a real page turner.
Jeanne Pelletier is a contract lawyer by day and aspiring belly dancer by night. Her friend and teacher, Yasmina has talked her into performing at Algiers, a middle eastern nightclub. After her performance, a fire breaks out and Yasmina dies in the flames.
The characters really made the book for me; likable and unconventional, they added a lot of warmth to the story. I liked ex-CIA spook Jerry most of all; I thought his nicknames were funny and his heartbreaking struggles made him very human. Jeanne is a strong and assertive woman, but also a little awkward and a little clueless sometimes. I thought the story about Jeanne's past should've come earlier in the book, even if it wasn't resolved until later (one of my pet peeves is a hint about a tragic past that isn't revealed until the end.) Jeanne is very easy to relate to and I really admired her. The victim, Yasmina, proved to be the most intriguing. Although not in the book very long, her presence permeated the book and I enjoyed seeing her layers peeled away bit by bit as the book went on.
The gripping plot kept me guessing, with lots of surprise twists and turns. Part of the plot dealt with Middle Eastern politics, specifically Arab-Isreali tensions, a very timely and potentially controversial topic that was portrayed less as a political issue and more as a human issue. A steady pace kept the story moving to a satisfying conclusion
Overall, Hagar's Last Dance is an enjoyable debut to a new series a great book to curl up with.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review