Last Girl Dancing by Holly Lisle (Onyx, 2005). ISBN 0-451-41197-8
WARNING: Do NOT read this book UNLESS you able and willing to face adult issues head on and without sugar-coating.
Last Girl Dancing is Holly Lisle’s second foray into the world of paranormal romantic suspense. If you haven’t read her first, Midnight Rain, shame on you! Last Girl Dancing is an improvement even over Midnight Rain, which is awesome. The present novel takes the reader into the world of exotic dancing. Not the world of glitter and bright lights and loud music, not the party atmosphere with free-flowing liquor and glowing smiles, but the world behind the curtain, the world of the dressing room, the world of groping hands and solicitations of illicit sex, the world of danger and darkness.
Evil lives in that world. Pure evil. Evil from the depths of the human heart and the death of the human spirit. While the evil may be pure, unadulterated, the good to oppose it is not. There is no perfect good where humans are concerned. We all carry our secrets. We all have our weaknesses. Especially Jess Brubaker and Hank Kamian.
I’m not going to tell any of the plot. You’ll have to buy the book and read it to get the good stuff. What I will tell you is that Lisle has written a book of almost lethal intensity. This story will grab you by the solar plexus and yank your guts out through your throat. You have been warned. This is nothing so tame as a roller coaster ride. This is a runaway train and the bridge is out just ahead. It’s a plunge into Hell and the only wings you have are tattered and frayed.
Intertwined with all this are two love stories. Both are uplifting and heartbreaking, as love always is. Jess’s love for Ginny, her twin, has carried her this far. Her love for Hank, and his for her, shines a light through the darkness and illuminates that tiny, fluttering Hope in the bottom of Pandora’s Box.
Last Girl Dancing is not just about strippers, it IS a stripper: sexy, beautiful, graceful on the stage, but just as human and vulnerable as the rest of us when it gets out into the grimy, dangerous world.
Two thumbs up. I’d give it more, but two is all I have. Will you lend me yours? If you like suspense so intense it makes you gasp for breath and love so deep it makes your heart skip, you must read this book. Then get to the Emergency Room, because it sounds like you’re having a heart attack. 😉