ForeWord Reviews

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Shadow Dancer

Clarion Review (4 Stars)

A famous television star with a giving spirit, a loving heart, and an appreciation for small-town values—seriously. Many readers will find Frank Kelly’s Shadow Dancer to be pure fantasy.

Nathan Prentiss, star of the wildly popular Shadow Dancer television series, leaves Hollywood with his grandson after his daughter Cassie dies of a drug overdose. He believes that Hollywood is no place to raise a child, so along with Doug Ratske, his bodyguard, Nathan decides to give up his career and move to Addison, New York, the town where he was raised. After they settle in, Nathan begins making new friends and renewing old friendships.

Natty, the five-year-old grandson, learns from the grandfather he just met that his mother is dead and Addison will be his new home. Grandfather and grandson proceed to teach each other about life, love, and family.

Natty…felt the strength of his grandfather’s embrace and didn’t even mind the stubble that scratched his cheek. Grandpa smelled good…and…safe…and special. A bond was formed at that very moment which would last for twenty-three years.

Mandy Blake, the new housekeeper, is the mother of two children who become Natty’s friends. Nathan and Doug discover she is also being abused by her husband. Olivia Tufts, Nathan’s childhood sweetheart, runs into him at a party and the scent of romance enters the picture.

Shadow Dancer offers readers a story of family and friendship. As Nathan renews acquaintances with neighbors and childhood friends, he remembers the life lessons he learned from his grandparents. He strives to pass these values on to Natty and to give back to the community of his youth.

The famous star and his former Green Beret bodyguard encounter fans, neighbors, ordinary citizens, business executives, and law enforcement officials as they work to create a home for Natty. The reader is immediately drawn to the characters and soon shares in their joy and pain. The character-driven plot smoothly entices the reader to explore the realistic and progressive personality development. Though the read is easy, the book presents a number of both expected and unexpected turns. The small town setting paints a memorable picture of a place where people actively meet and get to know their neighbors. Unfortunately there are a number of typos and the book would benefit from further editing.

Kelly is a retired criminal investigator, private investigator, and law enforcement officer. Shadow Dancer is his first novel and offers readers a fresh version of the classic themes of love, loss, change, discovery, and redemption.

Pat McGrath Avery