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Reading The Shadow of Her Smile was like slurping a long, cold lemonade on a sultry, summer day - I couldn't devour it fast enough! The story started off with a bang, and grew increasingly suspenseful as Victoria Taylor Murray drew me into her exciting plot with the ease that only the best writers can achieve. From Trump Tower to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to Little Italy to NYPD and a grandmother's run-down mansion, she painted a New York seldom seen by outsiders. I especially relished the historical vignettes of The Big Apple woven in at appropriate places in the story. Although many of the supporting characters were ultra-worldly - obviously shallow, greedy, and lustful - each one was unique and thoroughly fleshed-out. Even billionaire Forrest Gray - who set the stage for this novel when he hired Corbin Douglas to find Nikki Rourke - became larger than life as Murray wielded her magic pen to craft him. Through all these marvelous, mixed-up, often malevolent characters, Murray captured the true essence of the city's diversity of cultures and life-styles. And the hero and heroine were to die for! Corbin, a cop-turned-private-investigator, is every woman's dream: handsome, strong, and sexy, yet kind, caring, and ethical, while Nikki is the beautiful, charming, smart, gutsy, red-haired woman who is at the center of everything. Corbin hooked me right from the start, but I had to wait awhile to meet Nikki. The wait was worth it, and she quickly won my heart by the tender, loving manner in which she cared for our hero when he was injured. And then there's Charlie, Corbin's friend and former partner, and the love-of-his-life Bette. What a joy it was to meet them. Of stronger moral fiber, these four characters more than made up for the "indiscriminate" behavior of the minor characters. They became so real to me, I'll think of them often in days to come. The excitement was nonstop as Corbin searched for Nikki - "a woman in a photograph" with an unforgettable smile - overcoming death-defying, breath-stealing obstacles to help her. This well-written, fast-paced story has everything: believable characters, realistic dialogue, suspense, romance, and "original" humor. When Corbin, told his former partner, "I have a headache the size of Stephen King's Buick 8," I laughed out loud ...a welcome relief from the tension of the book's drama. The Shadow of Her Smile takes you through a series of twists and turns that makes your goosebumps sprout more goosebumps as you question: Who are the dead dancers? Who is killing red-haired women? Are they after Nikki too? Will Corbin find her in time or will she be the next victim? What's going on with the billionaire's wife? What does the chauffeur's "pretty-boy" son have to do with it? And the gangster and his hit squad? Is it all connected? The very talented Victoria Taylor Murray won my heart with this book. I join her growing legions of fans in applauding her on penning another winner. My one regret is that I didn't discover her from her very first book. - Betty Dravis, author of The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley