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Jubert, Herve. Devil's tango.

JUBERT, Herve. Devil's tango. (The Devil's Dances Trilogy, Book Two.) Tr. from the French by Anthea Bell. HarperCollins. 381p. c2006. 0-06-077720-6. $16.99. JSA

The second novel in the trilogy, following Dance of the Assassins, may not appear to have much to do with the tango, but that really doesn't matter. This futuristic supernatural thriller is original, intelligent, and laced with fine humor.

In a future Basle, a city reshaped by an event known as the Great Flood, microscopic particles called tracers monitor the activities of the citizens, ably identifying criminals in the act. Crime is virtually nonexistent, leaving little for the local Crime Investigation Department to do. Then a series of gruesome murders occur, and the tracers cannot detect the culprit. Top CID investigator, witch and member of the College of Sorcery Roberta Morgenstern is on the case, along with her young associate Clement Martineau. Meanwhile, a dirty political campaign targets the Gypsies in Basle's Historic Quarter, inflaming the population with hints that the Gypsies are the ones responsible for the murders. Roberta suspects that the murders and the campaign are linked somehow, and she also wonders whether two of her colleagues are up to their ears in the murderous mayhem.

Although the plot may be difficult to get into initially, especially for readers unfamiliar with the first book, Jubert provides enough non-intrusive back-story to understand the context. Once the story takes off, the action is nearly nonstop, and the book stands alone fairly well. The pages are filled with quirky, appealing characters, including Roberta, a mysterious chauffeur who may not be what he seems, an eccentric writer with his head above the clouds, and a History of Sorcery professor who dances a mean tango. Juvert takes well-worn conventions--Gypsies and pirates and witches, oh my!--and spins them into something fresh and new. Furthermore, Anthea Bell's translation provides a smooth and vivid reading experience. As for the Devil's part in all this, well, that would be telling. Donna Scanlon, Libn., County Lib., Lancaster, PA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Scanlon, Donna
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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