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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review: The Salsa Connection by Johnny Ray

Format: .doc (provided by author)
Release Date: October 21, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon

When Nickolay Panov left St Petersburg, Russia to go to New York City for an international ballet competition 25 years ago, he was considered one of the best ballet dancers in Russia. The Americans say he was murdered. The Russians say he defected. In any case, he never returned. Just before Nickolay disappeared, several priceless paintings and icons from a major museum were stolen. While he was accused of the theft, no solid proof has ever been offered to tie him to it. However, evidence shows that the stolen goods were shipped to America. The CIA and the Russian Government are still pursuing all leads connected to the heist, and so is the Russian mafia.

Sveta was three years old when her father disappeared, so it’s a shock when, in the mail, she receives an invitation to a salsa dance competition in New York. At the bottom of the invitation is a note: “Please come to the competition and enter, my little lady.” No one but her father has ever called her that. Why has her father surfaced after all these years? Sveta wants answers, even if it means entering the late-night, sultry world of salsa dancing in St Petersburg and New York City and coming into uncomfortably close contact with the Russian mob.

The Salsa Connection is yet another well written tale of mystery, suspense and romance by author Johnny Ray.

At first I was a little skeptical about a romantic suspense set in the world of dancing. How interesting and engaging would a romantic suspense novel set in the salsa dancing world be? Would it be full of terminology that only dancers would understand? Worst of all, would it bring visions of an alien hybrid version of Alias and Dancing with the Stars gone wrong? So many disastrous scenarios raced through my mind in the few minutes it took to turn on my computer and begin reading.

In a matter of 15 pages, Johnny Ray put my fears to rest. The Salsa Connection is a fast paced, thrilling story that just happens to take place among dancers. Though to be honest, it is not entirely set in the dancing world, there are a few scenes involving dancing and such but for the most part the book is constantly moving and switching scenes. This is definitely not a slow paced story, which for me is essential in a story that involves murder, mystery and running for your life.

There are quite a few characters (including two with very similar names) and twists and turns in this book and it is easy to get lost if the reader isn't paying close attention. The pace at which the story is told matches the heart pounding, full steam ahead events so be sure to keep outside distractions at a minimum to fully enjoy The Salsa Connection.

Sveta, the female protagonist is not as fiery as previous characters in Johnny Ray's books, she's naive and has a sense of innocence about her. Still, she doesn't shy away from dangerous situations if it means she'll get answers. She definitely grows throughout the book. Sveta begins The Salsa Connection a young, naive girl and ends up a tougher, wiser, and smarter young woman.

One thing that nagged at me though was the easy acceptance of where and what Nickolay had been up to in the many years Sveta and her mother thought him dead. Not only that but when Nickolay reveals the true connection between Sveta and another character, the reactions of Sveta and her mother are so unbelievable I had to double back and make sure I read it right. I had a hard time swallowing that particular scene. 

In true Johnny Ray fashion, the twists, turns and suspense continue until the very last pages. Just when readers think every conflict has been solved, there's always that one last twist that readers weren't expecting. 

The Salsa Connection is an adult book that can be read by book lovers who are looking for an action filled suspense that is light on the romance.   


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