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The Last Twilight: A Dirk & Steele Romance by Marjorie M. Liu
Review by Gayle Surrette
Leisure Books Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843957679
Date: 29 January 2008 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

There's a new virus in the Congo -- it's highly contagious and deadly. Dr. Rikki Kinn is a top virus hunter and she's sent to investigate. Before she even gets to her transport, there's an attack that leaves a friend dead or wounded -- she's not sure. The Congo is not a safe place to be at the best of times; but it's not random, the attack was specifically aimed at Rikki. Soon, she doesn't know who to trust and a misstep could cost more than her life.

Dirk & Steele is a very different detective agency -- they take on a lot of cases no one else will touch. Their staff is not just highly trained -- they're not quite normal. So when Dirk and Steele are asked to look out for Dr. Kinn's welfare, they call on Amiri, a were-cheetah who once called Kenya home. He doesn't want to return to Africa but realizes it is time to face his own devils.

There's a lot going on in The Last Twilight. There's the disease, the attacks, the killers who are dressed as the "good guys", and there's misdirection and mistrust. It's hard to gain someone's trust when you can't tell them the truth. But when you're on the run for your life, you have to trust someone or you could die. Rikki and Amiri form an uneasy alliance, whether in spite of or because of their attraction to each other even they don't know.

The pieces are gathered and some fit, some don't, and some may come together in other stories in this universe. However, the characters are well-drawn, the plot is clever and filled with misdirection and red herrings while maintaining internal consistency (a state that's harder to achieve than some might think), and the romance doesn't interfere with the page-turning, edge-of-the-seat excitement.

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