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Lethal Artist 3: Danzionna

Title: Lethal Artist 3: Danzionna
Author: Cia Leah

Published in by
Genre: GLBT, Gothic/Horror, Suspense/Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-60435-758-8

Cover Artist: T. D. McKinney

Related Books: Lethal Artist 1: Zion, Lethal Artist 2: Izon
Other Books by Cia: Apparition, Braedon's Touch, Moon Shadow, Fallen Snow Angel, and More

From Red Rose Publishing, the Lethal Artist series continues as book three, Danzionna continues Zion the Artist’s legacy – more to point is his flair for creating fine art out of human heads. The killings stopped for a while but no evidence proved Zion was dead, or just hiding. But when the killings resume, one can only assume he’s still alive. Except this time instead of women its men who go missing – specifically gay men.

In the basement of the antiquated Zonski family home, Danzionna dances for her grandfather. Well, before his head any way, having been executed, thusly created, before the ravages of cancer took him. Zion’s granddaughter, Danzi, whom he affectionately called Zionna, picks up where granddad’s left off just a few years ago. The only twist to his already honed skill is her preference for men.

With the help of her Uncle Joel, youngest and gay son of Zion’s, is Danzi’s success secured. Dressed as a woman, the victims have no clue to his strength underneath the femininity, also reason why gay men become Danzi’s mode of artistic expression. The irony of it all is her father, Zion’s oldest son and first apprentice, Clinton Preston’s awareness that his daughter continues his father’s legacy while giving absolute blessings as well. Because, actually, Danzi carries on what her father’s left behind, in favor of marriage and fatherhood.

Definitely a family heritage…or is it just a simple family business?

As gothic horror, mixed with mystery and suspense goes – but pretty light on the gore - Ms Leah does not disappoint. Her characters are rich, alive, still quite creepy, as they propel her nightmarish plot of psychotic murder. Danzi and her Uncle Joel make killing people as ordinary as brushing one’s teeth. Their avoidance of detection shattered when Joel purposefully kills a police officer, alerting prominent Detective Richard Avery towards reopening Zion the Artist’s murder case. Now the two must be ever more cautious when obtaining and disposing of the victims. Adding to their exposure threat, the entire family is coming home for a visit.

The other primary characters provide some normalcy to this disturbing duo. Staranna is the black-haired twin sister to Danzi’s blonde beauty, and the object of many childhood pranks that were upsetting and plain malicious. Danzi loved pulling the heads off all Staranna’s dolls, painting them grotesquely, and then placing them around before she woke in the morning. Without doubt a bitchy kind of thing to do, especially to an emotionally sensitive girl. Staranna also holds the ability to foretell through vivid dreams, like her mother and maternal grandmother. Yet she never dreams about Danzi though, possibly caused by their twin-ship some family members assume. Although dreaming about headless corpses leave her quite unnerved.

For Staranna returning home, and to one that owns so many bad memories, will not overshadow the joy over her pending nuptials. To a Brit named Donald, who will be meeting the entire Preston/Zonski/Briar family. Sadly, those introductions WILL overshadow her pre-marital bliss, as Donald’s eye strays towards a more suitable quarry – of the male persuasion.

The secondary characters are just as fascinating, while adding more thrilling spins to this already intricate story. Thomas Drayer’s persona of conventional Mafioso but a grieving father too, since his sole heir falls victim to Zion the Artist’s renewed killing spree. But he’s ‘hetero”, not gay. Worse, his headless body is left for the police to find - another deviation from the Artist’s modus operandi. But one that the first Artist was known for that her father deviated from during his reign; but no one knows that bit of trivia. Furthermore this act marks Danzi’s first hands-on kill, exhibiting a swelling ego that could prove fatal if she doesn’t contain it. In the meanwhile, Drayer vehemently vows to locate and exact a quite lengthy, more painful revenge upon his son’s murder.

At times understanding the family lineage can get confusing, but for this reader it only adds a more captivating flavor to the story. For example, Zion the Artist is actually Joel Zonski aka Michael Preston – grandfather to Danzi, but father to both Joel and Clinton (also known as Izon, from book two of this series). Figured out this piece of family genealogy by reading the previous books’ excerpts and blurbs, but wonder if reading the previous two would have made this understanding easier – of course more enjoyable too.

What’s truly compelling was discovering that renowned investigator of Zion the Artist, Thorne Briar is closely related to the murderer. His daughter, Dreamara married Clinton, so then mother to Staranna and Danzionna; followed by being sister-in-law to Joel, then daughter-in-law to Zion the Artist. WOW! Talk about policing your own backyard – literally!

Along with Detective Richard Avery, Thorne is aghast when told the killings have started again however, this time men are the target. With this renewed murdering neither man will give up until answers provide evidence: first, that Zion is truly dead and second, if the prior is true, the identity of this possible female killer.

IN the meantime, the Preston-Zonski family is unraveling. First Joel is severely brutalized by his lover, a hitman for Drayer. Once Joel recovers he takes off with Staranna’s fiancée. Next Danzi begins an erotic affair with Drayer, giving her a rapturous sexual high in knowing she killed his son. Does he ever suspect her the killer of his beloved son, even as he watches her castrate Joel’s ex-lover? Finally it’s revealed that Clinton is dying of cancer, due to his father’s special, though highly toxic embalming fluid. The formula has claimed its first victim - its creator, Zion the Artist; why his head is who Danzi dances, sings and talks to. The anguish and mayhem mounts, and fast too as an uncertain end nears – that is to the story.

Having provided a suitable summary of the major cast of characters, the story line is bit more complex. Its twists and turns keep the reader engrossed but guessing, even confused at times too. But in the end it all comes to a glorious, if not gory conclusion – most excellent as it’s not quite what this reader expected. But then, I love surprises! Finally, as all good stories should, Danzionna then lingers long after this reader has put it away…a great read.

The previous books within this series can be also be found at Red Rose Publishing: Lethal Artist Series Book 01: Zion and Lethal Artist Series Book 02: Izon. Cia Leah’s other Red Rose Publishing books include: Apparition, Braedon’s Touch, Christmas Cowboy, Cade’s Thanksgiving, Fallen Snow Angel (time travel), Outlaw’s Kiss, Shotgun Wedding, Cowgirl Hot, Kissing the Stone, Moon Shadow, My Mommy Valentine. New releases scheduled soon for the following Cia Leah novels are: Mind Realm, Passion’s Embrace, Whispers In The Dark, and Rainman.

A Dedicated Reader,
Pamela Jenewein!

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