Tanya Huff's Smoke and Shadows

Tanya Huff's new book, Smoke and Shadows, features a character named "Lee Nicholas," who is quite recognizable as someone we know.  

         Lights, camera and action take a backseat to slippery shadows, snappy dialogue and an overwrought hybrid fantasy/SF plot in Canadian author Huff's alternately clever and annoying blend of farce, mystery and magic, the first in a trilogy. In this spinoff from the author's five-volume series (Blood Price, etc.) featuring vampire Henry Fitzroy, Fitzroy's streetwise ex-lover, Tony Foster, has moved with Fitzroy to Vancouver to study film. Now the set production assistant on CB Production's Darkest Night (think Angel), Foster pines for one of the hunky (alas, heterosexual) co-stars and dreams of being a director. When an actress is murdered under very "shadowy" circumstances, it turns out to have been done by a minion of a Shadowlord who slipped through a "gate" near the show's soundstage originally opened by Arra Pelindrake, a special effects wizard who also happens to be, well, a different sort of wizard on another world. Foster, Pelindrake and Fitzroy join forces to kill other minions sent to take over Earth and destroy Pelindrake, the Shadowlord's archenemy. The proceedings are enlivened with campy comments ("a world where Joss Whedon got canceled was exactly the kind of world where the Shadowlord could win"), but it's not enough to save an overextended plot light on substance and heavy with fang-in-cheek fun.

Supposedly, it's sort of a sendup of Forever Knight. Lee Nicholas is the "hunky, heterosexual co-star" whom the hero has a crush on.

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