The Norman Transcript

February 19, 2013

‘Dionysus’ quite the mystery

By Kathleen Norris Park
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — You know at first glance that “The Dionysus Connection” by Liz Cowan is a romance. What else, with that gorgeous hunk of man wearing a Lone Ranger mask and little else, on the cover? And you must believe that Max and Danielle will get together. But your faith will be severely tested first.

Add to that perilous possibility the murder of Dani’s parents and her boatload of guilt, sorrow, remorse and — dare I say it — even some relief that her hateful father is no longer around.

Danielle Lawson is a crack reporter for a top Dallas newspaper, a hard-won career she has devoted herself to with all the passion she might have spent elsewhere. She used college and career to avoid her father for years, but doing so meant she excluded her brow-beaten mother as well.

When Dani and Max Fabiani meet — collide, actually — each feels a powerful attraction, although neither clearly sees the other’s face. That remembered moment, plus the pressure of the unsolved murders, doesn’t open the door even to tolerance, let alone romance, when the two are finally introduced.

Max is the star detective for the Dallas Police Department and works directly under supervision of Danielle’s beloved uncle, Chief Clay Robertson, twin brother of Danielle’s mother. Max, recently forced to accept a partner, is in no mood to put up with a snoopy reporter. When he learns that the meddling reporter and Chief Robertson’s niece are the same woman, his life gets way too complicated, and his temper way too short.

And meddle Danielle will do, despite every warning from Uncle, friends and certainly Max. She feels she must solve her parents’ murder and work her own plan, which soon tangles with that of the Dallas PD and certainly Max.

Soon enough, both plans converge on Club Dionysus, where Max is the masked Matador stripper, and Danielle’s sights are set on trapping the murder suspect. But the murderer’s sights are now set on her.

Just when your faith seems about to be restored, and Max and Danielle have their night of passion, the whole thing quickly falls apart. And you’ll just have to wait and work up your belief again.

There’s an interesting subplot involving Max’s partner, P.J., a statuesque beauty who falls in love with Max’s friend. He ends up in a hospital bed in a coma, and P.J. must balance her part in solving the murders with waiting for her new husband to wake and live again.

Liz Cowan writes a column for The Norman Transcript and is the author of an earlier book, “Fractured Proverbs and Twisted Thoughts.”

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