Kick Ball Slay - Book Review

Kick Ball Slay

Author: Doug Dorsey
Genre: Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
Publisher: Studio 15 Publishing, Inc.
Date Published: March 22, 2022
ISBN-10: 8-9856953-3-5
ISBN-13: 979-8985695335

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Book Review of :  Kick Ball Slay


Kick Ball Slay. An Introduction to West Coast Swing… and a Murder Mystery, by Doug Dorsey. Dorsey is a best-selling author who exemplifies the author’s adage to “write what you know.”  Who better to write murder mysteries than a former prosecuting attorney who spent over 15 years fighting crime. Dorsey’s experience in the criminal justice system made him very familiar with police work and fighting crime, making his novels so authentic.

Dorsey introduces the reader to his protagonist Detective Evann Myrick who is investigating a series of murders in Colorado Springs. This who-done-it mystery sets the stage in the prologue with a suicide/ homicide/accident. Despite his ignorance of contemporary dance contests, Detective Myrick is assigned to investigate when another dancer is found dead. Myrick is confident that his investigating skills will lead him to the killer; however, the eccentricities of the dance community unbalanced him. In order to better understand the complex dynamics of the dance competitors, judges, and management, Myrick agrees to basic dance lessons.

For readers unfamiliar with competitive dancing, except perhaps the TV program “Dancing with the Stars,” Myrick’s immersion into the specialty terminology, environment, and complicated dynamic relationships of dance events will be both informative and entertaining. The author incorporates proverbs, maxims, mottos, and dance sayings into the chapter headings, leading the reader into speculation about plot twists.

Myrick’s investigation is complicated when another dance conference is held in Santa Fe, which is out of his jurisdiction. He meets competitors who are invested in dance as a career rather than a hobby. As he experiences the in-depth world of competitive dance, he becomes more aware of complicated theatrical associations between attendees, volunteers, and staff. His list of suspects grows as the death toll of dancers increases. Complicating his case is the fact that each murder has a distinct method and murder weapon.

Dorsey is also an award-winning dance instructor who utilizes his knowledge of the world of competitive dance to immerse the reader in the excitement and minutiae of the art form. His experience in dance and his skill as a writer gives him the ability to capture in words what it feels like to perform competitive dance and provides the reader with a glimpse into the culture surrounding the art.

Dorsey’s many characters are complex but relatable. Each has a distinct personality. Ox, a friend of Myrick, laughs heartily, with a huge grin that was “visible evidence of the exuberant man inside, a smile that exhibited more life in it than most men possessed.” Other minor characters as equally personalized. Nearing the fast-approaching conclusion, Myrick juxtapositions the personalities of his six suspects. Which one will break his/her façade and be revealed as the skilled killer?

Kick Ball Slay is more than a thriller, it is a peek behind the stage of competitive dancing, a specialized domain not well known to the general public. This fiction with end-chapter cliffhangers will keep the reader up at night. Readers, be on your toes for a sequel.


Reviewed by: Carole W

About Doug Dorsey


Doug Dorsey is an award-winning and bestselling author. Among his books are Never Alone, Broken Hero, The Deception, The Red Ledger, The Betrayal and Kick Ball Slay: An Introduction to West Coast Swing... And a Murder Mystery. He's a former prosecuting attorney from the North Florida area and spent over 15 years fighting crime. In 2010, the Mayor of Jacksonville declared him the top advocate for victims in the 4th Circuit's judicial system. He also formerly served as faculty for the prestigious National District Attorneys Association. Doug Dorsey graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2000, and currently practices law with his father, William J. Dorsey, Esquire. He's also an award-winning filmmaker and a dance instructor, teaching both West Coast Swing and Country 2-Step.

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