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Review: Dark Turns by Cate Halohan

About the Book

Nia Washington is an incredibly talented ballerina. She fought her way up from the streets and was nearing the pinnacle of her profession when an injury and a broken heart derailed her career. Taking a temporary job at an elite boarding school was supposed to give her time to nurse both body and soul. It was supposed to be a safe place to launch a triumphant comeback. It is anything but.

Shortly after she arrives at the beautiful lakeside campus, she discovers the body of a murdered student, and her life takes a truly dark turn. It’s not long before she is drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer. And Nia isn’t the only target. She must use all of her street smarts to protect her dancers, save a wrongfully accused student, and rescue the man she loves.

A stunning and suspenseful tale of passion and betrayal, Cate Holahan’s Dark Turns will take readers deep into the mind of a murderer and the woman who must put an end to the killing.


This book was a (dark) page turner and is absolutely the kind of thriller worth reading if you enjoy gossip, intrigue, and trying to make the judgment call yourself on whether or not someone can be trusted. Dark Turns melts the intensely perfectionist culture of ballet with the question of murder effortlessly and takes the reader along for a captivating ride.

Nia Washington is the new ballet assistant at a private school in Connecticut and she seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. To get this new job started in the best way, while getting a tour of the school, she and her boss stumble upon a dead body of a student floating in the campus's picturesque lake. Tough start.

From then on out Nia has to fumble her way through dealing with students, teachers, RAs, police officers, and an orthopedist. Nia comes across as a very legitimate person, one easily relatable to and one who the audience wants to survive this whole murderous debacle. We get her romantic back story and the then present romance in her life, which is less distracting and more of a closer look at Nia, a woman in her early twenties just trying to figure out what she's to do.

The book does an elegant job of putting ballet terms at the start of each chapter, giving us ignorant readers some terminology and also doing some clever foreshadowing for what's to come in the chapter.

The ending of the book (no spoilers) is not totally unsurprising as the truths are slowly revealed throughout the book. One of the big reveals can be guessed by some little hints the author threw in for those of us who might have read a couple classics.

If you enjoy a good thriller that reads a little bit like a gossipy reality TV show (not a bad thing) sometimes, then Dark Turns is absolutely the book you should've been reading yesterday.

Reviewed by Amy Richardson

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