Street of Shadows - Michael Reaves "You're being hunted by the best, Jax"
After reading the first one, I realized I had no choice but to read number two!
Jax Pavan, LaranthTarak, Den Dhur, and I-Five are back and this time they have a murder to solve. Ves Volette, a Caamasi artist, has been murdered! Was it his partner, the gorgeous Dejah Duare? Or someone else? And can they solve the crime before Aurra Sing finds and kills Jax?

I Liked:
This time around, Michael Reaves wrote his novel as a mystery, which is sort of the marketing for this series of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. And he does an okay job with it (more later).
What really stood out to me, however, was the further depth given to Laranth's character. She really gets fleshed out, from being stoic action girl, to a woman who is beginning to develop feelings for Jax...feelings that, unfortunately for her, aren't reciprocated (which makes me want to slap Jax silly!!). I love how Reaves didn't overwrite her feelings, how he kept it subtle and delicate. Well done!
Also, gotta give Reaves a hand for writing two characters not seen much in Star Wars novels: Captain Typho and Aurra Sing! While I didn't much like his character, Typho was interesting to see (and to see what happened to him!) and his twist (his unrequited love for Padme) brought some definition to his character. Aurra Sing was well done, a cold-blooded killer, yet also half-crazed.
Lastly, Reaves knows how to finish off his novels with a bang! Not only do you get the mystery wrapped up, but let's also throw in a righteous battle between our heroes and Aurra Sing!

I Didn't Like:
I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one. I didn't like Dejah Duare, the perfect, sexy Zeltron female (who is, of course, always wearing nice, sexy clothes that make the guys eyes pop out) introduced in the book (gag me already). Jax was still an annoying character whom I wanted to throw across the room. No one says what happens to Nick Rostu. The mystery was very so-so and not very interesting at all (though who did it makes a nod at the mystery genre cliches and got me laughing!). The pacing I felt was rather plodding. People just seem to float for pages on end, not really doing anything that seems all that important and just saying the same things over and over (Typho's quest for vengeance, how Aurra will bring in Jax, finding the murderer of Ves, etc.). I understand that second novels/movies/whatever are a challenge, but this one seemed particularly "saggy".

Dialouge/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Star Wars invented language if anything.
Dejah is, of course, a gorgeous, beautiful, sexually appealing woman. This is mentioned frequently. Also, some of the denizens of Coruscant's underworld could be interpreted as sexual.
Ves Volette is murdered and while it isn't gory, he still does die. There are a few lightsaber battles, chase scenes...nothing that great overall.

Overall:
It's really hard to rate this book for me. I didn't hate it, but I felt that it lacked something, that final quality that could have made it a sure thing for me. I certainly don't consider this a terrible book; I adored the subtle changes to Laranth and some discussion of droids and their "sentience". But there were other parts, such as the weak mystery, that really make me second guess my rating. So, after much contemplation, I think it's fair to rate it 4.5 stars rounded down to 4.