Ultimately, I was disappointed with this book's predecessor (Jedi Twilight) and hoped Street of Shadows would hold more of the "hard boiled detective" feel this series is advertised as. In some ways, this book was better than the previous one, but on the whole, it was about the same: just average. Spoilers follow.
Most of the characters from the previous novel star in this one. Jax Pavan, Laranth Tarak, I-Five, and Den Dhur return as our heroes. Oddly enough, though, there's no mention of Nick Rostu. Considering he played a rather large role in Jedi Twilight, I was hoping to at least discover what had become of him, but I guess everyone has forgotten about him. Darth Vader returns as the main villain, aided by the Jedi hunter Aurra Sing. There are a couple of new characters, too, including the Zeltron Dejah Duare (whose name is spelled "Deejah" on the back of the book, for whatever reason) and Typho, one of Padme's late security officers.
The detective aspect I was waiting for in the first book finally appears in Street of Shadows, but it's a lot weaker than I'd hoped. What is interesting is that Reaves decided to include the destruction of the Caamasi home world, as it is a Caamasi artist that's murdered. Jax and friends set out with the victim's longtime friend, Dejah Duare, to solve the murder mystery. This could have been a very exciting plot...but it wasn't. In fact, the detective side of it was almost boring. I usually finish Star Wars novels in a week or so, often staying up late to finish them; it took me a few weeks to get through this one. The main plot just couldn't hold my attention and, perhaps it was just me, but there's no way I would have linked the murderer to the crime before it was revealed. For me, that's the fun of mysteries: following the clues and finding the culprit along with the characters. That fun couldn't be found here.
Meanwhile, Vader still wants to find Jax Pavan and has acquired the skills of Aurra Sing, a hardcore Jedi hunter, to help him in his task. I greatly enjoyed the addition of Aurra Sing to the story and greatly enjoyed reading her parts of the book. She's a great villain: cool, calculating, tough, dominating, and always on top of her game (or, almost always, as she is seemingly defeated at the end of the book). Considering this is a middle novel, I don't think it'll surprise anyone that Jax manages to evade Vader's clutches yet again.
There's a third, slightly less important, plot running alongside the previous two. Typho, one of the late Padme's security officers, is set on finding Padme's killer and getting revenge for her death. Unfortunately, a lot of his portions of the book are spent with him trying to figure out just who killed Padme, which the audience already knows and therefore isn't particularly awed or surprised at the outcome. He eventually figures out that Darth Vader must have killed Padme and sets off to, in turn, exterminate the Dark Lord. I think everyone can guess how that turns out: badly.
What remains to be the shining beacon (much like in the last book) is the characterization of most of the characters. Jax, Laranth, Den, I-Five, and Dejah all receive a good amount of character growth and the relationships between them continue to evolve (especially between Jax and Laranth). Again, Reaves thrives at giving personality and character to his own creations, but (again, like with the last book), he falls short at portraying the already established character of Vader. While Vader seemed a little more in character than the previous book, something about him still didn't feel quite right. I'm hoping that Reaves will nail the characterization by the last book. Aurra Sing was also well done and filled the role of villain quite well. Typho didn't really do much for the story, in my opinion, and will most likely fade into Star Wars oblivion. I found Typho to be a pretty boring character who seemed to know a little too much about every species he encountered. Regardless, with the exception of Typho and Vader, Reaves's characterization was the highlight of this novel.
All in all, this book was better than the first one. To begin with, it actually had a plot and explored the detective side of Coruscant the trilogy advertises, albeit not as well or thoroughly as I'd have liked. The characters continue to be a joy to read about and Reaves's writing can be engaging at times. However, the novel ultimately struck me as being boring and didn't really do anything to develop the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. I'd like to hope the third installment ends up tying everything together and ending with a bang, but I'm not getting too hopeful. 3 Stars