Published by Berkley on May 9, 2017
Genres: Historical romantic suspense
Source: the publisher
Also by this author: Crystal Gardens, The Mystery Woman, Otherwise Engaged, Garden of Lies, 'Til Death Do Us Part, With This Ring, Rendezvous
When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.
Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…
With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Amanda Quick may have abandoned Victorian England for 1930s Hollywood, but her ability to spin a gripping, suspenseful tale is still very much in evidence in her latest novel, The Girl Who Knew Too Much. The plot emphasizes mystery over romance without forsaking the latter. I thoroughly enjoyed it (and I think I detect hints of a potential sequel, yay!)
Irene (formerly Anna) is a typical Quick heroine: quick-witted, self-reliant, curious, loyal, and determined beyond the point of stubbornness, traits that stand her in good stead in her new career as a reporter. She’s also wary, distrustful, and suspicious of everyone–with good reason. Like Irene, Oliver has reinvented himself, in career and purpose if not in name. He also leans toward suspicion and distrust, and is very good at both reading people and misdirection. Once past their initial distrust and Irene’s prickly independence, they make a good pairing.
I did have to stretch my credulity in order to buy the idea that a woman who had been involved in one murder would end up involved in several others (under a new identity) — and that the second set of murders was unconnected to the first. But after a prologue involving the first murder, Quick swiftly swept me into the second set, not allowing the first to impinge again until I had bought into the second series. The first killer is known to the reader (but not to Irene) from the prologue on, but the villains in the second series of deaths are a mystery, along with the motive(s) for the killings. There are lots of twists and turns and some skillful misdirections; I honestly didn’t see the ending coming.
All of this works only because Quick (aka Jayne Anne Krentz) is such a good storyteller. Her dialogue sparkles with wry humor, irony, and occasional laugh lines. Her stories are fast-paced without becoming breathless, timing each new clue or revelation perfectly yet keeping you in suspense until nearly the end. It’s a formula that works, and works well, as her many bestsellers under three names attest.
I admit that I had reservations going into The Girl Who Knew Too Much. I’ve been reading Quick for at least a decade, and I’d become comfortable with her slightly quirky view of 19th-century England. But she pulls off the switch to 1930s California very well–though I did spot at least one anachronism. (While homeowners did sometimes take in paying guests during the Depression, I don’t think the B&B as such existed in America until after World War II, and certainly not by that name.) That said, the book feels closer to her contemporary romantic suspense (written as Jayne Ann Krentz) than to the Amanda Quick line of historical romance and historical romantic suspense. Since I’m a fan of all three of her incarnations, I really enjoyed it. . . and if my suspicions are right about a sequel, I’ll be first in line at the library!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Clean Sweep ARC Challenge 2017