The Hot Zone, by Jayne Castle

October 2, 2014 Book Reviews 6 ★★★½

The Hot Zone, by Jayne CastleThe Hot Zone by Jayne Castle
Published by Penguin on 2014-08-26
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic suspense
Pages: 352
Source: purchased
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Also by this author: Deception Cove, Siren's Call

The world of Harmony has its wonders, one of them being Rainshadow Island. Just beneath its surface, a maze of catacombs hides a dangerous secret...…

Halloween—with its tricks and treats—is a dust bunny’s dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow’s faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it’s a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.

And now, Sedona’s ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow….


Welcome back to the futuristic world of Harmony, which blends the familiar and the unfamiliar: jeans, SUVs, and B&Bs exist alongside psi (a spectrum of psychic energies), talent (the abilitity read/manipulate psi), and alien catacombs. It’s a world where the ghost-hunter Guild rules the literal Underworld, and even ordinary citizens have a touch of psychic ability.  It’s all a lot of fun, but to be honest, it’s probably best not to examine Castle’s worldbuilding too closely – just go along for the ride.

And what a ride! Alien monsters, kidnapping and attempted kidnapping, a mad scientist and his secret lab, experimental drugs, Halloween creepiness, charming dust bunnies, snappy repartee, and of course, a hot romance. It’s a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled book that kept me turning pages late into the night.

Heroine Sedona Snow and hero Cyrus Jones are typical of Castle/Krentz’s main characters, and I mean that in a positive sense. Sedona is courageous, determined, practical, and independent. She’s had to be the latter, since her extended family don’t acknowledge her. There’s never anything meek or simpering about Krentz’s heroines; they are strong-minded, usually witty or sassy, and well able to stand up to an alpha hero. Sedona fits the mold, and it’s a good thing, because Cyrus is (like most Krentz heroes) both physically and mentally strong, highly talented, protective, and dominant – though not toward Sedona. That’s one of the things I really like about this author: her heroes respect the women they’re attracted to, and come to see them as partners. (Not always true of her earliest books, incidentally.) There’s an instant attraction between Cyrus and Sedona, which simmers and burns through much of the book, but thankfully it’s not insta-love; their love and trust grow through shared adversity.

The Hot Zone is a sequel to The Lost Night and Deception Cove, but frankly, if you haven’t read any of the Harmony books, go all the way back to After Dark and start at the beginning. The world and the storyline will make a lot more sense if you do. Besides, once you meet Lyle, you’re going to want to meet all the dust bunnies – they’re adorable! It also wouldn’t hurt to have some familiarity with the Arcane Society novels; while The Hot Zone isn’t labeled an Arcane novel, the names  Snow and Jones are not coincidental — they reference families or characters well-known to Arcane Society fans. Likewise, one or two plot elements reflect back to the Arcane novels. Still, I think you could manage without that background – but not without knowing something of Harmony and Rainshadow Island.

If you like your romantic suspense futuristic, hot, action-packed, and laced with humor, give the Harmony series a try. They are a lot of fun!



About Jayne Castle

The author of over 40 consecutive New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 30 million copies of her books in print. She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries. Ms. Krentz is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington. Pseudonyms: Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Stephanie James, Jayne Bentley, Jayne Taylor, Amanda Glass.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Summer Vacation 2014

6 Responses to “The Hot Zone, by Jayne Castle”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      If you’re going to try her Jayne Castle paranormals, I really recommend starting with After Dark or Ghost Hunter rather than this one. Or at least the first Rainshadow novel, The Lost Night, though even that one presupposes a certain familiarity with the milieu.