Series: Burning Cove #3
Published by Berkley on May 7, 2019
Genres: Historical romantic suspense, Romantic suspense
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: The Girl Who Knew Too Much, When She Dreams
Also by this author: Crystal Gardens, The Mystery Woman, Otherwise Engaged, Garden of Lies, 'Til Death Do Us Part, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, With This Ring, Rendezvous, Affair, When She Dreams
An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a top secret invention before it’s too late.
Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.
In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.
Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
The third installment in the Burning Cove series is as stylish and entertaining as its predecessors. Former trapeze artist (or “flyer”) Amalie Vaughan survived a murder attempt but lost her career. Now the indomitable Amalie is starting over as the proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast in Burning Cove… in the same mansion where Hollywood psychic “Madame Zelda” met her death in a previous novel.
When Amalie’s first guest, an inventor, is shot onstage by the robot he was demonstrating at the time, Amalie is pulled into the ensuing investigation. Heading that investigation, at least on the “private” side, is Matthias Jones, a man with reputed mob connections and an uncanny talent for detecting lies. If your intuition is stirring, you’re right: Matthias is one of those Joneses.* Alas for Arcane fans, that tangential connection is as close as the book comes to the Arcane Society series. Jones’s ability, while useful in the course of the book, doesn’t play a major role in the plot; with one or two exceptions, the story could have unfolded just as well without it.
I always enjoy Krentz/Quick’s novels, and it has been a delight to watch this series develop. It is set in 1930s California, a place and era that Quick hasn’t explored before, but one well-suited to her brand of mysterious, sexy, twist-filled and just slightly hard-edged romantic suspense. I tend to plow through her books at breakneck speed, on tenterhooks to see how the convoluted plot will unwind, and I’m rarely disappointed. She never fails to surprise me somehow, although I confess that this time I harbored strong suspicions about one or two of the villains.
While the first book is my favorite in the series by a slight margin, this one still gets 4 stars for sheer fun. Robots, fading movie stars, secret agents, gossip rags, and plenty of danger, plot twists, and romantic sizzle make for a potent mix. And my fingers remain crossed for even more Arcane Society in the next book.
*Not a spoiler, since the author herself announced it. From Jayne Ann Krentz’s Instagram, April 4: “This is the book that features a hero named Jones. For all you Arcane fans, nope, that is not a coincidence.”