Quick Review: The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

The Vanishing Book CoverThe Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz came out in January 2020 and I finally got to it yesterday. I finished reading it this morning.

Fogg Lake, Book 1
Paranormal Mystery / Suspense and Romance

Here’s the book description.

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed—they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake.…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago—Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.

First, I have to note that a big chunk of that description talks about stuff that actually isn’t in the book. So that was weird for me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Krentz book with a description so far off the mark.

The book I expected wasn’t the book I got, in other words.

This one is a hard one for me to review in other ways, too.

The mystery was entertaining and pulled me through the pages quickly. But as I read, I kept feeling like I was missing something and it wasn’t until I got to the end and went searching that I knew what that was. The Vanishing introduces a new group, the Foundation, that deals with paranormal research, and brings back Vortex which is a shady organization that showed up in Jayne Ann Krentz’s Jayne Castle books set on Harmony.

The problem was that I kept wondering why no one in this book seemed to know about the Arcane Society, because so much of the stuff in the book was familiar in a way that only makes sense if this is happening in the same universe. If Arcane and Vortex coexist on Harmony, then Arcane must exist in the present in which The Vanishing takes place. And if this Foundation is as important as it seems, how can no one know about the Arcane Society?

The fact that it was never even hinted at just really threw me. I couldn’t seem to get past that while I read this story.

So in the end, the story was diminished by this missing link.

Another issue I had with this one is that there was almost no focus on the romance at all. I might as well have been reading a mystery novel.

Honestly, I know Krentz has been one of my favorite authors for a long time, but I’m just not feeling satisfied by her books as romance novels any longer. And although I like mystery novels, I don’t like them as much as I like romance, and when I’m in the mood for a romance novel, I want romance.

Unfortunately, I think this means that it might be time for me to start passing on Krentz’s books when I want a romance.

All that said, this was still a good book. If you don’t mind light romance and lots of mystery and some suspense, you should give it a shot. :-)

Another Burning Cove Novel: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Tightrope book cover Amanda Quick’s Tightrope is another historical romantic suspense set in the early 1930s in Burning Cove.

The book came out in May and I finally read it a few weeks ago. I think I liked it best of the three books set in Burning Cove, and although I have a feeling this was the last one of that series, I’m kind of hoping not. I really wanted to see Luthor Pell get his own book. I don’t think that’s going to happen though. This book felt a little like closure.

In this one, I had a hard time getting used to Amalie’s name, but I liked her and reading the book felt like time well spent.

I miss the focus on the relationships that Quick’s books used to have, but all her books are still enjoyable. I will admit, I don’t re-read most of the newer books, but I do still revisit my Amanda Quick favorites. Some of that might be a change in focus in the books, and some of that might just be me. These days, it does feel like it takes something really special to feel new and fresh.

Tightrope by Amanda Quick

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 in this New York Times bestselling novel from Amanda Quick.

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.

If you want a copy, or just some more info, you can find it at Amazon.

Amanda Quick’s latest

I went on a bit of reading binge recently and caught up with Amanda Quick’s latest books. It was a binge I enjoyed very much, since Amanda Quick remains one of my favorite authors of historical romance and suspense.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Other Lady Vanishes are set in the 1930s which is a nice change. All the usual Amanda Quick touches are there, from the modern, forward-thinking heroine to the enlightened hero and an element of suspense. I know authors can’t stay in a rut forever, but I do miss Quick’s earlier heroes and more quirky heroines (such as Gideon and Harriet from Ravished, still one of my favorite books). These new ones are just a little too similar for me to enjoy to the fullest. On the other hand, having Oliver of The Girl Who Knew Too Much be a magician was different enough to be memorable. Burning Cove is the link between these two books, and it appears there’s another coming in May. Tightrope looks interesting so I’ll be keeping my eye out for it.

I also read ‘Til Death Do Us Part and it was my favorite of the three. Calista and Trent and the people around them felt more familiar to me than some of the Quick’s newer characters, and I liked that quite a lot.

If you’re a fan, and you haven’t read these yet, they’re worth the time. The links above will take you to Amazon if you want to know more.

In Too Deep by Jayne Ann Krentz, The Looking Glass Trilogy Book 1

In Too Deep (Jayne Ann Krentz) begins another trilogy within a series as part of the Arcane Society series from Krentz/Quick/Castle.

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In Too Deep Bookcover

Featuring Fallon Jones and Isabella Valdez, In Too Deep finally gives us a story about the much mentioned Fallon Jones from previous Arcane Society novels.  Isabella is likeable and fun, while Fallon is a strong, intense man who runs the Jones & Jones agency with strategic focus. Isabella is a good foil for Fallon’s more sober, methodical personality.

I enjoyed the mystery and romance in this one. The paranormal aspects were interesting too, but although the psychic nature of the characters of In Too Deep, like in all the Arcane Society books, are essential to the story line, they aren’t my favorite parts. The overly mystical way Krentz writes these parts of the book bog me down in details I don’t really care to know. That’s about the only negative I have to say about the book, and it is definitely a recommended read for anyone who likes Krentz’s style: great dialogue, clever humor, mystery suspense, and romance.

The books started off strong and interesting, bringing in characters from previous Arcane Society books in a supporting capacity without overwhelming this story. The end sets up the continuing saga of the Arcane Nightshade conspiracy but that’s something I’ve come to expect from these novels. Although each story ends in a satisfactory way, the ultimate conflict between Nightshade and Arcane continues to fuel more stories in the series.

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Series: An Arcane Society Novel

Next Book in the Series: The book is followed by Quicksilver with Jayne Krentz writing as Amanda Quick.

Previous Book in the Series: Midnight Crystal

Quicksilver looks to be an exciting follow up in the Looking Glass trilogy and I’m anxious to get my hands on the book. Although I generally don’t buy Jayne Ann Krentz novels in hardcover, I do buy Amanda Quick’s books for my personal library when I find them for sale at a bargain. So, here’s to some bargain hunting in my future as I await my chance to purchase Quicksilver by Amanda Quick in hardcover at a super bargain price. ;-) LOL.

Arcane Society Novels from Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle

The Arcane Society Series

Contemporary Setting
Book #5Jayne Ann Krentz weaves together historical, futuristic, and contemporary stories in her tales of the Arcane Society, writing as Jayne Ann Krentz and her pseudonym Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.

Click the image to buy or read reviews
bookcover image of The Perfect Poison bookcover image of The Third Circle bookcover image for Second Sight bookcover image for Running Hot, Jayne Krentz bookcover image of Sizzle and Burn bookcover image for White Lies

An interesting aside is that the newest Jayne Castle book, Dark Light, is set in the Harmony universe and as usual revolves around psychic ghosts and alien ruins. In it, there is a clear tie to the Arcane Society. So it’s not an Arcane Society book, but it’s definitely linked.

[Update: The link is complete. With Midnight Crystal, Jayne Castle’s books are now part of the Arcane Society novels.]

Second Sight

Historical Setting
Book #1

Like many other of Amanda Quick’s most recent historical romance novels, this particular book was heavy on the suspense plot and light on the romance. If that’s what you most like, then you’re going to be more than happy with this book. As for me, I’d rather have had the romance.

The thing I’ve always love most about Amanda Quick books is how much the hero needs the heroine, and how much the heroine needs the hero. That’s been lacking lately, but not just in Amanda Quick’s novels. Many authors have taken to writing more “mainstream” and less romanticism into their works. Lately, I’ve seen that trend in many Amanda Quick novels.

Gabriel was a great guy, but he wasn’t a particularly enthralling hero. Venetia was an interesting female, but she lacked much of the singularity that makes Quick’s heroines so appealing to me.

That’s not to say this was a bad book. It just wasn’t a great book. As the start of a series, this book was good. As a romance, it lacked the impact and emotionalism that I needed to completely enjoy the romance between Venetia and Gabriel. The book read quickly but it’s not one of the many Amanda Quick novels I’ll be rereading anytime soon.

White Lies

Contemporary Setting
Book #2

White Lies introduces the psychic detective agency J&J (Jones and Jones) and the Arcane Society into a contemporary 21st century setting. The second book in the Arcane Society series, White Lies is a fast-moving tale of romance and mystery as Claire Lancaster and Jake Salter try to discover who might be out to harm Claire and put the blame on her for murder.

Claire’s ability to tell truth from deception is all that saved her half sister from death at the hands of her husband eight months prior. Now Claire is back in Arizona at her father’s behest and she’s suddenly become the target of someone out for revenge. Jake Salter works for the psychic detective agency of J&J as a consultant using his psychic abilities to work a very important case. Claire wasn’t supposed to be a factor, but now she’s here and Jake has an immediate desire to get to know her very well indeed.

Jake is a somewhat less than politically correct hero with a take charge attitude and a talent for dealing with danger. I liked him enormously and think his attitude is mostly to blame. I prefer Amanda Quick’s historicals for this very reason usually, because I prefer the strong, take-charge heroes–at least those who have an equally strong appreciation for the heorine and her abilities.

Compared to Sizzle and Burn and Zack Jones, Jake Salter is much more my style. I’m sure this is one big reason why I prefered White Lies to the more recent addition Sizzle and Burn.

As for Claire, her take on lying is a key part of the story, and honestly, this is what made her such a great character. Krentz did a fabulous job of building Claire’s personality, not to mention the very visual descriptions. This was one heroine that stands out in my mind, and although I love Jayne Krentz’s and Amanda Quick’s heroines, even I can admit that sometimes there just isn’t that much to differentiate them. In this case, though, Claire is well-defined and memorable.

I liked White Lies, but I will warn you that this isn’t a character focused book. The focus stays firmly on the mystery and suspense plot. The romance is hot, but you won’t wonder if the characters will get together, only if they’ll survive to enjoy it.

Nevertheless, White Lies was an excellent and engaging read. Highly recommended.

Sizzle and Burn

Contemporary Setting
Book #3

Certainly not the strongest book of the series, Sizzle and Burn is nevertheless a nice read. I almost feel like I’m insulting JAK when I qualify any story she’s written as less than stellar, but the fact is, I compare everything she writes to the best of her works, and those best are spectacular indeed.

In this addition to the Arcane Society, Raine Tallentyre hears voices, but they’re all in her head. The voices of victims, murderers and the like lead her to save an intended victim of a serial killer who is locked in the basement of Raine’s desceased aunt’s home. Zack Jones is hired by the Arcane Society’s PI firm, J&J. He has visions. Together, Zack and Raine must figure out the mystery surrounding the death of Raine’s aunt. Woven throughout is the continuing arc of the founder’s formula and the dark organization that’s developed a way to produce and use the psychic energy enhancing drug.

Although the two leads in this story were intriguing, the plot was a little flat and the twists seem to come out of nowhere, with little to tie it all together. However, I can’t stand to read a series and skip a book, and the rest of the books in this series certainly make it hard to pass any new addition to the tales of the Arcane Society.

There’s some interesting byplay between Zack and Raine that gives the book a readability factor that might have been missing otherwise. A weak plot for Krentz but an entertaining read anyway.

The Third Circle

Historical Setting
Book #4

The Third Circle is my favorite historical entry in the Arcane Society books. I liked Second Sight, but I didn’t love it, not the way I usually love Amanda Quick’s novels. This book dealt much more heavily with the romance between the characters, Leona Hewitt and Thaddeus Ware.

Leona is can work psychic energy through crystal and Thaddeus is a strong mesmerist. Leona is mostly immune to his psychic powers, and that’s a great thing for Thaddeus, since his abilities have made it difficult for him to find love.

They meet when they both happen to be looking for a very special crystal and end up standing over the dead body of a woman who appears to have become the latest victim of The Midnight Monster.

This book had both a mystery and a romance that entertwined nicely. I enjoyed Leona’s spirit, and Thaddeus is an intriguing hero.

I learned more about the mysterious Mr. Pierce and Adam in this book, and although they aren’t my favorite characters (they often bring out a little too much womens’ lib preachiness in Amanda Quick’s writing), I found that in this book, they started to grow on me—somewhat.

My only complaint about this one was that I wanted a bigger ending. I won’t say too much about that to avoid spoiling the book for another reader, but I thought Leona’s powers could have been used much more effectively at the end so that I could have the big ending I wanted. Ravished and other older Amanda Quick novels have very well done high-impact endings. That’s what I would have liked to have seen here.

This is a book I could enjoy rereading.

Running Hot

Contemporary Setting
Book #5

The Perfect Poison

Historical Setting
Book #6

There’s a video book trailer for The Perfect Poison, although it’s not one of the best. I enjoyed this book a lot, and in a way it reminded me of an earlier Amanda Quick book, Wicked Widow, because in both books the heroine is believed to be involved in wicked deeds.

Fired Up

Contemporary Setting / Hawaii
Book #7
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #1

Burning Lamp

Historical Setting
Book #8
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #2

Midnight Crystal

Futuristic/Paranormal Setting
Book #9
Dreamlight Trilogy Book #3

In Too Deep

Contemporary Setting
Book #10
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #1

Quicksilver

Historical Setting
Book #11
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #2

Canyons of Night

Futuristic/Paranormal Setting
Book #12
Looking Glass Trilogy Book #3