Reviewed by Tori
Amanda Quick’s second Burning Cove installment takes us back to the opulent world of Hollywood stars and roaring 30s when Adelaide Blake escapes a sanitarium only to discover a vast conspiracy of drugs, blackmail, and murder surrounding her false confinement. Unable to trust anyone for help in finding out the reasons behind her confinement, she finds herself relying more and more on a new arrival in Burning Cove, Jake Trulett, whose sudden appearance in her life isn’t as coincidental as he’d like it to seem. From psychics to reclusive movie stars, Adelaide and Jake follow the trail of clues to a killer who will do anything to achieve his final goal.
I’ve been a fan of Quick’s/Krentz/Castle for years. I adore everything she writes from her historicals to her sci-fi fantasies. Her latest venture has a strong crime noir feel to it with it’s glamorous Hollywood resort setting, secretive cast, and a convoluted mystery. Heavily character driven, Quick sets the stage and character base right off the bat, letting us know who are the villains and what has happened. Now we just wait for Adelaide and Jake to discover the hows and whys as Quick tosses in some devious twists and turns to keep the suspense and danger at defcon 12. The pacing is steady and Quick is adapt at changing narratives on the “quick” that allow for no confusion. Though the mystery holds court, the resulting romance is a nice side item that bolsters the story and catches the reader’s’ attention.
Adelaide Blake escaped from Rushbrook sanitorium where she had been committed against her will by her husband, Conner Massey, for her inheritance. Drugged and abused, bided her time and managed to escape during a violent storm. Now a waitress at an exclusive tea room, Refresh, she makes exclusive tisanes and teas while hiding in plain sight. Scared of her husband and/or sanitarium’s director will find her, Adelaide invests in some self protection and keeps to herself.
Jake Truett is in Burning Cove on the advice of his doctor after his wife’s suicide. A former importer/exporter whom rumor says has walked on the dark side, he finds himself drawn to Adelaide, especially after she puts him in his place during a conversation at the tea shop. A reluctant hero with a side agenda, Jakes protective instincts go into hyperdrive when he realises Adelaide may be in danger.
Their romance builds slowly as Adelaide naturally is very low on trust concerning men and Jake’s wife’s recent death. Their investigation in to Adelaide’s past allows them plenty of leeway to get to know one another and build on the chemistry that is simmering between them without hopping straight into bed. Their quick wit and prickly bickering was fun to watch and made for some laugh out loud moments. The sexual tension eventually gives way to a deeper intimacy once this couple exercises their individual demons; freeing themselves from their ghosts of the past.
A cast of eclectic characters keeps the momentum flowing as you try yourself to figure out what is exactly going on. Familiar faces from book one, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, infiltrate the storyline with updates on their lives and to offer their friend help as needed. Some characters come out loud and strong while others hide their true motives; only to reveal at the last moment. They definitely keeps the reader guessing. A small secondary mystery and romance pops in and out though it reads as a set up to introduce readers to the next power couple. The mystery behind Adelaide’s commitment and the murders resolves in an energetic and shocking manner with some interesting subplots.
Though at times I felt at times the novel was a little too verbose and formulaic, reminiscent of her Arcane Society storylines, The Other Lady Vanishes does engages your attention. I am looking forward to the third novel in the series, which I hope involves a certain PI and nightclub owner.