Friday, September 1, 2017

Jayne Ann Krentz - Light in Shadow

Zoe Luce is a successful interior designer in the Arizona town of Whispering Springs who's developed an unusual career specialty-helping recently divorced clients redesign their homes, to help them forget the past and start anew. But Zoe knows that some things can't be covered up with a coat of paint. And when she senses that one of her clients may be hiding a dark secret, she enlists P.I. Ethan Truax to find the truth. Working together, they solve the mystery . . . and barely escape with their lives. 
But Ethan's exquisite detection skills are starting to backfire on Zoe: she never wanted to let him find out about her former life; she never wanted to reveal her powerful, inexplicable gift for sensing the history hidden within a house's walls; she never wanted him to know that ""Zoe Luce"" doesn't really exist. She never wanted to fall in love with him. Now, no matter how much she resists, Ethan may be her only hope-because the people she's been running from have found her. 
And just when Zoe dares to dream of a normal life and a future with the man she loves, her own past starts to shadow her every step-and threatens to take her back into a nightmare.

Comment: The last book I've read was this title by Jayne Ann Krentz. I still remember I bought it in its Portuguese translation at a book fair in 2008 when I was still at the university. Along with this, I bought 3 more titles by the author, still in the list to be read. Since I managed to read all the books I wanted for August, I just randomly picked this one too, to complete my month.

In this book we have Zoe Luce's story, she's an interior designer who only wants to do a good job and life her life in peace. Her problem is she has a very sensitive reaction to older things and spaces where harsh or powerful things happened meaning she can feel if something bad happened in a room or a house and that isn't always pleasant in her line of work. The problem leads her to Ethan Truax, a private investigator, so he can investigate one of her clients, a recently divorced man Zoe thinks might have been involved in the disappearance of his ex-wife.
As Ethan proves to be a unique person, Zoe gets more and more involved with him which proves handy when her past comes back to haunt her...

I admit I haven't read much by this author when she uses her own name. I've loved many novels she wrote under her Amanda Quick pen name, meaning her historicals, and even some fantasy ones with the Jayne Castle name. I remember one or two contemporary Krentz' but those didn't leave such a big impression so I put her aside as a possible author to follow. 

This title has been in the pile for a long time but I can confess I actually liked reading it. I don't think I'd ever consider it the best ever but it provided entertainment and that was already very positive.
The plot revolves around an apparent simple investigation but the characters' lives get in the middle and that prompts more situations to deal with. When compared to other contemporaries, maybe it can become a bit obvious this is a book written in the beginning of the decade and some time has passed already (15 years already) which makes some situations quite dated but not to the point where one couldn't still enjoy.

I've read this book in my mother language, Portuguese, which obviously means some details in terms of linguistics are lost in translation but the overall impression I got it that the plot/romance dichotomy wasn't as woven together or as complex as I imagined it could be. Everything felt rather easy and although discussed, it was still a little bit too superficial for my taste.
Maybe, like I said, it was a matter of reading with a translated flavor after being used to english most of the time.

The plot has its moments, some situations are interesting and Zoe's past has an experience I imagined could have been focused on more but it was just another detail. Even final explanations when the book was ending didn't seem to be such an important element as that which was a pity, it was something I'd have liked to see developed more.
The secondary characters were interesting enough. Some were there just to justify some plot needs but those closest to the main characters were explored well enough, except one, Arcadia, a friend of Zoe who is too much of a mystery. This wouldn't matter if some details about her weren't presented the way they were but...imagination works too, I guess.

The romance wasn't as complex as I imagined. It was certainly nice to see both Zoe and Ethan had inner characteristics that not only complemented one another but those traits were easily understandable and defended and somewhat approved by the other, meaning they were a good match. I liked this side of them but yes, their relationship developed quickly at first and I felt it lacked some seriousness towards the end. I suppose the next book shows a stronger connection between them but what a pity for those who don't want to read more. I'm still debating that.
Overall, this was a positive mystery book, not the most complex or complicated one for sure, but it was easy to read and to spend time with.
Grade: 7/10

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