Series: Arcane Society, Looking Glass Trilogy
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Read copy: eBook
Published: December 28, 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It’s a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.
When she starts working as Fallon’s assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office and doesn’t bat an eye at the psychic element of his job. She’s a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness. But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business…and Isabella’s family tree.
I have a problem lately with the contemporaries in this series. I don't know why, there seems to be something missing. Don't ask me what, it's just a feeling. That doesn't mean I don't like books written by JAK, and that especially doesn't mean I didn't like this book. Because I did. A lot, I just wish it was written by her alter ego, I think it would've worked better as a historical.
Why? Because it had a rather Old World feel to me. First with Fallon's impeccable manners, his being a little of a throw-back into the Victorian era (the guy carried around a handkerchief, for crying out loud), second with Isabella - she too seemed a bit out of place in the particular time, and third with the setting, isolated, special...It all felt a bit Victorian, if you ask me. That's why everything else seemed a bit jarring when it intruded in this special, little world. The suspense, the intrigue, the change of setting...Somehow it didn't quite gel.
It wasn't the suspense that made this book work - though it wasn't bad, once I got past the "intrusion", but it were the two leads. In my opinion, this was the first Arcane contemporary, that concentrated more on the two leads than the suspense and the mystery. And it worked. I've been waiting for Fallon's story since the beginning. I was fascinated by this reclusive, mysterious character living like a hermit somewhere "in the wild". And I wasn't disappointed when his story has finally been told. From the beginning of the series I've been watching him through the eyes of others, now he finally got a voice of his own, and the recounting of others didn't do him justice. He was this utterly misunderstood soul, everybody thought he was going nuts, becoming a conspiracy theorist of the worst kind, and it took a real conspiracy theorist to enlighten Fallon and the rest of his family and coworkers, that the guy was as sane as they come, relying on logic and detective work to fuel his "conspiracy theories" instead of guess-work and blind luck.
Yep, it took a special woman to show the reader, Fallon and the world, just what a special kind of guy this hero was.
The rest was pretty much predictable - the romance part, I mean, since it was obvious in that one scene in Fired Up just where Fallon and Isabella were heading romance-wise. It's such a cliché, the whole boy-meets-girl-boy-falls-for-girl-and-vice-versa and its paranormal twist (their abilities are completely compatible, so thy must be soul-mates) even more so, but it works. Every single time it works.
The only unpredictable thing in this book was the suspense. The villain came out of the left field, the Nightshade is back in business (I've forgotten about them), and the Bridewell curiosities were a nice touch (I hope to read more about them in the second book in this trilogy). But the suspense was just a side-dish, a garnish for the story of Fallon and Isabella.