Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: After Dark by Jayne Castle

Title: After Dark
Series: Harmony
Author: Jayne Castle
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 5, 2000
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 051512902X
ISBN-13: 9780515129021

Life is tough these days for Lydia Smith, licensed para-archaeologist. Seriously stressed-out from a nasty incident in an alien tomb, she is obliged to work in Shrimpton’s House of Ancient Horrors, a very low-budget museum. She has a plan to get her career back on track, but it isn’t going well. Stuff keeps happening.

Take the dead body that she discovered in the sarcophagus exhibit. Who needed that? Finding out that her new client, Emmett London, is one of the most dangerous men in the city isn’t helping matters either. And that’s just today’s list of setbacks. Here in the shadows of the Dead City of Old Cadence, things don’t really heat up until After Dark.

My rating:

What a great start (real one) of the Harmony series. Wonderful introduction into the world, the history, and paranormal elements. And despite the fact it’s set in a foreign planet, in the (distant?) future, and the inhabitants all have paranormal abilities, it still reads like a pretty straightforward romance (almost contemporary, if you ignore certain para/sci-fi terms). It has murder, it has romance, it has danger, it has an explosive attraction, it has mystery and intrigue, it has sex, it has a pet, it has a tall-dark-and-dangerous hero, a stubborn heroine (that is, in true JAK/AQ/JC style, a little bitchy sometimes)...

And it also has a sequel. Does it need it? Yes, because there are two parallel stories going on. One is the current case (which is ‘solved’ at the end of the first story) and the second is the backstory that still needs an explanation—what happened to Lydia six months ago to make her experience her Lost Weekend, when she came to in the middle of the alien catacombs without her amber. Had she truly been reckless or had someone tried to get rid of her?

And yes, it also needs a sequel, because the romance isn’t ‘done’ yet. And well, I’ve grown rather fond of Emmett, though I still think he could’ve found someone less argumentative, biased, and bitchy that Lydia. I truly hope she’ll grow up a bit in the next book.

Anyway, this was a great start to the series and I’m an even bigger fan of it and the world as before.


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