I have long been a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz, especially her science fiction romance novels written as Jayne Castle. They are consistently fun and entertaining, and how can you not enjoy books with darling animals like the dust bunnies? If you haven’t read any of them, imagine a dust ball that purrs, with bright blue eyes and paws. Absolutely darling.
Alice North has had a trying few years. With her wealthy ex-mother-in-law making her life miserable over the unexplained death of her son, Alice has basically been on the run, changing jobs and names to try and survive. Drake Sebastian, on the other hand, is from a wealthy, well-established family with what seems to be the largest company ever at his beck and call. Drake needs Alice’s help to get back Alien crystal artifacts, the Keys, on Rainshadow Island. And he convinces her to marry him, to keep her ex-mother-in-law off her back (yes, his family really is that powerful and influential).
For those who have not read any of this series, there are two different types of marriages – covenant marriages (CMs) and marriages of convenience (MCs). A MC is just that – a (usually temporary) contract that binds a couple together and is relatively simple to break out of. A CM is much more formal, and generally considered to be unbreakable – those that do divorce are subject to huge monetary payments and general social stigma as a result. Alice and her former husband had a MC. And now, Alice has one again with Drake.
Now that she has the legal assistance from a MC with Drake, Alice is able to go with him to Rainshadow in search of these keys, but there is more at stake than either of them know. Rainshadow has been becoming more and more unstable, and is now a psi hot-spot ready to explode. Drake’s brother and the town sheriff have gone missing, there are people lost on the island, mutated cockroaches, and goodness knows what else. The people in the small town are unable to leave, and then Alice finds a dead body – the ultimate locked-room murder mystery.
I really enjoyed the blend of sci-fi, murder mystery and the paranormal that the author presented. Everything fit together and made sense. The paranormal aspects were particularly interesting – those with psi talent have it manifest in vastly different ways, even those whose talents are of the same variety. Alice’s light-psi can help her go invisible, while Drake is able to see things others can’t with his vision. There’s a lot of variance, which makes sense since psi-abilities are based on genetics. The way it was portrayed made psi talents basically part of the norm – just another ability someone could have, not something particularly unusual. The fact that is just part of the everyday makes it that much more believable.
There were only two things that really bothered me, the first being just how much everyone seemed to know, even though there is no evidence (for the reader at least) to base the assumptions on. For example, at one point Drake is explaining holograms a group is watching, specifically what is going on in them, but his descriptions go so much deeper than what the group actually watches. I was confused. Also, the slang got a little overwhelming for me. I know that it is part of this universe, and the characters simply use terms like “rezzing” as part of their language, but that doesn’t mean I know what it means. Slang and language use is tricky like that, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a Harmony-to-English dictionary.
I would definitely recommend Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz) for a good sci-fi romance, and this one fits well into the universe she has created. I think because of the blend of genres, this would definitely appeal to those new to the sci-fi universe. especially those who enjoy mysteries.