Die in Plain Sight
After Running Scared, an underwhelming second entry in the Rarities series, Elizabeth Lowell returns with Die in Plain Sight, a more enjoyable book.
Lacey Quinn, artist and co-owner of an antique shop, inherits some paintings from her grandfather. Convinced of her grandfather’s talent, Lacey takes the paintings to renowned artist Susa Donovan (fans of Lowell’s Donovan series will recognize the matriarch of the family). Susa immediately recognizes the talent in the paintings and selects them for a charity art show. The disturbing paintings, done in a style reminiscent of a famous, dead painter, immediately draw attention from Ward Forrest, billionaire and practically the don of the area.
As a painter, Lacey grew up feeling totally different than her society/fashion-conscious mother and found true kinship with her artistic grandfather. She is determined to get him the recognition that she believes he deserves, even it is posthumously and against her family’s wishes. Her agonizing process of choosing which paintings to submit to the charity show illustrates how much she cares. Lacey’s uneasy relationship with her family contrasts with the friendship she forms wuth Susa. Not only do they become friends, but there is a nice mother/daughter vibe to their relationship.
Lacey’s grandfather’s paintings attract attention that turns deadly after people start breaking into her hotel room to steal them. Ian Lapstrake, Rarities Unlimited’s top security expert, is assigned to protect Susa. He ends up protecting Lacey as well, and one of those unexplainable, immediate, and potent attractions springs up between them. Their attraction is leavened with humor; Lacey’s quips to Ian (and Susa) made me giggle several times.
At one point, Lacey says Ian should come with warning labels – a good assessment of his character. He’s likable and almost easy-going, but he’s very good at what he does. When it comes to protecting Susa and Lacey, he’s all business, but when he’s with Lacey, he’s all heat. Alone each is likable enough, but together as a couple Ian and Lacey are even better.
Susa’s role here was larger than I expected, but very welcome. Another surprisingly enjoyable sub-plot was that between a divorced couple – Bliss Forrest and Rory Turner. Bliss is Ward’s fiftyish daughter, and Rory is not only her ex-husband, but Ward’s heir apparent and the county sheriff. Bliss is a poor little rich girl who becomes interesting when she is with Rory. Their unusual relationship is nice. Bliss’ brother and father also play a large secondary role, but they are less interesting, particularly her father, who seems to have come straight from Central Casting.
What I liked so much about this book was the interaction between Lacey, Ian, and Susa; their witty dialogue continually made me giggle. Far less enjoyable was the predictability of the suspense. The connection between Lacey’s grandfather and the famous, dead artist is easily made, and the villain’s identity is incredibly obvious. In fact, I thought that person was a red herring because that’s what the obvious suspect usually is. Nope, not here.
Despite the predictability of those two aspects, I found myself up late reading several nights to finish this one. If you weren’t a fan of Lowell’s previous book in this series, you might give this one a try. I’m glad I did.