We expect a lot of JAK. As a talented writer, she is expected to maintain a certain standard by her devoted fans, and I suppose we tend to be a bit critical when we don’t think she is writing her best. Sharp Edges is not a book that is up to JAK’s best, at least in my mind, for many reasons.
First, I’d like to start with the positive. JAK has created two wonderful characters – perhaps her best yet. Eugenia Swift is the director of a renowned glass museum in Seattle. She is arrogantly skilled at her job and enjoys it immensely. I found her to be a wonderfully confident character – strong and aggressive, and completely secure in whom she is. Her counterpart, Cyrus Chandler Colfax, an owner of a security company that specializes in art protection, is equally likeable. He, like most of JAK’s heroes, is alone in the world, but refreshingly doesn’t have much baggage despite his past. He is just as confident and capable as Eugenia, and is not put off by her strength.
The book takes place on a small northwestern island. Eugenia is officially there to catalog a glass collection donated by a recently deceased collector. She is also unofficially looking into a friend’s disappearance. Cyrus is officially looking into the collector’s death, but unofficially searching for the "Hades Cup", a supposedly nonexistent artifact. There is also an ex-partner out to get the cup as well, a US congressman being blackmailed, a dead body, counterfeit paintings… you get the picture.
Which leads to why this book did not get a higher rating. There was so much going on. I felt cheated that I didn’t get to know these two people who were the most likeable JAK characters yet. So much so that this book is almost not a romance. The lead characters are together throughout most of the book, but they are spending more time on the mystery than on getting to know one another. There is not enough relationship development to convince me that these are people destined to be together for a lifetime. That, and a suspicious lack of sex. Only twice in a JAK book? What is this world coming to?
I realize that many popular romance authors are trying to go mainstream, so that their books will appeal to a wider audience. But in doing so, in this book anyway, JAK seems to be leaving her romance fans behind. This book is priced high enough that for me to shell out that kind of cash, there had better be some quality stuff between those covers. Although JAK added more humorous bantering between the hero and the heroine than in any of her other contemporaries, that didn’t sell the book for me. All in all, I would say that Sharp Edges is a good staple read. Not her best, and therefore, I would wait for the paperback.