Trust No One
In Trust No One Ms. Krentz once more leaves the Arcane Society behind and delves into the realm of romantic suspense. Combining past and present, small towns and big cities, she delivers an interesting if not intense tale of romance and suspense.
When her boss is unexpectedly AWOL, Grace Elland goes to his home to check on him. What she finds completely stuns her. It is clear the popular motivational speaker – founder of The Witherspoon Way positive thinking seminars – has been shot. Next to his lifeless body is a vodka bottle. For Grace, that vodka bottle is like a fingerprint from hell. When she was just sixteen she had found another dead body next to another vodka bottle. Like the last time she finds herself picking up the bottle, prepared to use it as a weapon if need be. This time she has no unpleasant encounters on her way out of the mansion. Dealing with the police after she calls 911 is plenty unpleasant though. It’s clear that her boss had only a handful of important people in his life. It is equally clear that as one of those people – and as the person to find the body – Grace is high on their suspect list for the murder. That is far from her only problem though.
Before joining The Witherspoon Way Grace had been adrift on her career path. This was the first job she had held on to for a decent period of time and more importantly, the first which had made her feel she was really contributing to the company’s success. It had been Grace who developed the cookbook and the daily affirmations which had made The Witherspoon Way so popular. However, unless she wants to work for the competition (she doesn’t) or start her own seminars (no), her skill set will have to find a new niche to fit in to. Determined to do that in a lower rent district than Seattle, Grace heads to her mom’s cabin in the small town of Cloud Lake in the hopes of finding inspiration at the tranquil setting.
Her tranquility is seriously challenged when she goes to an old friend’s for dinner and finds herself on an extremely awkward blind date. Venture-capitalist Julius Arkwright might be a very interesting person but he is also intense and driven, two things that Grace definitely isn’t. He is also very organized and plan oriented – two things that might just help Grace when it comes to figuring out what she wants to do with her life. After a bit of negotiating the two work out a deal where Julius will help Grace figure out how to go about finding a new career and she will whip him up some tasty meals. Given Julius’ propensity for making a success of everything, they are both convinced this will be very mutually satisfying. But there is a killer on the loose who has their eye firmly trained on Grace. And they have no intention of letting Julius get in the way.
This is a pleasant cozy style mystery. While there are eerie undertones throughout, the book for the most part focuses on the romance. Much of what the villain does is better described as nasty pranks than actual harassment or harm. A great deal of the emotional damage done is because of the tie-in to the past.
Julius and Grace are mostly content to let the police and other professionals track the killer. Their focus is each other, the routine of their lives and coming up with a plan for Grace’s career. For Krentz fans, the characters follow a familiar pattern. Julius is very like Sam Stark from Trust Me or Dr. Harry Stratton Trevelyan from Absolutely, Positively. Grace reminded me very much of Charity Truitt from Deep Waters or really any of many other Krentz heroines. She’s a creative, free thinking waif with a heart of gold.
What was difficult about the book for me was the mystery. Grace’s ingénue style character made her seem overly naïve when it came to dealing with the whodunit aspect of the story. I had pretty much figured out one of the key players by the second chapter; it takes her and Julius quite a bit longer. I could almost accept that but I struggled with the police not locking on to this person right away. There was just no excuse for that. Additionally, the big reveal at the end with the – there’s no other word for it- deranged and delusional person at the center of it was a bit distracting. Someone that deranged wouldn’t have pulled off the image they had managed for the rest of the story.
Which doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book. I did. This is a pleasant novel with a sweet romance. It might be a bit predictable for a long time fan but since this is a skilled author part of that predictability includes a well written product. If you like your romantic suspense cozy, I think you’ll find it quite enjoyable but those looking for a gritty romantic suspense tale would be best advised to keep looking.