REVIEW: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.
Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…
With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…
Dear Amanda Quick,
I was very surprised when I found this book under your Amanda Quick’s name on Amazon Vine, since it isn’t a Regency romance/mystery. But of course I ordered it and decided to review it here as well.
In my opinion this is not a romance, this is a mystery with romantic elements, but just as in many of your books there is a couple who is gets together at the end of the story and has a happy ending, so I understand if other readers would classify this as a Romance. It is a matter of degree – just how much space you think a romantic storyline should occupy compared to a mystery one.
I thought that the main couple were mostly investigating a mystery, fell in love very quickly, and at the end of the book decided to be together forever.
We meet Irene Glasson in the very beginning of the story when she is still named Anna and is working as a private secretary to a wealthy New York socialite. Anna comes home to find her employer, whom she liked and respected, has been brutally murdered. Her employer’s last message to her is written in blood and says Run. Anna indeed runs, all the way to California, and that’s where we meet her four months later as Irene. She works for gossip rag now, and apparently she has come to Burning Cove to chase a story about rising movie star Nick Tremayne. When she comes to the hotel to meet the woman who promised to spill her guts about Nick, Irene discovers her dead body, and she also feels that someone is watching her as well and is ready to kill her.
The owner of the hotel, the infamous Oliver Ward, is intrigued by Irene. First and foremost he wants to protect his guests, but Oliver tells Irene that if somebody in his hotel killed this woman he won’t protect the murderer. Although they are mistrustful of each other, Oliver and Irene begin to work together to solve the mystery, and the count of dead women starts to increases quickly.
Surprise, the dead women seem to all be connected to Nick Tremayne in one way or another. Nick is a womanizer who seems to have only short hookups. Is he (or more precisely the people from the Studio who clean up his messes) making sure that his former liaisons disappear forever? Do these women know something really terrible about his past? Is Nick involved at all? As she tries to answer these questions Irene herself is getting into more and more dangerous situations and it is clear that her life is in danger too.
I found this story compulsively readable. I badly wanted to find out who did it. We find out who killed Irene’s employer very early on; I am not going to reveal who they are but I don’t think saying we know is a spoiler. I thought the red herrings were pretty good and I was almost convinced that one of those people was the murderer, so good job keeping me guessing. We don’t know who killed all these other people almost until the end of the book and I did not guess that killer at all. It was easy in retrospect to understand their motivations, but I did not think the clues and foreshadowing to the second killer’s identity worked that well.
Basically, the second killer was doing things in large part because they had a past connection with one of the characters. My problem was that the second killer and that character were only shown to interact on page couple of times. Unfortunately I did not buy that someone with a past similar to these characters would interact with the other person that way.
As I stated before, I thought that the romantic storyline was less important than the mystery one, but I still liked Oliver and Irene both together and separately. I want to note that one of the things I liked about Irene is that even when she accepted Oliver’s help with her investigation, she did not forget that she could still rely on her own wits as well.
I have to admit that there was one thing I missed in this book so very much – humor. Of course this is not a light-hearted book in the same way as Amanda Quick’s early books were, and I did not expect humor and laughter on every page or even every other page, but I would have loved to see more humorous touches .