REVIEW: White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz
Dear Ms. Krentz:
As stated by you, White Lies represents a move toward the consolidation of your books under one name. Previously your futuristic novels were published under the nom de plume, Jayne Castle. The Arcane Society, an alternate reality world inhabited by people with psychic abilities, was originally introduced in historicals written by you as Amanda Quick. While the Arcane Society world was readable, it certainly wasn’t my favorite Quick books for the basic reason that I was reading your stories for your deft characterizations and quick wit and not for the otherworldly aspects. Unfortunately, White Lies has the feel of a stale story with retread plot and characters and only a bit of your trademark wit making the otherworldly aspects seem on the wrong side of the ridiculous.
Clare Lancaster is an off the charts member of the Arcane Society who’s psychic ability is to read lies. She’s been summoned by her father, Archer Glazebrook, for a meeting at the family manse. Clare is not a regular member of the family, rather she is the product of an affair Archer had with Clare’s mother during a turbulent time in Archer’s marriage. Once there, Clare becomes the focus of a possible murder investigation along with a potential target for the real murderer.
Clare has a good relationship with her half sister, Elizabeth, an uneasy one with father, Archer, and an uncomfortable one with Arthur’s wife, Myra. She arrives and meets Jack Salter who is a hunter masquerading as a consultant. Jack is a freelancer with the Jones & Jones, an investigative ageny that’s purpose is to ensure that no one can obtain the formula that can create the super psychic.
The fantasy construct is told in shorthand, i.e., how the formula actually works is never explained; how the psychic abilities are limited; i.e., at one point Clare exhibits a psychic ability that was not in her repertoire at any previous point. The suspense rests on one in a million cooncidences and I think I am just tired of the Arcane Society. The villian was so obvious I felt like a big neon arrow was pointing over his head like a marquee on Broadway or on the strip. The suspense plot was wrapped up neatly and all the problems, even Myra’s issue with Clare, is resolved.
I also thought the sequel baiting was quite heavy handed. Again, string up the big neon sign. Fallon Jones and all the other men in the Jones organization will be having books in the future. Stay tuned dear readers. I’ve included a few paragraphs to show you how exciting his book, in hardcover, to come out next year, will be. Okay, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
My emotional response to this one was “when will this book be over” and “boy I was glad this was short.” Today, the fiction shelves are burgeoning with alternate reality stories and the fully realized worlds that these authors are bringing into the romance genre means that readers don’t have to settle for the wall paper worldbuilding that may have been acceptable even five years ago. Maybe its the case of reading so many other innovative world building constructs and reading so many better suspense novels but this book seemed like it was an amateur effort compared to what you’ve written in the past and what is being published in terms of speculative romance today. My recommendation for readers would be to skip this one and re-read All Night Long which was one of the best Krentz work in years. D.
I love JAK in all her pseudonyms. I even have the early Stephanie James books. But you’re right when you say this didn’t bring anything fresh to the table–either for her or for paranormals. However, I suspect that there are many readers out there who enjoy the comfort of a familiar author voice/story and who won’t complain that this is a less-than-original offering from her. And who will, in fact, avidly look forward to the sequel. I would guess that’s somewhat the appeal of her, you know what you’re going to get, no huge surprises.
And yes, I still glom her with each new release :)
She’s only writing for her loyal fan base at this point in her career. The last Krentz I read was Sharp Edges and that was awful. I remember not finishing it. Loved her Quick titles but I read them once every 5 years or something like that. Never really cared for her contemporary voice much.
Ouch. I had been looking forward to this, but not if it’s a retread. Thanks for letting me know.
Ack, I hope they don’t overbuy psychic stuff like they did vampires. I’m just finishing mine!
With three Arcane Society novels published so far, boy, AM I GLAD my local library stocks her novels. For the last 3 years I NEVER buy any of her books without reading them first. For the past two years, I have only bought All night long, though I have bought some of her old books second-hand. She needs to come up with fresh ideas, though I supposed her extremely busy schedule prevents her from actually coming up with a new plot for her novels.