REVIEW: The Bride Wore White by Amanda Quick
A psychic desperate to escape her destiny—and a killer—finds her future in the coastal town of Burning Cove in New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick’s latest novel.
Being Madame Ariadne, Psychic Dream Consultant, wasn’t Prudence Ryland’s ideal gig, but it paid well which was reason enough to do the work—until she realizes that her latest client intends to kill her. But Prudence, a master at reinvention, finds a new job and home as far away as possible and is finally able to relax—which turns out to be a big mistake. Letting her guard down means being kidnapped and drugged and waking up in a bloodstained wedding dress in the honeymoon suite next to a dead man. With the press outside the hotel, waiting with their cameras and police sirens in the distance, it’s obvious she’s being framed for the man’s murder. Prudence knows who is responsible, but will anyone believe her?
It doesn’t seem likely that rumored crime boss Luther Pell or his associate, Jack Wingate, believe her seemingly outrageous claims of being a target of a ruthless vendetta. In fact, Prudence is convinced that the mysterious Mr. Wingate believes her to be a fraud at best, and at worst: a murderer. And Jack Wingate does seem to be someone intimately familiar with violence, if going by his scarred face and grim expression. So no one is more shocked than Prudence when Jack says he’ll help her. Of course, his ideas for helping her involve using her as the bait for a killer, but Prudence feels oddly safe with Jack protecting her. But who will protect Prudence from her growing fascination with this enigma of a man?
Dear Ms Quick,
Years ago I finally got on the bandwagon and read and enjoyed one of your historical novels then promptly fell off that bandwagon again. Then I tried the first book in this series and … it didn’t work well for me. I’m pretty sure it was the over the top set up for Prudence’s problems that made me think “this sounds weird enough to be interesting” but here I am for another go at a Burning Cove book.
What a startling opening. Our heroine, a dream reading psychic, immediately knows that the client who is sitting in front of her wants to kill her and that without a doubt he’s killed many more victims because he enjoys their pain and terror. Well, all rightie then. Except, pretty soon Prudence has taken care of the situation even if she didn’t foresee that the client would collapse (from a stroke? who knows) but at least she calls for an ambulance so the guy is out of her house. And that appears to be the end of this awesome start.
Then some months later, after she’s begun to set up her new life in Southern California, she gets kidnapped at work and set up as the killer of another prominent man, waking beside a corpse in a fancy hotel wearing a lavish wedding dress. She neatly escapes that situation but heads for help instead of trying to flee again. Meanwhile I’m wondering how many dead men will there be in Prudence’s life.
After she enlists the aid of a man with suspected contacts with the criminal underworld, he sets her up with someone who isn’t exactly going to investigate who the mysterious kidnapper is. No Jack Wingate just puts information together and makes predictions. He also decides to set Prudence out as bait for the real killer. Oh, and the dead man’s crazy mother, too. Prudence and Jack spend most of the appointment sniping at each other which Luther Pell appears to find entertaining. They continue this long after it ceases to interest me. In fact the first 40% of the book is mainly about these two verbally poking each other to get a reaction.
Meanwhile — there’s still a killer out there!!
Then just when I am about to conclude that perhaps this series just isn’t for me – things start to come together and the plot takes off. Finally and yay.
Jack is convinced that this is a case of revenge. He’s been working on a new way to try to figure out the identity of criminals. He’s got a long way of explaining it to Prudence who calls him on it and says it’s little more than psychic intuition but basically it’s profiling. Jack never does tell Prudence about the chimes he hears in his head sometimes (and sometimes not) which tell him that someone is lying or telling the truth or that something is important. The cause for the chimes seems to vary depending on what Jack needs to pay attention to at any time during the book.
His idea to get Prudence out in public pays off and soon they’re swimming in toxic people with multiple reasons for revenge against everyone else. But who did it and why? And will Prudence survive to discover those answers?
I almost threw in the towel on this book. I was thatclose. Most of the (long) scene of Prudence and Jack during their first meeting was sniping and sarcasm. Then after they head to Jack’s house they finally shake that off and begin to talk to each other instead of *at* each other. Things improve dramatically at that point.
There are a lot of characters in the book and most of them are horrible people. Some have been turned into revenge seeking monsters due to things that some of the other characters did to them but still. Pick almost anyone in the story, throw a dart at them, and there is a motive to dislike them. At first I couldn’t figure out how the initial scene ties in with everything else but eventually things started to make sense. The twists began to come and I started homing in on reasons and opportunities. I didn’t guess one major thing but did end up guessing the ultimate villain.
This turned out to be a “fun to play at home” murder mystery investigation. The clues are there and they are sprinkled along the way rather than being dumped at the end. I didn’t feel cheated of the chance to figure things out nor was I blindsided by something not mentioned. One thing that I wish had been stronger was a sense of place and time. This is supposed to be glamorous and ritzy 1930s Los Angeles but I rarely felt that. I doubt I’d go back and read the other books in the series but I’m glad I stuck with this one. B-