REVIEW: Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Dear Ms. Krentz:
I think that my favorite books of yours are the not the paranormals but since you’ve decided to go all paranormal all the time, I’ve just got to suck it up or stop reading you. So am sucking it up because apparently you are a drug I just can’t quit.
The premise of this series, as far as I can tell, is that there is a paranormal explanation for anyone who excels at a skill, i.e., Grace Renquist, is a profiler. She can look at a person’s arua and is able to tell their propesnity for danger, infidelity, truthfulness, and the like. She’s the paranormal version of the FBI criminal profiler (and I think, under the theory of the world in the book, any skilled profiler would also be somewhat psychic or “sensitive”).
Luther Malone is an aura suppressor. He’s like a walking, talking antidepressant. He can disarm people by focusing on the dangerous parts of the psychic’s arua and sending interrupting or disrupting psychic waves. Like many Krentz heroes, Luther is kind of a non violent guy who doesn’t like guns and so his ability to defuse people without violence is pretty convenient.
The two are set to Maui for by Fallon Jones, the head of Jones & Jones, a low profile psychic investigation agency. Grace is to profile a psychic by the name of Eubanks who is suspected of murdering someone but Grace and Luther soon see that Fallon has miscalculated this time and sent them into a virtual hornet’s nest of Nightshade operatives. Nightshade is the arch enemy of the Jones group. Nightshade has created artificially enhanced sensitives, or psychics, through a drug based on the original founder’s formula. Grace becomes endangered when one particular Nightshade becomes obssessed with her, and not in a good way.
There’s a lot of elaboration on the concept behind sensitives and their correlation between regular folks and those that show some preternatural skill. We readers learn a bit about opera (one of the Nightshade operatives is an opera singer) which I don’t mind, and a number of other miscellaneous factoids. One thing that I missed was the particularly witty dialogue that the characters would exchange and the dry humor that is usually a hallmark of Krentz heroes. There was a little but not a significant amount of either in the story.
I give kudos for having unconventional characters. Luther is a two time divorcee. He loves at first sight while Grace takes a little while to recognize that her physical desires are an expression of something more emotional. I was a little surprised at the speed at which the two jumped into bed together. The love story relied in some part on the implied idea of destiny/soul mate. I.e, Grace could touch only Luther at first after “running hot” and expending a great deal of psychic power while touching others would give a tremendous physical rejection.
I don’t think you could ever write a bad book, but I did think that this was lacking in some energy or connection, either between myself and the book or between your characters. I know I’ve responded with more appreciation for past titles. I bought this at the Sony Store for $11.99 and while I don’t technically regret the purchase because I am such a big Krentz fan, I do think its probably more suited to be a library read at the hardcover price or a paperback purchase. C+
This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.
I could not agree with you more, Jane, on this entire review of “Running Hot.” All that you said regarding the main characters were similar feelings I had also to about midway thru the book. I say midway because just about then it became a DNF for me. I couldn’t take any more of it. Even excluding the initial super-quick sexual encounter, the following sex scenes seemed stiff and lacking emotion, IMO. Had my fill of Sensitives and Power Levels and Runners—whatever—it seemed as though the entire area was infiltrated with anonymous Arcane members.
I love Krentz’ writing and will continue to get her books. Finishing them becomes the problem when they’re Arcane related these days. Now she’s intermingling them between Quick and Krentz and there seems little hope that we’ll see the end of this theme for a while. I’ve enjoyed more than a few of the Arcane stories; this was not one of them.
I would enjoy more forays into themes such as “All Night Long” and others—-back to her humorous and interesting relationships, along with issues for which she often has clever solutions. Well, one came dream, can’t they?
It sounds as though Krentz/Quick is continuing along the path that caused her to go from an autobuy for me to a never-buy (or buy-only-in-an-airport-bookstore-when-I’ve-run-out-of-other-options). I stopped reading everything she wrote a few years back when I bought what I thought was a newer release, got it home, and literally could not decide until halfway through whether I had read it before or not (I had). Her writing, for a while, at least, had become so formulaic that I just burned out on it. I still have some of her older books on my shelves, and enjoy a reread every once in a while, but her new stuff has disappointed once too often, and I’m really sorry for that.
I still love JAK, but I agree her writing style has seriously changed, while certain elements stay the same no matter what (hero will be zen, with a “hard” face, heroine will be a misunderstood brunette or redhead, probably with hazel eyes–has there ever been a blond heroine?) . I too wished for some more of that old snappy dialogue.
The one thing I liked about this book? The hero kinda fell in love off the bat. Nice change.
@Tee I loved All Night Long and felt it was really a return to top form for Krentz. She’s still a comfort read for me and oddly, I didn’t feel gipped paying $11.99 for it. Maybe if I had paid $20+ I would have felt differently. It’s definitely not a re-read for me, though.
I love JAK as well but I do hope she wraps up this Arcane story line soon. I’d like to see Fallon get his girl and the bad guys. Then we can go back to great contempoary stories from JAK and great historicals from AQ. Sigh. The Arcane thing was fun at the beginning but its starting to drag on.
Thanks for the review. I have it on hold at the library at lowly # 47 in the queue and was wondering if it was worth $9.99 at the kindle store, but after reading the review I think I can wait.
Anyone else sad that the January books seem so lackluster?
Amanda Quick used to be a must-buy for me, but now JAK is turning all those books into paranormals as well. She even has linked the Arcane books to her Jayne Castle paranormals. The last good book was The Paid Companion (no mystical stuff in that one).
I’m with you guys, I can’t stand the paranormal formula all the time and am planning to quit her until she gets rid of all that mumbo jumbo.
(As a side note, I’m quitting all paranormals for the first half of this year; I’m still carrying the scars from reading Any Given Doomsday as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program)
How did it cost to start up this blog…I want to start my own.