Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell's unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes-and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market.
Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber-"hot rocks." Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.--Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz Copyright © 2012 by Jayne Ann Krentz Published by Putnam Books
I enjoy Jayne Ann Krentz, which is why I keep buying her books, even though the stories have become, to my mind at least, formulaic. There’s the meeting between the hero and heroine, usually because one is the only person on earth who can solve the other’s problem, the heroine gets into trouble and the hero comes to the rescue. After the obligatory exposition by the bad guy (or in the case of this story, two bad guys), detailing the reason why he did what he did, he’s hauled off or—in most cases—killed by the hero. And they live happily ever after.
I do get tired of the woman always being rescued by the man. Every once in a while, can’t the woman do the rescuing? Abby, in this story, at least is brave and willingly walks into the lion’s den on order to save her stepbrother Dawson. But of course, by this point, she and Sam are a team and when her attempt to put down the bad guy fails, it’s okay because Sam’s right there to deliver the final blow (rescuing her so they can live happily ever after).
Now, one thing I really like about this particular story is Abby’s family. Her father married Dawson’s mother and together they had twin girls. Dawson and his mother come from a wealthy family and the grandmother controls the purse strings. She makes it very clear to Abby that she cannot have a dime of her family's money, which suits Abby just fine. Problem is, no one believes her when she says she doesn't care about the money. When she refuses to help Dawson find the notebook for a client he's trying to sign, they all think she's being spiteful because of the money. That's not the reason, but that's what they all think. Plus there's a ton of drama that goes back to her teen years that adds fuel to that particular fire. A full novel unto itself could have been written on the dynamics of that family, never mind all the stuff surrounding the missing notebook and psychic ciphers and such. That’s a story I’d love to read.
I have a theory that Krentz’s novels follow the pattern they do, including the bad guy exposition, because she’s obligated to produce a certain number of novels per year and by following a certain structure, she can write her stories faster. She may also be hampered by a pre-set novel length requirement. I can’t help wondering how much better her stories would be if she threw that requirement out the window and—gasp—wrote some of those scenes differently. I’d encourage her to try that sometime, just to see what happens.
I give this story FOUR STARS.