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 instead of Regency romance/mystery I found this book under your Amanda Quick’s name on Amazon vine. I of course ordered it and decided to review it as well.
In my opinion this is not a romance, this is a mystery with the romantic elements, but just as in many of your books there is a couple which is getting together at the end of the story and getting the happy ending, so I understand if other people would consider this a Romance. It is a matter of degree – just how much space you would decide Romantic storyline occupies in relationship to Mystery one.
I thought that they were mostly investigating a mystery, fell in love very soon 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 , a private secretary to one of the wealthy NY Socialites, she comes home only to find her employer whom she liked and respected brutally murdered, and 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 as Irene, four months later where she works for gossip rag, and apparently she came to Burning Cove to chase a story about rising movie star Nick Tremayne. When Irene comes to the hotel where the woman who promised to spill the guts to her about Nick was staying, instead of meeting with the woman Irene meets her dead body and she feels that somebody was watching her as well and was ready to kill her.
The owner of the hotel, infamous Oliver Ward is intrigued by Irene, he first and foremost wants to protect his guests, but tells Irene that if somebody in his hotel killed this woman, he won’t protect the murderer. Eventually no matter how mistrustful they are of each other, they are starting to work together to solve the mystery and the count of dead women starts to increase quite fast.
Surprise, the dead women seem to all be connected to Nick Tremayne in one way or another. Nick is a womanizer who just seems to do the short hook ups and that’s about it. Is he (or more precisely people from the Studio who clean up his messes) makes sure that his former liaisons disappear forever? Do these women know something really terrible about his past? Is Nick involved at all? And Irene herself is getting into more and more dangerous situations and it is clear that her life is in danger too.
Let’s just say that I found this story compulsively readable. I wanted to find out who did it so badly. We do know who killed Irene’s employer very early on, I am not going to reveal who they are but I don’t think these are spoilers. I thought red herrings were pretty good and I was almost convinced that the person did, so good job keeping me guessed. We don’t know who killed all these other people till the book almost ends and I did not guess the killer at all. It was easy to understand their motivations, but I did not think the clues/ foreshadowing to the second killer’s identity worked well necessarily.
Basically second killer was doing things in large because they had a past connection with one of the characters. My problem was that second killer and that character were shown to interact on page couple of times. Unfortunately I did not buy that people who have the shared past similar to these characters would interact with the other person that way.
As I stated before I thought that Romantic storyline was less important than the mystery one, but I still liked Oliver and Irene together and separately. I want to note separately 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 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 humorous touches I would have loved to see.