walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_River Road_, Jayne Ann Krentz

Just to be clear: I like JAK. I like her under all three of her current substantial writing identities. I like many -- altho by no means all -- of her early categories. I love her paranormals. I like a lot of the historicals. Etc. When I'm feeling like I'm really missing the Pacific Northwest and need that "fix", JAK is a reliable source. The ostensible locale might be somewhere else, but it's still PNW. You can move Orcas Island to another planet, centuries into a fictional future, and I'll still go, aaaaaahhhh.

I find JAK's basic theory of love/romance/relationship to be repetitive, narrow and often boring. However, I like the mix of detecting/plot/story plus relationship development (I had similar feelings in my youth about Alistair Maclean, altho the proportions there were different) and more importantly, I _LIKE_ the people in her books. If I met them in real life, I'd want to be friends with them.

_River Road_ is a contemporary which probably qualifies as romantic suspense. Set in "Summer River" California wine country, the prolog has the heroine at 16 being rescued from a dastardly plot to date rape her. She is rescued, duh, by the hero, then 19. His parents are dead; hers are divorced and remarried. Fast forward 13 years, and they are both back in "Summer River". She's winding up the estate of her aunt and her aunt's life partner; he's recuperating from a particularly nasty case he worked as a law enforcement consultant. She's suspicious about her aunt's death. There's a closely held family business that is in the throes of a dispute about whether to merge or not (and the heroine holds the crucial block of shares, inherited from the aunt's life partner, step sister to the founder of the business and source of initial cash to start the business). Basically, a lot of the elements we've come to know and love in a JAK contemporary romance with mystery/suspense.

They work through What Happened Back Then. They find a Body (the body shows up early and is very funny). There is subsequent violence to try to stop them as they get Close to the Truth. Quite late in the game, there are surprise developments in terms of Grown Up Secret Babies. And throughout the process, they spar about what the nature of their relationship is and might become.

If you like JAK, and you don't require paranormal aspects, this should do it for you. I had one really big problem that got worse and worse as I read the book, and which continued to fester in my brain after I finished.

I just don't believe that Lucy Sheridan was born in 1984, give or take. She's been signed up at a private matchmaking agency (yup, they do exist) for long enough to go on dozens of dates (and she paid, apparently, so not on the freebie list). Before that, she was engaged for about a year. She makes jokes about ED commercials (in her head and once, to Mason Fletcher, the hero). I just have a really hard time fitting this into a 29 year old woman.

"Thug" appears to have replaced "freak" as JAK's verbal tic for negatively referring to a person. So rather than "drug freak" it is now "drug thug". I don't think this is an improvement, altho I'd be hard pressed to argue that it is worse.
Tags: book review
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