Title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Author: Jane Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick
Length: 400 pages
Expected Publication: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…
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.
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…
She belonged to him.
He was locked inside a cage the size and shape of a coffin. A dark thrill heated his blood like a powerful, intoxicating drug.
When the time came he would purify the woman and cleanse himself with her blood. But tonight was not the time. The ritual had to be followed correctly. The woman must be made to comprehend and acknowledge the great wrong that she had done. There was no finer instructor than fear.
He huddled inside the concealed lift, listening to the sounds of someone moving about in the bedroom on the other side of the wall. There was a narrow crack in the paneling. Excitement sparked through him when he caught a glimpse of the woman. She was at her dressing table, adjusting the pins in her dark brown hair. It was as if she knew he was watching and was deliberately taunting him.
She was passable in appearance, but he had seen her on the street and had not been particularly impressed with her looks. She was overly tall for a woman and her forceful character was etched on her face. She was dangerous. It was all there in her unnerving eyes.
The woman rose from the dressing table chair and moved out of sight. A moment later he heard the muffled sound of the bedroom door opening and closing.
He slid the cage door aside and opened the wooden panel. The wall sconce had been turned down low but he could make out the bed, the dressing table, and the wardrobe.
He moved out of the lift. The heady exhilaration he always experienced at such moments roared through him. With every step of the ritual he came closer to achieving his own purification.
For a precious few seconds he debated where to leave his gift. The bed or the dressing table?
The bed, he decided. So much more intimate.
He made his way out through the tradesmen’s entrance and slipped, unseen, into the gardens. The gate was still unlocked, just as he had left it.
A few minutes later he was lost in the fog. The weight of the knife in its sheath beneath his greatcoat was reassuring.
The ritual was almost complete.
The woman with the unnerving eyes would soon understand that she belonged to him. It was her destiny to be the one to cleanse him. He was certain of it. The connection between them was a bond that could be shattered only by death.
Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2016.
Things are harrowing from the start for personal secretary turned fledgling gossip reporter Anna Harris/Irene Glasson.
Anna Harris, the secretary, finds her boss, New York socialite, Helen Spencer dead. There's a message scrawled in above her head. In her own blood, no less. A mysterious notebook that the young Miss Harris must now guard with her life, and one of those "if you are reading this I'm dead" letters that we all know and love.
Did I not mention that Miss Harris was also left with large amounts of cash, and a really snazzy getaway car.
Wow, those dying society ladies really do think of everything.
We skip ahead a few months....
Miss Harris, now Miss Glasson, is now a fledgling gossip columnist for Whispers. The Enquirer/ Page 6 of the 1930's Hollywood set.
And...wait for it!!!
Miss Harris, now Miss Glasson once again finds herself on the periphery of a murder.
It happens again.
Only this time, at a really exclusive hotel in California, in a pool, the murder victim is a young starlet who may have been engaging in a little blackmail, and Anna/Irene was supposed to meet said starlet for a little chat. But she finds the body instead.
With Anna/Irene's assistance of course.
Now added into this adventure are a whole slew of murderous attorneys, nervous star wranglers, movie executives, and disgruntled leading actors. All with those pesky secrets to keep.
Just in case you're wondering...
The portion of the story that was just relayed to you takes place within the first 50 pages of this 400 page read.
Meaning that you as the reader, are in for a lot of secrets.
What this book offers readers is a very well written attempt at a complex plot, achieved through character loading and multiple story lines.
In short, too much of a good thing.
This is literally a story that both the reader and the main characters can, and often do "get lost in".
By the time that this book reaches its midpoint, one is compelled to keep reading if for no other reason than to justify the sheer amount of effort that has been invested to track event to that point.
Please do not infer that my previous statement implies a lack of readability of this work, in any case.
It is because the opposite is true, that the needless superfluity of characters and subplots does this story such a disservice.
The mystery and all that it entails, supplants any romantic kindlings sparked between Oliver and Irene until well past a point of contextual relevance. But fear not. For in this case, the adage "better late than never" does apply.
Checking a final tick in the plus column. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood. This book and its author do a wonderful job at presenting the reader with an almost panoramic view of old Hollywood at its best and worst. When the studio was king, and fairytales really did come true.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a very readable case of the plot that did too much. Proving that there indeed can be "too much of a good thing."