The first book in the Dark Legacy series, published January 2012.
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 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 with paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code - no one is safe.
This blurb is so wrong! It is not about a centuries old alchemical code, but a 40 year old labnotebook!
Abby Radwell has had an unusual childhood, to say the least. Her father remarried, and when her mother died when Abby was 11, she was forced to live with him and his new family. His wife Diana also had a child already, Dawson, a son of 12. The two took an instant dislike to each other. And then Diana became pregnant of twin girls. But Abby was coming into her psychic powers at the moment, she had no one to turn to, no one who could explain things, and worse, no one who would believe her. So after starting an accidental fire or two, she was shoved off to the Summerlight Academy, which was only one step away from Juvenile Hall. Not only prison like, but she had to submit to a lot of psychologists and psychiatrics, and soon she discovered it was better to hide her belief in her own powers, and become normal. But she was not alone there. There were more teens with psychic powers and no one who believed them. So she made a few close friends.
And now Abby is making a quiet living, finding and decoding paranormal books. Some of those are encrypted, not with ink, but with psychic powers, and Abby is one of the very few people who can decode those books, so they can be read. Otherwise, you just see a lot of gibberish. It makes sense at first, but if you follow what is written, the outcome will be all wrong. She only works through referrals, as there are some very dangerous people in the black market corner of the ancient paranormal book world. She is happy in the shallows, and has no inclination whatsoever to get involved in the dangerous stuff. She is not rich, but she has a nice home, the first one ever, and a great dog and some good friends.
But now, someone is trying to blackmail her with her past, and with the truth about the range of her powers. She disabled a man lately, and when that comes out, her clients will be afraid of what she can do, and she will be out of business. And when her past comes out, her fathers reputation as one of the leading psychologists in family therapy will be shredded as well. For the public eye, his “blended” family is all joy and happiness, and not the charade it really is. Abby never was accepted by them, and the grandmother and matriarch of the family is convinced she is mad and just angry that she does not get a piece of the family money. After all, she is not a blood relative. But Abby really does not care about the money.
Her friend and mentor send her to Sam Coppersmith, as the one capable of protecting Abby, and finding out the identity of the blackmailer. Sam has his own psychic powers, connected to crystals. His family also has secrets from the past, and all that is connected to Abby’s current problem. Sam takes on Abby’s case, as he needs her help to acquire the missing notebook for himself and his family. The secrets in there are dangerous. And the people looking for it are ruthless. So he plants to stick as close to Abby as he can, certainly more than Abby would have thought. He does protect Abby from kidnapping attempts, and together they unravel the mystery piece by piece, while growing closer together.
Even though I liked the book, as I do all the books Jayne Ann Krentz writes, I am a bit disappointed. There is no mention of the Arcane Society, but it still has all the vibes of it. The paranormal aspects, the psychic powers, the crystals used. I was kind of hoping for something fresh and new, even though I really enjoy those books, and there were all new characters in it. And a dog. Must not forget Newton the dog!
I liked Abby, she is not afraid nor stupid. Even though her family does not accept her, she still does her duty as part of it. And that I admire her for, as I would certainly not have. She is certain in her talents and herself, even though she has little experience in having a relationship she is doing just fine. I so liked her little dog Newton. Protective and perhaps he does have some psychic talents as well.
And Sam sure is a nice hero. Not an alpha male bent on getting his way in protecting his female unnecessary. They are a team. He is still trying to find out who murdered his last girlfriend a few months ago, but he is not heartbroken over it, just angry. He was already planning to break the relationship off, but why was she at the island, in his lab? He certainly did not invite her there. But until Abby arrived, he had no more leads to follow.
The story was nice, and fast paced. The plot a surprise, with two different bad guys this time. And that is the problem, it was just nice. Not riveting or exciting or great. Just her usual mix of good characters, main and secondary, and all the rest.
Jayne Ann Krentz told in her latest newsletters, she is untangling her three pennames of Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, going back to writing series in one timeperiod only. I can only hope the other new books will be different, and especially the Amanda Quick books less paranormal. But, as an almost lifelong fan of her work, I will read it no matter what. And like them.