April 19, 2010

The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz)

Book 6 in the Arcane Society Series by Amanda Quick - Jayne Ann Krentz - Jayne Castle 

Plagued by rumors that she poisoned her fiancé, Lucinda Bromley manages to live on the fringes of polite society, tending her beloved plantsand occasionally consulting on a murder investigation. For the notorious botanist possesses a unique talent: She can detect almost any type of poison, especially ones that have their origins in the botanical kingdom.

But the death of a lord has shaken Lucinda to her core. At the murder scene, she picks up traces of a poison containing a very rare species of fern. So rare, in fact, that only one specimen exists in all of England and it was stolen from her conservatory just last month.

To keep her name out of the inquest and to find the murderer, Lucinda hires fellow Arcane Society member Caleb Jones who runs a psychical investigation agency. A descendant of the founder of the Society, Jones is very skillful at protecting its secretsand frighteningly good getting at the truth. Immediately, Lucinda senses both a raw power and an undeniable intensity in the imposing man.

But as a nearly overwhelming desire blooms between Caleb and Lucinda, they are drawn into the dark heart of a deadly conspiracy that can be traced to the early days of the Arcane Society and to a legacy of madness that could plunge Caleb into the depths of his own tortured soul. . . .

Am I going to give up on Jayne Ann Krentz?  Probably not, but I'm just not as satisfied with her writing as I used to be, although admittedly having collected over 130 books by Krentz I guess my expectations are biased.  Maybe my preferences have evolved or maybe I've just been exposed to too much great fiction and have higher standards now. The Perfect Poison's book jacket looks pretty and promising with purple flowers and ferns and a hot pink spine. The books feel nice and weighty, so I was excited to start reading, hoping The Perfect Poison would be the story that makes me fall in love all over again with Krentz. Well this novel will not be the one to make me do that...but neither will it make me give up her novels for good.  The 437 pages I thought an ideal size of read, but realized soon enough that the page count is deceptive and the read is much shorter and quicker than I was expecting. The type is a bit larger and the lines are quite spaced out and thicker paper is used, albeit the book is still priced at CAD$9.99.

Maybe its just the whole Arcane Society Series books that cross the paranormal (Castle), historical romance (Quick) and contemporary (Krentz) romance genres, which include the common storyline of the "Arcane Society" that is causing the problem for me...a lot of the language sounds repetitive, so the stories are not as fresh as they could be.  If The Perfect Poison is the first book you pick up by the author I think it would be a fun read, with a unique premise that the independent, strong-minded heroine Lucinda Bromley can detect plant energy, including poisons.  But the overly indulgent, flowery and flamboyant language made me cringe instead of chuckle this time. The hero Caleb Jones was not as much alpha as caveman really and his characterization could have done with more depth and polish. Overall: Average.

Recent January 2010 release in hardcover is Fired Up (Krentz); Next up is Burning Lamp (Quick) released in hardcover April 20, 2010; Midnight Crystal (Castle) released in paperback August 31, 2010.

My Rating: 3.0


Related Posts:
Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz
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