Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Burning Cove, California #3
Amanda Quick

Berkley Press
May 7, 2019 / ISBN 9780399585364
Historical Romance / Historical Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


Tightrope is a fabulous mystery, typical of what readers have come to expect from Amanda Quick, also known as Jayne Krentz. This action-based plot has secrets, betrayals, Hollywood actors, circus characters, spies, gangsters, and a sweet romance, although the focus is more on the suspense than romance.

The plot has Amalie Vaughn putting the past behind her, especially the recent attack from the Death Catcher, a serial killer who targeted trapeze artists. She decides to remake herself by moving to Burning Cove California. Using her entire inheritance, Amalie buys a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. Unfortunately, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed after a noted psychic living there committed suicide by jumping off the roof, and just recently her only guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration.

"I wanted to write about something everybody is familiar with Everyone heard of the Engima Machine. I realized there are hundreds if not thousandths out there. From all the information given, I thought there was only a few. In the movie and history books, they always talk about THE Enigma Machine, making us believe there are not many. Who knew it was a brand name going back to 1916. I thought how the cipher encryption would make a good story where it is something everyone searches for."

Matthias Jones has been investigating Pickwell and discovers that the Inn where he was staying has hidden clues. Jones is attempting to find a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead, and the machine has vanished. After meeting Amalie, during his investigation, the two decide to form a partnership to solve the crime and save Amalie's business in the process. They must decide if they can trust each other after he reveals his psychic gift that lets him know when someone is lying, which tends to make most people uncomfortable. The mystery that lingers throughout the book, can they find the cryptic machine before it falls into the wrong hands and will they allow their passion to develop into a real relationship.

Krentz noted, "Those living in the 1930s were crazy for robots. There was a whiz-bang 1930s type of feel. Interestingly, everything we worry about now, they worried about back then including taking over different jobs. There was also the worry that the robots would take over and turn into killing machines just like in the movie "Terminator." During that time, there were stories in science fiction, popular science magazines, and mechanic magazines."

This wonderful story is intense with a complex mystery that had a bit of everything, including the glamorous world of the 1930s. Readers will be turning the pages to find out who is responsible for not only the murder but the stealing of espionage secrets.

Reviewed 2019