Up by Amanda Quick blends together the historical, suspense,
and a tinge of the romance genres. Through a gripping mystery,
readers also get a glimpse of the 1930s Hollywood-type glamour
The books opens with Vivian Brazier rushing to a crime scene
to take photographs of a murder. Cut off from her family's
funds for pursuing her dream, a career in art, to make ends
meet, she takes crime scene photos and headshots for aspiring
male actors. Keeping her photo-journalistic career secret,
she must balance this world with the world of an art photographer.
"I thought it would be an interesting job for my heroine.
There were famous ones in the 1930s, including Dorothea Lange,
who was best known for her Depression-era work. I also thought
of iconic scenes in films where photographers arrive at the
crime with their chunky cameras and flashy lightbulbs. It
was how black and white photography established an image of
Noir. This resonates with people. I thought it would be interesting
to write about the conflict between Modernism and Pictorialism.
My brother has always enjoyed it and even set up his own darkroom.
He helped me a lot with the technical details, including the
history. He considers this his passionate hobby."
After photographing the murder of a movie star, she realizes
details that can help the police find the "Dagger Killer."
Able to look at details of a photo that many others could
not, Vivian finds clues to help the homicide detectives. Unfortunately,
this puts her life in danger. Private investigator Nick Sundridge
is hired by a mysterious third party to protect her. Together
they try to find the hitman by narrowing down the list of
suspects. Just as Vivian can see things others do not, Nick
also has that ability. The difference is that she sees through
a cameras' lens while he sees through his dreams and visions.
This talent, or curse as he refers to it, allows him to become
a brilliant investigator.
Through their need to live together, the hero and heroine's
personality, along with very snappy dialogue, become prevalent.
They are both compelling people who are smart, daring, competent,
and flawed. Vivian is talented, bold, independent, and savvy,
a very modern woman for that time who is very much career-oriented.
Nick is sarcastic, honorable, talented, and pragmatic. His
partner Rex many times steals the scenes. This trained side-kick
is a loveable German Shepherd who is extremely faithful.
Nick first felts the attraction between the two. "The
relationship is not one where opposites attract, but one where
both characters are accepting of each other. She was not put
off by his "curse," and he was not put off by a
woman wanting to have a career. Vivian sees beyond the surface
of who Nick is. They are two of a kind and have a unique understanding
of each other. Both see themselves and the world they live
in uniquely. I like to compare the relationship to photography
since it played such an important role in the story. For example,
this quote by Vivian shows how similar they both are, 'Your
fever dreaming sounds a lot like what I do when I focus my
camera. I open my senses, my inner eye, and try to see beneath
the surface… It's called intuition, Nick. Neither one
of us is crazy.' Nick responds, 'You've known me for less
than two days, but you know more about me…more than
Furthermore, Quinn believes “The psychic element gives
the story a vibe and keeps the books from following into a
traditional police procedural. I do not think there is too
much and consider it just one step beyond intuition. There
is a fine line between those who are really talented that
can observe something that others do not see and someone with
a psychic sense. Their sense of awareness allows them to see
what others do not.”
This novel has very interesting characters and a plot with
mystery twists. The action begins on the first page and continues
until the last page.