Smoke in Mirrors, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Thursday, August 14, 2003

I recently finished Smoke in Mirrors, by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Leo, if you're reading this, I'm dead.
A con artist and seductress, Meredith Spooner lived fast and died young. Now it appears that Meredith's last scam is coming back to haunt her friend Leonora Hutton. An e-mail has just arrived in which Meredith -in fear for her life, but as feisty as ever- explains that well over a million dollars in embezzled funds is waiting for Leonora in an offshore account... and a safe-deposit key is on the way.

Leonora wants nothing to do with the tainted money, taken from an endowment fund at a small college. She's already been accused of being in on the theft by Thomas Walker, who apparently was a victim of Meredith's knack for both scams and seductions. Eager to prove him wrong and escape this mess, Leonora sets out to collect the cash and hand it over.

But there are two other items in the safe-deposit box. One is a book about Mirror House, where Meredith engineered her final deception -a mansion filled with antique looking-glasses that produce a dizzying infinity of reflections. The other is a set of newspaper stories about a thirty-year-old murder that occurred there, a murder unsolved to this day.

Now Leonora has an offer for Thomas Walker. She'll hand over the money, if he helps her figure out what's happening. In her e-mail, Meredith described Walker as "a man you can trust". But in a funhouse-mirror world of illusion and distortion, Leonora may be out of her league.
This was pleasant. A B. Nothing too exciting, but there was a nice romance with likeable characters and an intriguing mystery. Neither of these elements were perfect, but they were well-balanced and the combination made for a good read.

On the romance front, I especially liked Thomas and his tools *vbg*. He was a sweet guy, and I just had to laugh when he gave Leonora a box of tools as a gift. And Leonora was a nice character, too. Not even one TSTL second from her, and she was perfect for Thomas, with whom she had a very mature relationship, a nice change from the usual immature antics that pass for one in most romance novels.

Ehe only proble here is that I want my love scenes back!!!!! I don't want gratuitous love scenes, but they were missing here. Sometimes it feels natural not to have them, but in this case one felt the bedroom door bang against one's nose. This is exactly what I hate about my favourite authors going more mainstream: they end up toning down the romance.

The suspense part was interesting, but too intrincate. I mean, come on! 3 different villains, 4 if you count Meredith, all acting independently and with different agendas? I like to at least stand a chance to guess what's going on! At the same time, it was too easy to guess who Meredith's murderer had been.

Something I love about JAK that is present in this book is that she often has sympathetic gay characters. In a genre where sometimes being gay is code for being the villain, this is a nice touch.

Oh, well, I enjoyed this in spite of its flaws. I'm beginning to repeat myself, I know, but a so-so JAK is better than much of what's in the market.

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