In Too Deep, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Monday, September 19, 2011

TITLE: In Too Deep
AUTHOR: Jayne Ann Krentz

PAGES: 352

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: Book 1 of the Looking Glass Trilogy, but also part of the Arcane Society series.

Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It's a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove-Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.

When she starts work as Fallon's assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office-and doesn't bat an eye at the psychic aspect of his job. She's a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness. But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business . . . and Isabella's family tree.
I kind of suspect that with Fallon Jones, JAK was trying to pull a Rothgar (am I showing my age here?). You know, that character who keeps showing up in the previous books in the series and whose story readers are desperate to read. She didn't quite succeed. I mean, I was slightly intrigued by him, and when I saw that his book was coming out went "Oh, that's cool", but that's about it. And it's a good thing I didn't get too excited, because this wasn't such a great book.

Fallon Jones is the eccentric head of Jones & Jones, the Arcane Society's detective agency. Fallon's talent is chaos theory, which, in JAK's world, makes him excellent at discerning the connections between seemingly unrelated events (I'm no expert in chaos theory, but the small bit of work I've done on complex systems makes me suspect this is not quite right). This talent of his makes people think he's paranoid and a conspiracy theory nut, but you know how it goes, right? It's not paranoia if someone's really out to get you, and by extension, you're not a conspiracy theory nut if there really is a conspiracy. And Fallon's obsession, the shadowy criminal organisation called Nightshade, really exists and really is out to get, not just him, but the whole Arcane Society.

Fallon has moved J&J out to Scargill Cove, a small town on the coast of California, and almost without noticing, he has acquired a partner, Isabella Valdez. Isabella has her own talents and her own secrets, some of which have made her a target for some baddies. She's on the run, but when she gets to Scargill Cove she feels she can stop for a while. She applies for the post of Fallon's assistant, but sorting out his office takes no time at all, and becoming a fellow investigator seems like the natural next step, whether Fallon is enthusiastic about the idea or not.

The romance had really excellent bones. These two are perfect for each other. Isabella is, if anything, even better than Fallon at conspiracy theory. She sees the world as he sees it, and with her, he need not feel like a nut, because it all makes perfect sense when they talk. Being with Isabella also calms Fallon down, helps him think more clearly, and she needs him just as much.

That said, the actual romance felt a bit meh, which was a bit strange, considerig that they are so well-suited to each other. I didn't really perceive that much chemistry between them, I guess, and then there's the issue that the plot keeps getting in the way. It's typical of the direction JAK's been taking lately, with loads of stuff about the Arcane Society and Nightshade's machinations, and I'm BORED of all that. It's even more frustrating because there's some interesting stuff here, as well. The secret that the town's entire population is keeping, for instance, is really cool. Or at least, it would have been if it hadn't been to do with Nightshade and the Arcane Society.

Can we have something new, please?

MY GRADE: A C+. And this is a grade that is more about my boredom with the repetition than about the intrinsic quality of the book.


Christine,  19 September 2011 at 16:38  

I agree with your review. I thought Isabella and Fallon had the potential to be a great couple. Isabella was a little different than the standard JAK heroines and JAK had been building up the idea of Fallon for a while. Sad to say the book was 10% about their relationship and 90% about Arcane and some really boring villains. I long for the days when the relationship was the main focus of her books and the mystery was secondary.

Rosario,  20 September 2011 at 10:16  

So do I! It's happened gradually, as well. Each time a little bit less relationship, more pointless, boring Arcane Society machinations. It's really noticeable when you reread some of her classics. I feel so sad whenever I do that, but I still read her, hoping she might go back.

I do wonder if all this Arcane Society crap has been really successful. All I've heard is people complaining.

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