by Jayne Ann Krentz
This novel was one of those little gems of serendipity that one encounters occasionally on the TBR list. A freebie (actually a publisher advance copy), it sat on my shelf for weeks before I even opened it. The title suggested ‘chick lit’, which meant I was never going to read it; the cover suggested something else, but was definitely not indicative of the book’s contents.** And combined with (for me) an unknown author, on the shelf it might have remained but for my insatiable curiosity.
What a surprise! Secret Sisters is actually a thriller, and quite a good one too. There is a lot of dialogue, which moves the story along quickly, and no long narrative passages that would slow it down..
‘When the dark memories came, they usually came at night.’
Attacked by a paedophile at the age of twelve in her grandmother’s hotel, Madeline Chase is save by her close friend Daphne. Eighteen years later, Madeline has inherited the hotel empire on her grandmother’s death. She has employed private security expert Jack Rayner to protect her interests. Their relationship is not exactly super friendly but one detects that it might become rather more before the story ends.
Madeline has put her childhood experience out of her mind. However, Edith Chase’s death in a mysterious fire forces her to turn her attention to the long empty property on Coopers Island. Her return there after nearly two decades exposes secrets that are better left buried and sets in motion a chain of violence and death. At the centre of things is the powerful Webster family, who own most of the island but whose influence extends well beyond it borders. As Madeline and Jack become the target of a ruthless killer and a disturbed psychopath and arsonist, Jack has to use all his previous FBI skills to save their lives.
‘The spark that flashed in the shadows … told him just how badly he had screwed up… He knew a home-made bomb when he saw one.’
When Daphne, whom Madeline hasn’t seen for eighteen years, has her apartment turned over by a burglar, the pair join forces with Jack and his brother Abe to solve the mystery and catch the killer (or is there maybe more than one killer?)
Secret Sisters has thrills a minute, a healthy helping of blood and bodies and a bit of spicy romance. I wouldn’t describe it as great literature, nor is the basic plot original, but it’s an easy read – I got through it in two sessions – and a lot of fun.
Jayne Ann Krentz, I discovered, has written and published more than fifty novels in various genres and under several pseudonyms. Many have been on the New York Times bestseller list. Maybe I should stop judging books by their title or their cover, and try another of her works.