With a hidden history and a talent with a twist, Grace Renquist tries to keep her head down and act like a good librarian for the Arcane Society’s Geneology department. When she is sent on a mission to read the aura of someone suspected of being in Nightshade, an underground and sinister organisation she is paired with the enigmatic Luther Malone as her bodyguard. When Grace gets a look at the target, she realises more is going on than meets the eye and it’s linked to the past she has tried hard to escape. Can she trust Malone with the truth and not turn her in and can he protect her against the unstable assassin with a lethal singing ability, that decides they are a threat to her mission.
I’d not come across Jayne Ann Krentz before and went to start reading Running Hot then realised this is actually the fifth book in the series. It can be hard picking up the ‘lore’ or the way the author’s world works when you don’t start at the beginning, but actually I had no trouble figuring things out which was really nice. I’ve said in reviews before that I’m a sucker for secret societies, struggling to keep the world safe and sane against their darker counterparts and since the series is called the Arcane Society, that pushed the right buttons for me to get started. I like the world Krentz has built, the Arcane Society made up of remarkeable people with remarkeable abilities. Everyone registered has measurable and quantifiable abilities that fall under different categories. Strats who can spot patterns in chaos, Aura readers who can tell what a person is feeling or if they’ve experienced trauma or Aura manipulators who can tinker with someone’s emotions. The main characters of Grace and Luther were well written and engaging. Grace is an Aura reader with a twist and Luther uses his Aura calming talent as a bodyguard and bartender. They make a great couple and the romance intertwined with the plot is very sweet. I have to touch on how the bad guys were written. In some books I’ve read of this genre, the antagonists come across as a bit incompetent or not really all that bad. I was impressed that Krentz chose to make hers have quite a lot of impact. The plot wasn’t overly complicated and while mostly predictable, it didn’t make it any less of a good read. The pace was good and the story kept you turning the pages hoping that it would work out between Grace and Luther. I enjoyed it enough to want to find the previous books in the series.