by Amanda Quick, historical/paranormal (2012, reissue)
Piatkus, £8.99, ISBN 978-0-7499-5227-3
Oh, look at the title of this book! Is this the first time a romance author incorporates part of her name into the title of her book?
Okay, I'm just trying to drum up some excitement for this book, and it looks like I'm failing, so I'll stop now.
Quicksilver is part of the Arcane Society series, and it is also part of a trilogy that consists one of each of the author's books under her current three pseudonyms, and if that sounds confusing, don't worry, because if you have read one book by this author, you have read 99% of her books already. The remaining 1% can be considered anomalies because they were published in the 1980s, when the author wasn't that fixated on writing about the same red-haired heroines and dark-haired heroes over and over.
There are some dead bodies, of course, because we all know that a mystery plot is impossible without someone giving up the ghost. In this case, several glass-readers are dead. Our hero, Owen Sweetwater (dark haired, broody, dangerous, considered emotionless by others, muscular thighs, needs the heroine now, et cetera), hails from a family that has a tradition in hunting monsters (villainous paranormal people, not vampires or werewolves), and he is hired by the Arcane Society to look into the matter and stop the villain.
Virginia Dean (read-haired, not considered beautiful, independent, progressive, all for helping girls on the streets find better lives, gets annoyed when hero tries to tell her that walking openly everywhere when she may be a target is not a good idea, et cetera) is a glass-reader. That means, she can look into any mirror and use her woo-woo powers to see events that have transpired in any location that can be reflected in that mirror.
When this story opens, she finds herself in bed next to a dead man. For a while, I thought the author had switched up the formula and had a happy harlot as a heroine, but no, the whole thing is a plot and our heroine just happens to be caught in the mess. Fortunately for Virginia, Owen happens to be there and it's the start of a beautiful relationship as they end up investigating the cases of the dead glass-readers together.
The romance in this story is actually pretty good when compared to that in the author's last handful of books. There is more romance in this story, although the mystery is very heavily featured as well. The secondary characters are a lively bunch, and I especially adore that housekeeper that knows a few things that turn out to be helpful in our main couple's investigation.
Mind you, the main characters are still the same archetypes that populate the author's books. Still, Virginia has some pretty good lines here, and her "can't get me down" attitude is adorable. Owen, on the other hand, is a watered down clone of the author's other heroes. I know very little about his thoughts, motivations, or even back story. He's just here to do this thing. Owen is easily one of the weaker depictions of the author's favorite male character archetype. Because of this, the romance is never as satisfying as it could be. Virginia is interesting, but Owen is just going through the motions.
As for the mystery, it's another lost opportunity. The case is actually interesting, as it involves powered-up clockwork devices and other elements that I find intriguing. Unfortunately, it also suffers from one of the worst denouements ever. The villains, probably bored from waiting for the hero and the heroine to catch up with them, basically show up to blab every single thing about their plot to the heroine. Seriously, the heroine calmly asks all kinds of questions, and she gets everything except a detailed Powerpoint presentation, and that's probably because it hasn't been invented yet back in those days. I have watched Scooby-Doo cartoons that seem like a masterpiece by Agatha Christie when compared to the way the author handles the mystery here.
Quicksilver has a stronger romance when compared to the author's other recent efforts, but still, there is enough crappy mystery to ruin the whole thing. Fortunately, there's always the next book, with the same dancing monkeys, just around the corner.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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