Piatkus, £6.99, ISBN 0-7499-3631-2
Historical Romance, 2006
Amanda Quick’s books are like your parents’ home. You can travel far and wide, get hit by a bus or stow away in a cruiser, but wherever you go and whatever you do, your parents’ home is always ready to take you back in. These novels are always constant, just like Mom’s cooking, and sometimes you get bored with it, so you seek out more tasty cuisines. But there are moments when you miss that old feeling, so you go back to her books, to revisit the same old place and hoping to feel those same old feelings. But you’ve grown up, moved on, and you feel a bit sad that you can never go back to the past.
Reading Lie by Moonlight is like that. The plot may be somewhat different, but it’s the same hero and the same heroine. Ambrose Wells, a former thief turned private investigator, is doing his thing when he comes across our heroine Concordia Glade and four young ladies staging an escape from a burning castle. He takes them in, knowing that they are fleeing the same man that he is after, and, of course, Ambrose and Concordia fall in love as they try to solve a mystery involving… well, something. To reveal more about this mystery would be to spoil it, although I personally don’t find that plot particularly suspenseful in the first place.
Well, it’s the same hero. Martial arts practitioner with near-superhuman capabilities, exuding dangerous vibes, determined to be a lone wolf, much in control over his feelings, and yet overwhelmed with passion at the sight of the heroine. It’s the same heroine – intelligent, passionate, not particularly sensible in times of danger, in love with the hero but will never accept his marriage proposal since she feels that he’s proposing out of obligation. It’s the same romance – that kiss, that shag, that same old song.
But all the romantic elements are watered down and practically submerged in the suspense plot. After all, Amanda Quick fancies herself a romantic suspense author, when romance, not suspense, is her forte. So, if you open any page at random, there is a very high chance that you will find yourself reading a conversation pertaining to the great mystery. And egads, this one is dull. The characters go from Point A to Point B to collect clues when Ambrose is not lecturing Concordia about how he is going about investigating the mystery. Suspects conveniently vanish or die when our main characters discover their identity. Really, it’s the same investigation, only this time it’s mostly talk as well. The villains tell everything, Ambrose explains everything he is thinking to the heroine, and these characters often repeat themselves in this story.
Imagine an episode of Scooby-Doo where all everyone does is talk. That’s this book.
Amanda Quick’s books are starting to go from predictable but fun to absolutely boring. Thinking back of the fond memories I’ve had of this author’s earlier books, this makes me feel rather blue.