Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Jayne Ann Krentz, the New York Times bestselling author of Secret Sisters, delivers a thrilling novel of the deceptions we hide behind, the passions we surrender to, and the lengths we’ll go to for the truth...

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished.

Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.

After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling…

When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Max and Charlotte are both pragmatic, down to earth people. Amongst the uncertainty of their investigation into the disappearance of Charlotte's sister, Jocelyn, and the death of Jocelyn's best friend, Louise, they fall in love. Their romance, like the characters themselves, is understated and subdued.

The star of this story is the mystery. Was Louise murdered or was it actually suicide? How does it link back to Jocelyn's disappearance, their investment club, and Jocelyn's rape in college? I enjoyed watching the many threads of this story unfold and then come together. Different parts of the story are told from the parts of the various players involved, so at times we know more of what is going on than our investigators. The mystery was engaging and the sprinkles of danger and romance kept it interesting. This is a good one for mystery buffs.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive! ~ Walter Scott

That pretty much sums up When All the Girls Have Gone in my opinion. Krentz has once again combined the elements that make a romantic suspense truly enjoyable – murder, secrets, lies, betrayals, action, and romance – and this book has them in spades. As such, it kept me up until two in the morning so I could finish it because I had to know who did what and why they did it. You see, there are several crimes and cover-ups that occur in the novel and even when I knew who did what, I still had to know why they did it.

There’s not going to be a lot of detail in my review because of the overlapping plotlines, and I don’t want to ruin the story for potential readers. The Walter Scott quote I used is very telling because the crime that leads to Max and Charlotte’s paths crossing sets off an investigation into the unsolved rape of Charlotte’s sister and a decade’s worth of secrets begin to unravel. What made this a particularly intriguing tale for me, is that even when I figured out parts of the story or the author revealed the identity of a culprit, there were still conspiracies to be uncovered, motives to be revealed, and lives to be saved. And just when I thought I had it figured out, another thread was pulled and a new set of questions arose. In short, this is not simply a murder mystery. As Charlotte and Max investigate, they get to know one another and they like what they learn. There might be an instant physical attraction, but as both have been badly burned in the past, it is not an instant love connection. They’re cautious and they take their time, neither making an attempt to move past their semi-working relationship to an intimate one until midway through the book. This slow progression of the romance allows it to feel more real as they build a foundation for a possible future together, assuming someone doesn’t kill them first.

The next part of my review may seem weird, but stick with me because I want you to stick with the book. One of my co-reviewers could not finish the book, it was too slow moving for her, I think she called it tedious. Now I’ve been reading Krentz for close to 25 years, having first discovered her writing as a teen, initially as Amanda Quick and then as Krentz. I love her writing style. For me, it’s akin to assembling a puzzle as she begins by giving the reader the information necessary to “frame” the story. Then little by little, she fills in the pieces, revealing some sections quicker than others, so that the reader gets part of the story while others are still obscured. It’s not until the final pieces are added during the post-mortem discussion of the case that the full picture can be seen and the puzzle completed. In the case of When All the Girls Have Gone, Krentz reveals who at least one of the bad guys is well before the end of the book, but for me that merely increased the suspense because I knew there was more to the story – we are talking conspiracies here – so knowing who it was, wasn’t enough for me. And even when all was said and done, Krentz dropped a beautiful bomb at the end that confirmed suspicions that I didn’t want to believe; it was perfect! While there is nothing that indicates this book is the first in a series, I do hope that Krentz takes advantage of the opening she left herself and writes a sequel or two about Max’s brothers because there’s a mystery there begging to be solved.

The author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, Jayne Ann Krentz uses three different pen names for each of her three “worlds.” As Jayne Ann Krentz (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense. She uses Amanda Quick for her novels of historical romantic-suspense. Jayne Castle (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.

“I am often asked why I use a variety of pen names,” she says. “The answer is that this way readers always know which of my three worlds they will be entering when they pick up one of my books.”

In addition to her fiction writing, she is the editor of, and a contributor to, a non-fiction essay collection, DANGEROUS MEN AND ADVENTUROUS WOMEN: ROMANCE WRITERS ON THE APPEAL OF THE ROMANCE published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.  Her commitment to her chosen genre has been strong from the very beginning of her career.  Each year at the annual convention of the Romance Writers of America she participates in a special day-long workshop for librarians and speaks on the importance of the romance genre.

“The romance genre is the only genre where readers are guaranteed novels that place the heroine at the heart of the story,” Jayne says.  “These are books that celebrate women’s heroic virtues and values:  courage, honor, determination and a belief in the healing power of love.”

She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California.  Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.

She is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.

Connect with Jayne

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of When All the Girls Have Gone (Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz to read and review.

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