Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Review - - Close Up
by Amanda Quick
Burning Cove, California - Book 4
Publisher: Berkley (Hardcover)
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer…
Vivian Brazier never thought life as an art photographer would include nightly wake-up calls to snap photos of grisly crime scenes or headshots for aspiring male actors. Although she is set on a career of transforming photography into a new art form, she knows her current work is what’s paying the bills.
After shooting crime scene photos of a famous actress, the latest victim of the murderer the press has dubbed the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian notices eerie similarities to the crime scenes of previous victims—details that only another photographer would have noticed—details that put Vivian at the top of the killer’s target list.
Nick Sundridge has always been able to “see” things that others don’t, coping with disturbing dreams and visions. His talent, or as he puts it—his curse—along with his dark past makes him a recluse, but a brilliant investigator. As the only one with the ability to help, Nick is sent to protect Vivian. Together, they discover the Dagger Killer has ties to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood royalty and high society. It is a cutthroat world of allure and deception that Vivian and Nick must traverse—all in order to uncover the killer who will stop at nothing to add them to their gallery of murders.
Regardless of the time, place, or pseudonym, Amanda Quick (a/k/a Jayne Ann Krentz) is a master crafter of mystery. In Close Up, the fourth book of Quick's Burning Cove series, the author takes us into the fascinating world of Hollywood's Golden Age and the deadly evil of a murderer lurking within. She begins weaving the threads of the mystery from the first pages of the book and keeps them tightly bound through several twists and turns until the final, stunning conclusion. I was hooked from beginning to end.
One of the many things at which Quick excels is creating atmosphere within her stories. Close Up is no exception. She transported me to the 1930's of the many Hollywood movies I've seen that were filmed in that era. The clothes, cars, nightclubs and mansions in the hills above Los Angeles. The beautiful young men who gathered in what would become Muscle Beach, who provide artistic inspiration to photographer Vivian. And the throng of crime beat photographers who rush to the scenes of murders in the middle of the night, flashbulbs popping, jostling one another in a bid to get the best shot, the front page photo, and the newspaper money to carry them through another day. It all played out, like a black and white film reel in my mind.
I adored Vivian. She's a wonderful representation of the bold, "modern" women of the time who were venturing out into the world (she's cut off by her wealthy father), forging their own paths, using their voices, and creating careers, and lives, of their own choice. Nick, a man who admires her fortitude, respects her skill, and shares the desire blooming between them, is her perfect partner. And, while the suspense is more heavily weighted in this book, their romance is grounded with an emotionally satisfying depth...and a flash of sizzle. Vivian is also the right woman to help Nick deal with the emotional trauma of his past and stand strongly by his side into the future. I so enjoyed these two and loved watching them work together to unravel the mystery. A mystery, with many moving parts, that kept me trying to figure everything out right up until the end of the book. I love when an author is able to do that.
Close Up is the fourth book in Quick's Burning Cove series but stands on its own. While a few characters from earlier in the series make appearances, reading their stories first is not necessary to thoroughly enjoy Vivian and Nick's journey in Close Up. It has my enthusiastic recommendation.