Sizzle and Burn

Jayne Ann Krentz
2008, Psychic Romance
G.P. Putnam's Sons, $24.95, 359 pages, Amazon ASIN 0399154450
Part of a series

Grade: C
Sensuality: Hot

Jayne Ann Krentz has been a comfort read author for me for years. I've re-read some of her books so many times that they are falling apart. Part of what's comforting for me is knowing what to expect. In particular, I can count on witty dialogue and intelligent heroes and heroines. While these are present in Sizzle and Burn, there just isn't enough to make it anything more than a rather mediocre offering.

Raine Tallentyre travels to a small town in Washington after her aunt dies under mysterious circumstances. While Raine explores her aunt's home with a realtor, she psychically hears the voice of a local serial killer known as the Bonfire Killer. His voice leads her and the local police to the discovery of a nude woman, trapped but still alive - in one of the many crates in the basement.

Zack Jones is an investigator for Jones & Jones investigations and the heir apparent to leadership of the Arcane Society, a group with mysterious beginnings long ago. His latest case involving the disappearance of an Arcane Society scientist leads him to Raine. Raine's father was expelled from the Society years earlier for allegedly working on a drug that would enhance people's psychic abilities. The missing scientist was apparently working on that same drug.

Zack feels an instant attraction to Raine, and the two discover that they have "mirror talent abilities," something rare - even within the Arcane Society. Raine hears voices of criminals - Zack sees images of their activities. Much of the chapter during which they meet reads like a lecture on psychic skills and the Arcane Society rather than providing any sizzle of chemistry. I read nothing to convince me of a strong attraction between the two, yet within hours of their meeting, Raine and Zack have sex. I just didn't buy it; it seemed way too fast.

The book features so many different threads that I never got the chance to warm up to Raine and Zack. Perhaps if eight or nine of those threads had been eliminated, the story might have interested me. As it was, the book was a jumble with far too little time for its leads, and I never found their relationship to be compelling.

There are many typical Jayne Ann Krentz touches to the main characters. Both Zack and Raine dress primarily in black. Raine wears black "ballet-style" slippers in her home (and I've wanted a pair ever since I read about them in one of my first JAK books). Raine wears glasses, as do a number of Krentz heroines. Raine lived with her aunt's friend Andrew, and his life partner Gordon, after her father died, another feature in other Krentz/Quick books.

This isn't a bad book. I appreciated that the ending surprised me, and enjoyed some of Krentz's witting writing. One scene I particular liked involved Zack bringing Raine to a meeting of the inner council of the Arcane Society. But I just don't see myself reaching for this book when I'm in need of a comfort read. In fact, I'm grateful that I borrowed it from the library. My shelves are filled with many of the author's other books that are far superior to this.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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