This is the second book in the Burning Cove series that is written by Amanda Quick (nom de plume of Jayne Ann Krentz). I didn't continue on with buying the series (although I might get it from the library) simply because the third book doesn't quite match to the first two covers in my opinion. It is quite pretty but I think these books hover around three stars for me so I saw no need to complete my collection.
Anyways, this book is the second book in the series but they're loosely collected and can be read as stand-alone books. I think that's my favorite type of series sometimes because I don't always enjoy the massive backlog of characters who start popping up as series get longer. It's exhausting.
Title: The Other Lady Vanishes (Burning Cove #2)
Author: Amanda Quick
Page Number: 340 pages (hardcover)
Genre: romance, mystery, historical, fiction
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California—where the most dazzling of illusions can't hide the darkest secrets...
After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over. Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.
In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they'll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.
Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they'll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be—and uncover the specter of a killer who's been real all along...
Burning Cove is an imaginary town in 1930s California, filled with movie stars escaping from the press and an unending stream of young women who keep falling into dead bodies. The main lady character is named Adelaide Blake, she works in an herbal tea shop and brews custom tisanes for her customers. Some of her customers are movie stars, other regular townspeople and one is the main male character, Jake Truett. Jake is a retired businessman suffering from exhaustion who has moved to Burning Cove to recuperate.
I feel like we should bring back exhaustion as a perfect excuse to take a break from work. I'm super tired. I'd like a doctor to prescribe a full week of spa treatments and Netflix. Please and thank you.
To add to the drama, we soon learn that Jake is technically retired but is in Burning Cove for an undercover mission. He's looking for a secret diary that ties into spies/spyrings during this time period between the wars.
We find out as the book goes on that Adelaide is on the run from people. She can't remember all of what she's seen when she escaped from a northern California sanitarium but either way, people from the sanitarium arrive in Burning Cove in hopes of taking control of her again.
Other characters make appearances, such as the psychic Madame Zolanda and Luther Pell (the gambler den owner). In fact, I think there is a bit of a romance subplot between Luther and another character named Raina Kirk (the lady detective).
I think the mystery is pretty good, the characters are well developed and the town really interesting. I can tell Quick has done research into the time period but it still read as a really modern read.
There's a lot going on with the psychics, the spies, the sanitarium, and the multiple murders. Even with all the crazy action and multiple exciting plot points it didn't really grab me the way I wanted to. I haven't read any of Amanda Quick's other books (or any of Krentz's other books) but these two seemed formulaic and I think that was why they didn't grab me. Even with a slightly twisty ending, I really didn't feel pulled into these stories beyond the time I was reading them. I think because things happen but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. (See the review here with ALL the spoilers).
Penguin/Random House (who should be Random Penguin House, just for my benefit) has an excerpt of the book.
If you want to watch a movie from the 1930s that more of a mystery, The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock) would fit that niche perfectly. I think when I picked up the book I was hoping for the same vibe (it's not the same vibe). PBS did a version of it in 2013.
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