Dawn in Eclipse Bay

Eclipse Bay

Eye of the Beholder

Flash

Light in Shadow

Lost & Found

Sharp Edges

Soft Focus

Summer in Eclipse Bay

 
All Night Long
by Jayne Ann Krentz
(Putnam, $24.95, PG-13) ISBN 0399-15305-5
*****
Tense, taut and frighteningly real drama is unique in the romance genre. Jayne Ann Krentz has found the right combination to fill this suspenseful page-turner with the ingredients to warm the heart of the romance reader. This story stayed with me for days after reading it and I had to keep myself from starting it all over again. That is a tribute that only a five heart read earns.

All Night Long introduces us to Irene Stenson at age 17 on a night 17 years ago when she walked into her kitchen and discovered her mother and father dead of an apparent murder-suicide. Irene is now a reporter for a local paper in California and has returned to her hometown, Dunsley. Her best friend for one summer, Pamela Webb, emailed Irene that she had information about that night long ago.

Following that night, which Irene is certain was NOT a suicide-murder, Irene lived with her great aunt and went through many years of therapy. She decided to turn to journalism to gain some control and solve mysteries that others could not solve. She is good at her job, even though it is small town and relatively routine daily reporting.

Pamela was wild and rebellious, primarily due to her family. The Webbs were the local celebrities. Now, out of the blue, Pamela emails Irene to meet her in Dunsley.

Irene checks into the local Sunrise on the Lake Lodge, a group of cabins that are generally rented out for the tourist season. Being the off-season, she is one of the only tenants. The new owner, Luke Danner, is intriguing too. An ex-Marine, he is searching for his niche in the after military life. He has just recently broken off an engagement to an old family friend.

Luke is attracted to Irene and she is also intrigued by him, although she doesn’t want to be. Luke senses unrest in Irene and for some reason, finds himself feeling protective of her. Circumstances lead to several things – together they discover the body of Pamela, who has died of an apparent overdose of pills and booze.

Irene doesn’t believe it. Next thing you know, Luke and Irene almost get blown up when the Webb’s house is destroyed while they are in it looking for clues. Irene’s reporter instincts kick in and the search for the truth is on.

This story revolves around the events of the past as the two investigate the events of the present. Their investigation moves the story. But it is their discovery about themselves and their romance that is just as interesting as the events. Irene is not your typical heroine. She is courageous, but that has occurred because of the things she has had to live through. She is scared of the dark and just seems to find herself in situations that cause her to plow through. She is resilient and this comes across as sassy and secure, when she is often second-guessing herself. Luke is secure, but also has issues, fighting nightmares and demons of his own. He is funny, caring, and intuitive, as he sees both the strengths and vulnerabilities in Irene and this intrigues him.

Luke’s family plays a role and demonstrates his softer side. There is a scene when they decide to do an “intervention” to help him because they think he is on the verge of suicide, thanks to some highly inaccurate advice from a family friend psychologist. It is one of the most humorous scenes I have read in a long time and is almost worth the price of the book alone.

All Night Long is riveting for the suspense and heartwarming for the romantic and satisfying relationship between Irene and Luke. Both are strong characters and yet, together they are stronger with an intensely intimate loving relationship that grows as the story unfolds. This is one book worth the high cost of the hardback version.

--Shirley Lyons


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