Title: Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.
They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother’s hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn’t be bothering them anymore…ever. Still their lives would never be the same.
Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother’s mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.
Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts…and wants.
Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack’s brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth….
In Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz, an eighteen year old secret appears to the impetus for the deaths of two people and a series of attempts on the lives of others connected to those long ago events. This incredibly fast-paced and riveting mystery is full of exciting plot twists that are guaranteed to keep readers’ on the edge of their seats until the novel’s dramatic and very unexpected conclusion.
Although Madelaine Chase has tried to forget the traumatic events of that long ago night, she is still haunted by the foiled attack. Unable to fully trust any man, she has been unable to sustain a lasting relationship despite her best efforts. While still mourning the unexpected loss of her beloved grandmother, Edith, Madelaine is forced to return to the Aurora Point Hotel after a chilling phone call from the abandoned property’s eccentric caretaker, Tom Lomax. Before Tom can tell her why he needed to see her, he is brutally murdered and Madelaine calls in hotel security expert, Jack Rayner, to help her investigate his death.
Madelaine is a no-nonsense business executive who is mostly unflappable even under the most unpleasant circumstances. Already unnerved by her return to Cooper Island, she is truly frightened after she realizes Tom’s death was no accident. Knowing she has to be completely honest with Jack, Madelaine reluctantly reveals the horrifying details of the attack and subsequent series of events that occurred eighteen years earlier. With only a handful of people knowing the truth about what happened, she and Jack are stunned to discover that someone has stolen important information that was concealed by her grandmother and Tom after the attack. When Madelaine and Jack learn her childhood friend Daphne Knight’s condo has recently been ransacked, they are convinced the break in, Tom’s murder and quite possibly, Edith’s death, are somehow linked to what happened at the Aurora Point Hotel that horrible night eighteen years ago.
Jack is no better at relationships than Madelaine and he is nonplussed by his unwanted attraction to his employer. Putting aside his unprofessional feelings for her, he quickly focuses on the case. As a former consultant as an FBI profiler, Jack has an uncanny ability to predict with some degree of certainty what the attacker might do next, but narrowing down the suspect list is a little more difficult. An unpleasant confrontation with a member of a prominent local family steers the investigation in an unexpected, but completely viable, direction. With the assaults on them escalating, Jack calls in his tech savvy genius brother (and partner) Abe to help ferret out information about both the past and present cases. The information they unearth is shocking and it quickly becomes apparent that someone is willing to go to any lengths to ensure their long buried secrets remain hidden.
While investigative duties keep everyone fairly busy, the four lead characters find time for love. Jack and Madelaine’s simmering sexual tension reaches a boiling point and they finally decide to stop fighting the inevitable. While neither has any expectation of a permanent relationship, they are pleasantly surprised to discover how in tune they are with each other. Madelaine is rather intuitive where Jack is concerned and she quickly discerns what he carefully conceals from his loved ones. Jack is incredibly patient and understanding about Madelaine’s (understandable) idiosyncrasies which is helpful in removing the impediments that have derailed her previous relationships. Madelaine is more receptive to committing to a future with Jack than he is since he is very reluctant to reveal the secrets that haunt him.
Secret Sisters is an intriguing mystery with an engaging storyline and well-developed characters. The mystery element is brilliantly executed and Jayne Ann Krentz skillfully utilizes a series of misdirects and red herrings to obscure the perpetrator’s identity and possible motives for the crime(s). Clever plot twists and jaw dropping revelations bring the novel to a spectacular conclusion.
A very perplexing and riveting mystery that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.