Zoe Luce is a successful interior designer in the Arizona town of Whispering Springs who's developed an unusual career specialty-helping recently divorced clients redesign their homes, to help them forget the past and start anew. But Zoe knows that some things can't be covered up with a coat of paint. And when she senses that one of her clients may be hiding a dark secret, she enlists P.I. Ethan Truax to find the truth. Working together, they solve the mystery . . . and barely escape with their lives. But Ethan's exquisite detection skills are starting to backfire on Zoe: she never wanted to let him find out about her former life; she never wanted to reveal her powerful, inexplicable gift for sensing the history hidden within a house's walls; she never wanted him to know that "Zoe Luce" doesn't really exist. She never wanted to fall in love with him. Now, no matter how much she resists, Ethan may be her only hope-because the people she's been running from have found her.
Krentz's latest opens with an intriguing scene: interior designer Zoe Luce enters the bedroom of her latest client and is immediately assaulted by waves of terror, rage, screams and violence emanating from the walls. This sensitivity to her surroundings is Zoe's innate gift, and she immediately suspects that her client's wife has not left him, as he claims, but was murdered. She seeks out private eye Ethan Truax to discover the truth. But soon a much more tangled plot reveals itself: Zoe herself is an escapee from a mental hospital, to which she was committed after the murder of her husband, and hired goons are trying to track her down and return her to the institution. Narrator Bean deftly differentiates between the myriad character voices, including pompous Dr. Ian Harper (the asylum's crooked owner), raspy-voiced security consultant Singleton, simpering Kimberly Cleland (wife of Zoe's scheming cousin), Southern-accented Bonnie (Ethan's sister-in-law), and dramatic, glamorous Acadia (Zoe's friend and fellow asylum escapee). Krentz weaves the numerous threads into a satisfying mystery. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 4, 2002). (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 29, 2003
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Excerpt from Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz
The walls screamed at her.
"Oh, damn," Zoe Luce whispered. She halted in the doorway of the empty bedroom and stared at the white walls. Not now. Not today. Not this time. I really need this job.
The walls sobbed. Terror pulsed through layers of Sheet-rock and the fresh coat of stark white paint that covered it. The silent shrieks ricocheted off the floor and ceiling.
She put her fingers to her temples in a purely instinctive, utterly useless gesture. She squeezed her eyes shut, bracing herself against the ragged bolts of icy lightning that were shooting through her and pooling into a glacial pond somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach.
Davis Mason had followed her so closely down the hall that he was only a pace behind her when she came to a sudden stop. He bumped awkwardly against her.
"Oops, sorry." He caught his balance. "I wasn't paying attention."
"My fault." With what she hoped was an unobtrusive movement, she eased out of the doorway back into the hall. Things were much better out here. She could cope. She gave Davis what she hoped was a bright, assured smile. It wasn't easy, what with the muffled cries still leaking out of the bedroom.
She wanted out of this house. Fast. Whatever had happened in the bedroom had been bad.
"Hey." Davis touched her shoulder lightly. "Are you all right, Zoe?"
She gave him another shaky smile. It was relatively easy to smile at Davis. He had elegant lines and cleaning styling with just the right touch of roguish flair. If he'd been a car, he would have been a sleek, European roadster. Judging by the spacious home, the hand-tailored shirt and trousers, and the onyx and diamond ring he wore, he was also wealthy. In short, she thought sadly, until that moment, she had considered him the ideal client.