Dark Light by Jayne Castle
Mass Market Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Jove (August 26, 2008)
By Jessica Stewart, Courier Editor-in-Chief
“Two hundred years ago a vast energy Curtain opened in the vicinity of Earth, making interstellar travel practical for the first time. In typical human fashion, thousands of eager colonists packed up their stuff and lost no time heading out to create new homes and new societies on the unexplored worlds. Harmony was one of those worlds.”
Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Jayne Castle, returns to the world of Harmony in her newest installment to her Ghost Hunters series, telling the tale of yet another Guild boss and his lover. I have mixed feelings about this novel. It is both the best and the worst yet in the series. Nevertheless, I do recommend it to all Castle fans, and to anybody else who is looking for a quick read that enjoys futuristic romance novels.
Sierra McIntyre, a tabloid writer, has earned a reputation for attacking the local Ghost Hunter Guild, and now she has some questions about the disappearances of several retired Ghost Hunters. When she interviews the Guild boss, John Fontana, she does not find herself much closer to any answers—until Fontana proposes a Marriage of Convenience (a marriage that lasts only one year) and reveals that he, too, believes there is something fishy is going on. He wants to protect her and use her sources to solve the mystery.
She reluctantly agrees when she realizes that she actually does need the protection being married to a Guild boss will provide, and she wants to know what is really going on just as much as he does. Besides, it’s just one year, it’s nothing permanent. Unfortunately, they soon discover that Fontana’s social status cannot protect him, much less her. They deal with it, of course, and fall in love in the process.
Which is where I began having issues with the book. It reminded me of Romeo and Juliette in that the whole story spans several days, but the characters fall deeply in love with each other by the end of the novel. This is just a bit too unrealistic for me. Real love, in my opinion, takes a bit longer to grow. Sierra and Fontana certainly lust for each other, and definitely like each other a lot, and I’m willing to concede that by the end of the novel they are falling in love. Given a couple of weeks, it could turn into real love.
This brings me to the second thing I have to complain about. Everything happened too fast. There was plenty of detail, and I’m not complaining about how fast the plot went. But the story should have taken place over a couple of weeks. Again, everything happening over several days just did not seem realistic to me.
Of course, this is a novel about the future, and pretty much all of it seemed unreal to me. For all I know, this is how things actually will happen in the future, unlikely as it is.
Besides those two points, I loved the book. The plot is similar to the other novels in the series, but not so much that I could predict everything. In fact, the actual criminal came as a total surprise to me. I loved the characters, especially Elvis the dust-bunny—yes, the dust-bunny. Best of all, you do not need to have read the other books in the series to understand everything. Castle tells you everything you need to know in the beginning of the book. This may be tedious for those who have read the rest of the series, but I found it useful because I hadn’t for so long.
This novel is yet another Krentz success, and all of her fans should add it to their collection, as should anybody who thinks it sounds interesting.