Tightrope by Amanda Quick, Berkley, May 2019, 4 Stars
An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a top secret invention in this New York Times bestselling novel from Amanda Quick.
Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.
In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.
Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.
This is the third book in the Burning Cove series by Amanda Quick and while it’d help to read the previous two novels, it’s not necessary. Having read all her previous novels not just the two in this new series, it meant I was familiar with the Jones family and their psychic abilities. Again, this wasn’t a requirement to enjoy the story since it was a “stand-alone” novel. Still, I always enjoy returning to a world I know, especially one created by a skilled writer.
Amalie Vaughn, a former trapeze artist left the circus life after she escaped a killer. She moved to Burning Cove with her aunt and opened a bed and breakfast, only to learn that one of the previous guests apparently committed suicide. When the next guest, an inventor is murdered, the deaths have just begun and so has the investigation. Amalie tries to tell herself and Matthias Jones that any publicity is good publicity, but she doesn’t believe it.
Amanda Quick has a gift for developing characters. The witty dialogue advances the plot. This is a new historical era for her, the glamorous days of 1930s Hollywood but she handles it well. However, more details would have helped since it seemed as if Pickwell’s “killer” came out of nowhere and there were insufficient clues for the reader to solve the case. In addition, at times it became difficult to “see” the various supporting characters including those from previous stories in the series which made it necessary to return to those two books. Yet, it’s always enjoyable to spend time with old friends and it will be fun to return to Burning Cove at some point in the future.