cover image Tightrope


Amanda Quick. Berkley, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-58536-4

Quick’s third thriller set in Hollywood’s Golden Age is a dense work of romantic suspense. Burning Cove, Calif., a playground for Hollywood stars and wannabes, also attracts plenty of eccentrics, including former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn. She used every last dime to open a B and B in the same mansion once owned by psychic Madam Zolanda, who mysteriously jumped from its roof (in The Other Lady Vanishes). Amalie is one of hundreds in the audience for a demonstration of a butler robot, and is horrified when the machine murders his own creator, Dr. Pickwell—who happens to be her first paying guest. However, Matthias Jones, who has arcane abilities and works for suspected mob boss Luther Pell, doesn’t for a second believe that a poorly wired robot could shoot to kill. He knows Luther lured Pickwell to town to arrange the illegal sale of a highly valued ciphering machine that the U.S. government wants back, and thinks the murder is related. Quick excels at developing complex plots that keep the reader guessing, all while building chemistry between Amalie and Mattias as they work together to catch a criminal who may also be linked to Amalie’s past. This tangled novel will satisfy series fans and others looking for a bit of a challenge. (May)