cover image After Dark

After Dark

Jayne Castle. Jove Books, $7.99 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-515-12902-1

Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) is well known for her playful love stories, and this futuristic tale of romantic suspense runs delightfully true to form. In an ancient city on the planet Harmony--a place where professional ghost hunters and ""para-resonators"" are necessary to defuse the dangerous vestiges of past settlements--Lydia Smith's career as a para-archeologist crashes when she is caught in an ""illusion trap,"" precipitating a trauma that experts believe makes her too vulnerable for future work in the field. Lydia takes a stopgap job at an amusingly cheesy museum called Shrimpton's House of Ancient Horrors and begins building a private consulting business with the para-resonating skills she's convinced she can muster just as well as ever. During an interview with her first prospective client, mysterious hunk Emmett London, she discovers the dead body of a shady colleague, Chester Brady, in one of Shrimpton's sarcophagi. As a suspect in Chester's demise, Lydia is forced to uncover the facts about his murder; at the same time, she must untangle both Emmett's hidden agenda and the potent attraction she feels for him. Science fiction fans might find Harmony a bit too similar to contemporary America, right down to its blue jeans and baby vegetables. But for readers seeking an appealingly effervescent romance mildly spiced with paranormal fun, this novel won't disappoint. (Sept.)