cover image Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

Jayne Ann Krentz. Pocket Books, $24 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-671-52306-0

When hotel magnate J.L. Trask returns to Avalon, Ariz., to open his magnificent new resort, art expert Alexa Chambers and the other locals in this New Age town suspect he's come, after 12 years, to avenge his father's death. Trask, convinced that his father was murdered, must deal with Avalon's charismatic guru, Webster Bell, and his many eager disciples in bestselling author Krentz's (Flash) latest romantic thriller. Alexa, who considers herself Trask's nemesis--his accusations against her stepfather have echoed in her mind since she was 16, when she forced the furious Trask to leave her home--becomes his unlikely ally in the search for the truth behind his father's death. The prolific Krentz, who also churns out bestsellers as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, once again demonstrates her knack for page-turning plots that masterfully inveigle and misdirect readers up to a surprising denouement. Krentz here captures the intriguing perils of the art collecting world: Alexa's career as an expert on 20th-century art was nearly ruined after a forgery scandal tarnished her reputation. The Dimensions Institute, the metaphysical retreat that dominates Avalon, is another richly observed milieu. Psychics, aura readers and meditation guides hold sway, and the author treads a thin line between poking fun at so-called New Age enlightenment and lauding the benefits of introspection and intellectual pursuits. In the end, this is a well-paced thriller fraught with tension--both sexual and suspenseful--that will please Krentz fans. (May)