cover image Hidden Talents: Hidden Talents

Hidden Talents: Hidden Talents

Jayne Ann Krentz. Pocket Books, $6.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-671-77871-2

The interplay of colorful characters adds pizzazz to a drab mystery in this romance between business consultant Caleb Ventress and his newest client, Serenity Makepeace, who is expanding her grocery store in the artists' community of Witt's End, Wash., into a mail-order business. When the forthright Serenity tells Caleb that a blackmailer plans to publish nude photos of her unless she terminates her deal with Caleb, she is astonished by the intensity of his anger--but then she doesn't know about the old blackmail scandal involving his deceased parents. Serenity visits Ambrose Asterley, the local artist who shot the photos, but she finds him dead at the foot of his basement stairs. For far too much of this story, Caleb and Serenity putter along, assuming Ambrose was the blackmailer, his death solitary and accidental--ideas the reader won't buy for a minute. But meanwhile, Krentz ( Wildest Hearts ) conjures up a charming relationship between dissimilar but compatible lovers and whimsically paints the eccentric characters of Witt's End, where everyone is a close friend and people are judged by their auras. Taking a cue from the benevolent Serenity, Krentz's fans will delight in what she does well and forgive the rest. (Oct.)