After Glow, by Jayne Castle

25 Jul

Just over three weeks ago, I finally listened to a book that has been in my shelves for…well, years: After Dark, by Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick aka…well, at least a couple more pseudonyms.

And now, I am back, with a review for the second installment of Ms Castle’s Harmony novels! (cue happy noises)

After Glow, by Jayne Castle

As I mentioned in the review of After Dark, this novel is a direct sequel, following the same couple through to their HEA, and resolving a number of questions that were left open after the first book ends.

There is more background on both Lydia and Emmett, as well as some filling in on the history of Harmony since humans first arrived to colonize the planet–and Fuzz, the most adorable dust bunny, continues to be absolutely awesome.

Here’s the blurb:

Life is complicated for Lydia Smith. She’s working at that tacky, third-rate museum, Shrimpton’s House of Ancient Horrors, trying to salvage her career in para-archaeology—and dating the most dangerous man in town. Just when she thinks she might be getting things under control, she stumbles over a dead body and discovers that her lover has a secret past that could get him killed.

Just to top things off, trouble is brewing underground in the eerie, glowing green passageways of the Dead City and that dynamic dust-bunny, Fuzz, has a couple of surprises up his tatty, furry sleeve.

Of course, all of those problems pale in comparison to the most pressing issue: Lydia has been invited to the Restoration Ball and she hasn’t got a thing to wear.

Now, let me preen a bit. There are a couple of lines of dialogue in After Dark, in a conversation between Emmett and Mercer Wyatt, the Hunters’ Guild boss in Cadence. I immediately thought, “I’ll be damned, Mercer is Emmett’s father!” Which, if you’ve read the fist novel, makes things quite a bit more complicated for Emmett, Mercer, Lydia, and Tamara, Mercer’s second wife–and Emmett’s former fiancée.

Well, I was right ::dusts off shoulders::

This is revealed pretty early in the story, after an attempt on Mercer’s life, and it clarifies a lot of Emmett’s motivations and semi-antagonism towards Mercer in After Dark. It also fuels the plot of After Glow.

Quick and dirty summary: Emmett has moved to Cadence, going so far as to buy a property in the same quarter of the city where Lydia lives. He’s plotting how to get Lydia to marry him, even if it’s only the temporary marriage of convenience–an upgrade to the permanent covenant marriage can be worked into their lives, with some time and the intimacy of sharing living space.

After her rôle in one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries in memory, Lydia has a new private client, with a large and complex project, and budget to match. Performing to his exacting specifications is sure to help cement her reputation as a consultant, and get her business a solid boost.

However, Lydia is still fixated on finding out what really happened to her during that last university project, that led to her being lost in the Catacombs under the city for two full days. In the course of putting out feelers on the matter, she happens upon yet another body.

Almost simultaneously, there is an assassination attempt on Mercer Wyatt, who calls on Emmett to take charge of Hunters’ Guild, while Mercer recovers from his wounds. Which, from Lydia’s perspective, drops a ton of complications into their lives, along with a hefty dose of danger–for Emmett.

The mystery angle in this novel is much better realized than the one in After Dark; for one, it ties several disparate threads together without last minute revelations. Hints and clues are dropped throughout the story, and while I could see fairly well where it was pointing from just over the half point in the book, there were still enough surprising details to enjoy all the way to the end.

There is a bit more action in the story, and once again, Lydia saves the day (this is always awesome in my book), though Emmett gets his own chance to be heroic.

The cast of characters is larger than in After Dark, but not so large as to require a chart. And since all the main, and most of the secondary, characters are filled in and fully dimensional, it’s easy to follow who is doing what, and why. There are, however, a number of red herrings–like in any mystery worth its salt, after all.

I liked that, as we learn more about the history of the human colonies in Harmony, we also see more of the inner workings of the Hunters’ Guild. So far, most of what we’ve learned about it comes from Lydia’s point of view, and she’s definitely biased against them.

On the romance side, I enjoyed very much how the conflicts between Emmett and Lydia are established, and how they are solved. The premise of the world building may be fantastic, but the human side makes sense; these two work at cross purposes for a time because they are still in an early stage of their relationship. They are not yet at the point where talking things through honestly with each other is natural and expected, but a risk neither is sure they can take.

So that’s great.

I really like Fuzz’s role, and even more that Ms Castle doesn’t try to explain him or to make him into a glorified dog, cat, bunny, whatever. Dust bunnies are their own entities, and it works.

I’m definitely going to continue with the series, at least for a bit (I’ve been told that we eventually learn more about the dust bunnies, which can only be A Good Thing).

After Glow gets a 7.75 out of 10.

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5 Responses to “After Glow, by Jayne Castle”

  1. Erin S. Burns 25/07/2017 at 5:46 PM #

    I think we get the rest of the backstory on dust bunnies in Deception Cove. Sooo…you have a ways to go. 🙂

    • azteclady 29/07/2017 at 10:17 PM #

      I started the third one, and I’m liking it so far–new dust bunny! :heart:

  2. Lori 29/07/2017 at 2:45 PM #

    I remember reading these ages ago and liking them muchly. It might be time for a reread. Jayne Whatevershewantstocallherself has always been a solid writer and the author who really turned me onto the romance genre as an adult.

    • azteclady 29/07/2017 at 10:19 PM #

      I am enjoying them very much. They are light in world building, but her writing voice in these is very enjoyable.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ghost Hunter, by Jayne Castle | Her Hands, My Hands - 11/08/2017

    […] Setting the story here means that we get a couple of glimpses of Lydia, Emmett and the ever lovable Fuzz, from After Dark and After Glow. […]

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