Release Date: May 5, 2020
Series: Burning Cove
Heat Level: Sensual
Publisher: Penguin Group
Up Close is the fourth book in the Burning Cove series from Amanda Quick. The story is set in 1930’s LA among the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s golden age. Vivian is a photographer working nights on the crime beat to cover the costs of her true passion, fine art photography. We meet Vivian as she’s called to the latest murder in a series that has been haunting the hills of Hollywood. Her involvement in documenting the scene sets a whole new mystery in motion. Aided by private investigator, Nick, Vivian must find a killer and save herself in the process.
I have been a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz’s historical romance novels written under the pen name Amanda Quick for many years. She always manages to create an engaging mystery, and well-rounded characters that keep me coming back for more. This book is no different as it follows not one but two mysteries that all center around Vivian. The story starts at a crime scene, and Quick doesn’t let up on the action and the intrigue for the entirety of the book
The characters of Nick and Vivian are very nuanced and interesting. I liked that both characters were given a bit of the psychic powers that is typical in Quick books, but it was not as pronounced as other offerings. I also enjoyed how both main characters were thoroughly modern people for their time. Vivian is a great example of the emboldened women of the 30’s who were finding their way in the world outside of the expected ideals. Nick is an excellent partner for this type of woman, thoughtful and pragmatic, he embraces her wit and intelligence.
Perhaps, that is why I was a bit bothered that as is typical for these books the romance becomes lost at times among the action and the mystery. Usually, I don’t mind this in Amanda Quick novels, but this time around I did find it a little too light on the romance for my personal taste. I think some of this comes down to the fact that the entire book takes place in about a week’s time, thus limiting the time spent on the couple coming together.
Quick is always a master of her craft, but she shines the brightest for me in how she crafts a mystery. I love how plot threads are woven together and never seemed to be dropped. There were times I was worried that a detail had been missed because the resolution seemed incomplete, but by the end of the novel we are given every necessary answer. My only complaint with this story was that the ending was a bit too drawn out to ensure all ends were tied up. Some of the ending could have been relegated to a short epilogue, but was instead given several pages worth of time.
Overall I’d recommend this book to anyone that’s a fan of romantic suspense. I’d especially recommend it as an excellent example of a historical romance that isn’t set in the typical regency time period. This was the first book I have read in this series and I was happy that it easily stood on its own even as you were given glimpses of previous books’ characters.