by Jayne Ann Krentz
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Dream Eyes and Copper Beach, a brand-new quintessential Jayne Ann Krentz romance. It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue. Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found. A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue . . .
If you have been staying Caffeinated then you already know Jayne Ann Krentz and her pseudonyms are on my auto-buy list. I consumed, River Road, when it released in January and I’m delighted to share it with you. Set in wine country, Krentz delivers a murder mystery with complicated suspects and a hero and heroine we can adore. Mini review: Edge of your seat suspense with warm, slow-building friends to lovers romance that felt genuine.
The story begins with a prologue and takes us back to, Summer River, thirteen years ago for one night and briefly introduces us to Mason and Lucy. Krentz immediately drew me in as she bring us back to the present and introduces us to Lucy Sheridan as an adult. She is returning to Summer River, after her Aunt’s fatal accident. Mason is back visiting his Uncle and reassessing. Of course the two meet and I felt a sizzle. Lucy raises questions about her Aunt’s death as discoveries and revelations about the past stir up trouble. The tale that unfolds was suspenseful, well crafted and wrapped in a delicious romance.
Krentz has a knack for creating strong characters that you instantly connect with. Lucy is strong, and her instincts are quite good a skill that comes in handy as forensic genealogist. Mason and his brother run a successful firm solving cold cases. The man is everything that makes my knees buckle. *seriously* Smexy, noble, smart…*swoons* The friends to lovers trope is one of my favorites and Lucy and Mason were the perfect couple. From the moment, they were reunited you could feel the electricity in the air. Krentz allowed the romance to grow making it feel genuine and have depth. The towns-folk and suspects in this small wine town were complex from the family feuds to the secrets keeping me on edge.
River Road offered an engaging murder mystery with twists and turns that kept me guessing as I pieced clues together. What I found fascinating was the way Krentz weaved events from the past (prologue) to the current mystery and chain of events. It was quite clever; nothing felt forced making it all the more suspenseful and dangerous. She even gave us a glimpse into events through the killer’s pov. I had a list of suspects but she kept me guessing till the reveal. When it all clicked into place, I thought it was brilliantly crafted. While the romance was certainly an integral part of the story and brought us some heat, it didn’t overshadow the mystery but only enhanced it.
River Road gave me everything I look for in romantic suspense. Krentz is an author I will recommend time and time again to a broad spectrum of readers. She writes romantic-suspense, often with a psychic and paranormal twist, in three different worlds: Contemporary as Jayne Ann Krentz, historical as Amanda Quick and futuristic as Jayne Castle. I love all three genres, and she is one my favorite authors in each.
Four and half cups of coffee out of five