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Garden of Lies Hardcover – April 21, 2015
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“Amanda Quick is an exceptional storyteller.” —Los Angeles Daily News
“One of the most creative, inventive storytellers in the field, Quick infuses her own addictive brand of breathless, sexy adventure with dashes of vengeance, greed, and violence and a hefty splash of delectable, offbeat humor.” —Library Journal
— eloquence quotes
About the Author
Amanda Quick is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, the author, under various pen names, of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers; there are more than 35 million copies of her books in print. She lives in Seattle.
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Top Customer Reviews
Garden of Lies starts with a really intriguing prologue, so if you read this on Kindle, check to make sure that Kindle didn't "conveniently" skip it for you. Slater Roxton is one of the more nuanced heroes we have seen from Quick in a while, born between two very different London cultures and with some remarkable life experiences, he's not just any substitute hero. Ursula Kern owns and operates an exclusive ladies secretarial pool. She has remade herself several times in an era when this wasn't typically possible for women, and in ways that absolutely fit the time period. When her best friend dies, and she believes it is murder, she upends her own life in order to find out the truth. Mostly Slater Roxton is along for the ride because he wants to protect Ursula. He is nicely protective but not overly so, and doesn't once as far as I can remember, step into alpha-hole territory. And furthermore, he respects Ursula, which makes it really easy for me to enjoy a book. The villainy and mystery were nice and twisty, and mostly (except for a brief flurry at the end) the relationship was nice and straightforward - which seems to be a nice change of pace for me. It reminded me why I loved Amanda Quick so much, because with her heroines could be smart, and brave, and resourceful, and intrepid, and any number of things besides just a damsel in distress requiring rescue. And in fact, the heroes could need rescuing too.
So, through the lens of my nostalgia, which is the only one I've got at the moment, this book was highly enjoyable. Trying to look at it objectively, I am not entirely certain new to Quick readers or those who don't have the same fond nostalgia as I do would rate it as highly. Still, for me this is a 4 star book.
The story goes that Ursula is a widow (a real widow this time, not a virgin pretending to be a widow) who runs a successful secretarial service. One of her girls has recently died under suspicious circumstances and Ursula decides to investigate. In order to pursue this plan, she has to break off her current post working with Slater Roxton. He's secretly attracted to her and unhappy about having their connection severed before he even got to first base so he demands to be part of her investigation. This proves fortuitous when Ursula quickly gets in over her head and needs Slater's money and position to keep things rolling. Throughout the book they work on solving the mystery and of course start sleeping together and ultimately declare their love by the end.
Along the way you'll see these typical JAK stock elements:
1) Heroine with an undeservedly scandalous past
2) Hero with an unconventional past that involves learning secret martial arts from forgotten monks
3) Hero whom the world considers "dark" and "mysterious" but who is really all gooey on the inside
4) A man who believes he's got a reason to hate the hero but who will become an ally through the heroine's insistence that the hero reconcile
5) Standard 2 sex scenes (though for once, none in a carriage)
6) Unconventional servants who are devoted to our protagonist(s)
Like I said, this book isn't breaking any new ground at all. It's the same formula JAK has been using for decades now. And it's a fine formula...the first half-dozen times you read it, but after that it starts to get old. I started reading this book and put it down just before Act III and ended up not coming back to it for a couple of weeks, which pretty much says it all. It's not that there was anything wrong with the story, it was just that I couldn't get excited about it when I'd read the same story dozens of times before.
As for the story, I liked both Slater and Ursula for the most part. Towards the end Ursula basically threw a tantrum because Slater said something she didn't like and rather than talk to him about it, she instead turned into a harpy and started snapping at everyone she met for about a day. This little scene was pretty gratuitous in my opinion. She and Slater never actually talked about what had pissed her off and he never figured out what was bothering her. It just kind of went away. The same can be said for Slater's former business partner and his issue with Slater. In the first half of the book it was played up like it was a big deal, then they had the requisite scene where, at Ursula's insistence, they hashed everything out and realized neither of them was actually mad about anything. But that happens about halfway through the book and unlike other JAK books, that guy completely disappears from the story after that without ever playing much of a part, so it felt like JAK included it just because it's part of the formula.
All in all the book was fine but nothing new.