Welcome to Illusion Town on the colony world of Harmony—like Las Vegas on Earth, but way more weird.
Living in this new, alien world doesn’t stop the settlers from trying to re-create what they’ve left behind. Case in point—weddings are still the highlight of any social calendar. But it’s the after-party that turns disastrous for Lucy Bell. Kidnapped and drugged as she leaves the party, she manages to escape—only to find herself lost in the mysterious, alien underground maze of glowing green tunnels beneath Illusion Town. She’s been surviving on determination and cold pizza, scavenged for her by a special dust bunny, when help finally shows up.
Gabriel Jones is the Ghost Hunter sent to rescue her, but escaping the underground ruins isn’t the end of her troubles—it’s only the beginning. With no rational reason for her abduction, and her sole witness gone on another assignment for the Guild, whispers start circulating that Lucy made it all up. Soon her life unravels until she has nothing left but her pride. The last thing she expects is for Gabriel Jones to come back to town for her.
The Lucy that Gabriel finds is not the same woman he rescued, the one who looked at him as if he were her hero. This Lucy is sharp, angry, and more than a little cynical—instead of awe, she treats him with extreme caution. But a killer is still hunting her, and there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to heroes. Despite her wariness, Gabriel is also the one person who believes Lucy—after all, he was there. He’s determined to help clear her reputation, no matter what it takes. And as the new Guild Boss, his word is law, even in the lawlessness of Illusion Town.
I’ve been known to start a series with Book 15 (or otherwise well into the series) before, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d try a Harmony Novel well into a long-running series. Well, according to Amazon, Book 15; according to Goodreads, Ghost Hunters series, Book 14. I’m confused from the beginning.
I’ve tried other paranormal series before but I think what attracted me in this instance is that Sweetwater and the Witch (Harmony Novel Book 16—according to Amazon—is the Editors’ pick for Best Romance. Hmmm, you say, but you don’t read romance. Well, yes, that would be true. Or for that matter, “Paranormal Vampire Romance”?? Thought I’d test this novel first—then see if I didn’t want to swing right into the Editors’ pick. So, do I?
This is like almost no—well, okay, none of the paranormal books I’ve read before. And no, you can’t pick this up as a standalone. Totally lost, my first problem was the “dust bunny.” Is this supposed to be a dog substitute? If so—how does he have six legs? Four eyes? (What was I reading?) Confusion reigned supreme.
The paranormal tendencies were also “gifts” of a nature I’ve heretofore never read, nor imagined. Lucy Bell is a weather (goddess) channeler—she can summon–at will–weather patterns that would disrupt any unhappy situation.
She was rescued following her kidnapping by Gabriel Jones, a Ghost Hunter and now the new Guild Boss of the area. This is Illusion Town—a Las Vegas by any other nightmare. It’s an alien world. Of course there is romance. Who doesn’t love the white knight who rescued you?
It’s a futuristic world with a dark underbelly and antagonists who harbor a conspiracy that threatens to harness the very power source of Harmony with “tuned amber.” Otis, the dust bunny, seems to be fairly capable, but communicates with annoying and constant chortles and has an amazing affinity for pizza.
I could do without the romance and attendant sex and was ready to find a powerful vacuum to rid myself of the dust bunny but had to admit to enjoying the imagination it took to fashion scenes in a tour bus of an alien world, the underworld, the inhabitants, and extremely bizarre weather patterns.
The storyline does hook as well as hold engagement. The explanation of society as it evolved in this world was simplistic while sensible in the setting and the descriptions of marriage and law were interesting. There is an eclectic mix of characters from the techno-wizards to evil doers—the push-pull of good versus evil. The narrative is complex and entertaining.
But will I progress to Sweetwater and the Witch? Probably not. If you, however, are looking for a unique paranormal romance, this may be the book or series for you. There are themes that include
politics and friendships—
as well as those imagined hurdles future colonists may confront.
I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts. (Oh, and by the way, I also stumbled on this author and series because I was looking for books narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Barbara Rosenblat, and she didn’t disappoint.)
Genre: Action & Adventure Romance, Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.
Listening Length: 8 hrs 48 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Guild Boss [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Rosepoint Publishing: Four stars
The Author: The author of over 50 New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 35 million copies of her books in print.
[Goodreads] She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.
Ms. Krentz is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.
©2022 V Williams