I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dark Light by Jayne Castle

This book is one of Jayne Ann Krentz's science fiction Harmony books,  when a group of humans left earth and landed on the planet Harmony and set up a base there.  But the curtain between the planet and earth would close and these colonist would be stuck with each other, for better or worse.  Aliens had once lived on this planet long ago and left it.  They are believed to have lived underground in the catacombs that are made of some kind of green mineral.  Over the years, the humans began to develop psi abilities which allowed them to use amber to "rez up" things such as cars, microwaves, cell phones, locks, etc... Some would develop particularly strong psi talents that required the use of amber to do, such as tuning amber (it has a unique frequency and if you go into the catacombs without tuned amber you will wander around until you go mad and die), read auras, handle and create "ghosts", or UDEMs (electrical energy that manifests in the form of a ghost) in the catacombs, music talents, botany talents, the ability to find and handle minerals, the ability to use alien technology.  The list is pretty endless. There are also dust bunnies, mysterious creatures with an endless apatite, who come and go as they please, collect the oddest things, and form attachments with humans. They have the loyalty of a dog who always knows when you need him and the independent streak and the insistence that you take care of his needs first of a cat. They're adorable.

Sierra McIntyre has been writing lots of stories putting a nasty spotlight on the Chrystal City Guild (The organization of ghost hunters that is sometimes little better than a mob.). She writes for a tabloid paper, The Curtain, but her stories are quite serious. The Guild has turned their back on burnt out hunters some of which are now becoming addicted to "ghost juice" and some of them are going missing. She also believes there is an alien lab somewhere and that all this is being run by the Guild.  The former Guild boss, Brock Jenner is now dead and there is a new boss, Fontana, who has requested a meeting with her and has an interesting proposition. Fontana wants to get to the bottom of who is selling and making the ghost juice and the location of this "alien lab" and he is hoping Sierra can help him. He also knows that her life is in danger. He was planning on offering her his security detail until he sees her and suddenly he is suggesting a Marriage of Convenience.

On Harmony there are two types of marriage and a MC is one that is temporary and either party can end it at any time.  However, if a child is conceived, the marriage immediately turns into a Covenant Marriage which is a permanent marriage and is pretty much impossible to get out of.  Everyone is pushed into getting into a CM by family and friends at some point in their lives.  Sierra's family, however, does not believe in MCs, only CMs.  But this is a chance to find the answers she has been looking for, so she agrees.  Fontana worries about Sierra's high society family of overachievers having a fit about marrying not just a Guild Boss, but a bastard. Fontana's mom had an affair with a married man who owned a large company.  He has no family left alive.

Sierra has a dust bunny named Elvis, and yes cue all the Elvis jokes. He even has a white cape and eats peanut butter and banana sandwiches. After Sierra goes home to find a dress to wear to the wedding at City Hall, she is attacked right outside the local bar she goes to in her neighborhood by the Nighriders, who are a drug dealing biker gang suspected of being the ones dealing the ghost juice. She manages to get inside the bar, and her old retired ghost hunter friends Simon, Mitch, Jeff, and Andy run them off by producing some UDEMs.  They escort her to her wedding, where she finds out how much she really is attracted to Fontana when they kiss to seal the marriage.  The newspaper has a field day with it. Of course Sierra did not think that the news would travel outside Chrystal City so she did not tell her parents, which would be a mistake she would find out about the next morning over breakfast when her mother called.  Fontana of course believes that her family have a problem with him. Sierra tells him it's just the MC that they have the problem with.  Sierra knows that they would love Fontana because he is an overachiever just like her whole family. She is the odd one who is lost and does not seem to have a direction in her life and has not achieved anything so far.  She's tried so many things and keeps failing. She also has a psychic ability of intuition, which needs no amber to use, that when she tells people they either don't believe her, or they want to use it for their gain.  

They think they will be safe at Fontana's super secure house, but when they go to sleep after a charity ball, the security is breached.  Fontana gets them out and into the catacombs through a hole-in-the-wall he has hidden in the house as the house is burning down.  While down there they encounter the Nightriders using some alien technology using ultraviolet-generating power that can fry them easily.  Fontana uses some tricks to slip by them and go into a part of the jungle that no one knows about so that he can crash after burning so much psi energy fighting.  They hide out there for a while and when they leave they run into the team that is being sent out to find them.  Now that they know what they are up against, it's just a matter of finding what they are looking for and Sierra might have the clue they need to find the hidden lab and unravel the whole awful scheme, with the help of Elvis, of course.

Sierra isn't your typical leading lady. She has wildly untamed curly hair and wears glasses, is claustrophobic. Fontana, though, is quite the handsome guy, but doesn't feel worthy of a good woman because of his heritage.  There's no denying that they click when they first meet or that they have a sizzling connection. The dialogue is delightful and funny and fast-paced. I loved all the characters, even the minor ones, and who couldn't love Elvis.  This really was a great book and a quick read as I did not want to put it down.  Castle has done it again!


 She realized that she was still wearing her lacy black bra, panties, and panty hose. The panty hose had to go. You couldn’t run for your life in panty hose.

-Jayne Castle (Dark Light p 190)
 The thing humans have going for them is that they are just flat-out stubborn when it comes to stuff like surviving.

-Jayne Castle (Dark Light p 202)
 “We should be able to take the guards. Four of them, two of us.” “Odds change if they’ve all got those ultraviolet-generating gadgets you ran into in the tunnels.” Ray pointed out. “We’ve got this little thing called the element of surprise working for us. They aren’t expecting trouble, and they sure as hell aren’t expecting it to come at them from above.” “Probably more guards inside the building,” Ray warned. “If we work fast, they won’t know anything has happened outside until it’s too late.” “Right.” Ray took another look through the glasses. “Just out of curiosity, have we got a contingency plan?” “Sure. A strategic retreat.” “Pretty basic sort of contingency plan,” Ray observed. “Usually the best kind.”

-Jayne Castle (Dark Light p 275)
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Light-Ghost-Hunters-Book/dp/051514519X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468248015&sr=1-4&keywords=Dark+Light

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