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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Silver Master by Jayne Castle

This book is one of Jayne Ann Krentz's science fiction Harmony books written in the 1990s,  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, 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" (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.

Celinda Ingram closed her matchmaking business after a lurid scandal and fled to Cadence City to work at Promises, Inc. an exclusive matchmaking service. Celinda has a rare psychic ability that she keeps secret. She can read other people's psi-waves. It isn't mind reading, but it does mean that she can tell what their strengths and weaknesses are, and she can recognize them by their psi-wave alone (which is like a fingerprint). No one wants to be with someone who can discover what your weaknesses are, so she keeps quiet about it.  When she comes back from a disastrous lunch with her dust bunny, Araminta, there is a Detective Alice Martinez and a strange man, Davis Oakes, waiting in her office. When she walks up to the door, she can sense Oakes' strong psi talent and that he could be Mr. Perfect.

Detective Martinez is interested in a dead body found outside an antiques shop Celinda visited the other day when she went in and bought a red plastic looking thing Araminta was interested in.  Once she finds out that Celinda knows nothing about the body, she leaves. Oakes, meanwhile, is interested in the cheep object she bought. He owns a high end security company that is investigating the theft of an artifact from the Guild.  Celinda's heart stops. The scandal that ruined her business involved a high ranking Guild member in Frequency City, Benson Landry (who falls in the crazy category), who didn't take it too kindly when she refused to find him a Covenant Wife. The last thing she wants is more Guild trouble.  Of course, that's exactly what she gets, when Araminta takes the relic and runs off with it.  Davis understands this, though, because he too has a dust bunny named Max. Davis himself, doesn't like matchmakers. He hired one and was set up with a woman with whom he became engaged to be in a Covenant Marriage. She basically left him at the alter.  It was a very expensive lesson for him to learn.

After dinner, the two are attacked by a strange man who produces a doppelganger ghost.  Davis, who comes from a hunter family, but is not one himself, makes the ghosts disappear. Celinda had rushed out to help him and was almost run down by the get-away car. She was able to get the driver's psi wave pattern, which showed him to be psychotic.  Davis explains to her that he is able to wield silver light, which is rare and makes ghost hunters nervous, which is why he went into the detective business. What he doesn't tell her is that he can also become invisible and make anyone he holds invisible for several minutes. The problem is it burns amber and if you are in the catacombs that can be dangerous. Also, one time when he did it, he stayed invisible too long and went into a coma and was put into a hospital, which was a total nightmare for him.  Between that experience and the embarrassment of his wedding, his business has suffered, and this is his first case in over six months.

He has his bodyguard, Trig, a really delightful guy who spends his time reading while watching over things, and always has your back, keep an eye on Celinda after her apartment is broken into.  Oddly, her very nosy neighbor, Mrs. Furnell, noticed nothing, but has an odd headache. They don't stay long, because Celinda has to go be a bridesmaid at her sister's Covenant Wedding in a truly hideous pink dress.  Davis insists on going with her as her boyfriend, which is crazy because her family is going to pounce on him and give him the third degree.  As they are driving his amazing car to Frequency City, they start passing billboards for The Haunted Alien Ruins, which very much remind me of South of the Border (I really have to wonder if Krentz, who lives in the Northwest, has ever seen it).

What the two of them do not know, is that there is a doctor who has a relic, the twin to the one the Guild owns, who is determined to have both.  He lost his license for doing highly unethical experiments, that he is continuing to do in secret. It takes a special talent to use the relic; a talent like his.  The relics can give you power over another human being, including their thoughts and actions.  He has his own ideas for what he wants to use that power for and turns to Benson Landry for help.

Celinda and Davis find it harder and harder to deny their attraction to each other, even as they fight like cats and dogs over what they do.  But after a night of passion, he calmly picks her up and puts her in her own bed to sleep, telling her he prefers to sleep alone.  That of course, does not sit too well with Celinda and she gives him a bit of the cold shoulder until he kisses her again and she forgets. Of course he has a reason for this, a very odd one, but a good one.

The wedding goes off without a hitch in all it's pink glory, with only her brother finding out the truth, but promising not to tell.  When they are driving back that night, they are being chased by cars and hide in the Haunted Alien Ruins, where they fight it out and Celinda learns that she can use the relic and what it actually does and determines that the Guild must not have it as they will misuse it, but that it should be given to a hospital to help people and researched more fully. Of course, they have to first get out of the Ruins and there is the matter of the mysterious doctor who has the other relic.

I really like this book, but then I like all of her Harmony books. Celinda and Davis are such sweet characters who got screwed over in the worst way and they both start off with such prejudices against each other, while at the same time, having an instant attraction.  Her dust bunny Araminta gets into more trouble than the typical dust bunny. She won't give up the relic and she eats everything in sight, including what's on another person's table.  It's also hilarious every time something comes up and Celinda or someone will ask how are we going to pay for that, and Davis will just say we'll put it on the Guild's tab. I really don't want to see what their bill was by the end of the book.  Celinda has what I would call spunk. Both her and Davis are alike in that they know what it's like to fall to the bottom and have to climb your way back up and to be different than everyone else. This was just a truly delightful read.

Link to Amazon: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hWpi8A2GL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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