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 colonists 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.
The founders also insisted on what is called a Covenant Marriage. If you have one of these, it is nearly impossible to get out of. You can pay to get out of one, but you will be broke by the end of it. The founders believed that close connections were important if they were going to survive. And these days no one gets out of being nagged by some family member about getting a CM, even the gays. The founders also set up what is called a Marriage of Convenience, which was basically a classy way of saying you were shacking up with someone. It could be broken at any time, by either party.
This book takes place mainly in Illusion Town, a kind of Las Vegas whose motto is "Where the thrills are real." It is set out in eight zones: the Fire and Storm Zones are uninhabitable due to intense paranormal radiation, the more opulent casinos and nightclubs were in the Amber and Saphire Zones, the low-rent enter gambling establishments, and racier shows were in Amethyst and Emerald, the Dark Zone was a neighbourhood community with a few gambling places and clubs but was mostly where people who worked in the casinos lived, and the Shadow Zone was the least prosperous of the zones and whatever glamour it had was only visible at night and during the day the casinos were closed which is unheard of in the other zones.
HannahWest, a dreamlight talent who dream walks, has a shop set up where she is known as the Finder, since she is able to find lost objects. She was left with a couple Clara and Bernice who had a magic act together by her parents who died in a drug deal gone bad. Her mother left her with a crystal necklace that was to be her inheritance. Hannah has just found the missing piece of crystal which forms a map to the Midnight Carnival a very special find that she files a claim on.
The book opens with Hannah and one of her former clients, Elias Coppersmith finally agreeing to go out on a date. When Elias heads out he finds out something bad has happened and the promise he gave Hannah that he would not ask her for a favor goes down the drain. The next thing the two of them are in a cheap motel trying to remember what happened. Worse, Elias has a certificate on him that says the two of them are in and MC. What would possess them into getting an MC and what would cause them to lose their memories? The answer to the last question is quickly answered that they were psi-burned, which can cause memory loss. Now it's only a matter of trying to figure out what happened.
A fortune teller's slip of paper you would get at a carnival is in her purse and she believes that they must have gone to the Midnight Carnival and they quickly remember it was to escape the bikers. They figure out the bikers must have been trying to stop Hannah from working to help Elias's company who has men stuck behind a waterfall of dreamlight that was triggered while they were mining Ghost Town nearby. So they figure the best way to get the bikers and whoever is out to stop them is to get the job done. Of course, they don't realize the commotion their marriage will cause in the DZ (Dark Zone) where her family is or in Coppersmith's family or workplace.
The more Hannah tries to brush off the MC as nothing the angrier Elias gets. Both of them are falling for each other of course but Hannah cannot believe that she is capable of having a relationship with a man due to her dreamlight talent and he's a rich Coppersmith to boot. Elias on the other hand, does not see any obstacles. Of course when the job in Ghost Town becomes more complicated than it at first appeared and it seems that more people are after Hannah the two must learn to trust each other as never before in order to survive this ordeal, after all in Illusion Town the thrills are real.
She hurried up the stairs, reminding herself that the two of them had been through worse during the night. They had been attacked by a motorcycle gang. They had been psi-burned. They had gotten married.
-Jayne Castle (Illusion Town p 100)
Hannah watched the very still men in the street. “Are they--?” “Alive.” Elias glanced at the devise in his hand. “I think. Still working out a few bugs in the crystal-ware. I didn’t want to risk using it with us inside the car, not at that power level. Too much chance of blowback. Might have taken us out, as well.” She swallowed hard. “I see. Wow. Okay. Who needs a bodyguard when you’ve got an engineer handy.”
-Jayne Castle (Illusion Town p 125)
“You’re not exactly normal. Neither am I. Coppersmiths don’t have a problem with not being normal. You could say it’s a family tradition.” “You don’t know how much that means to me,” she said. “Thank you.” “It’s not a compliment, damn it. It’s just a fact.” She smiled. “It’s the best gift you could have given me tonight.”
-Jayne Castle (Illusion Town p 147)
“Life is simple for a dust bunny,” he said, “It’s a priorities thing, I guess. What didn’t kill you in the past isn’t worth obsessing about and there’s not much point trying to anticipate what might try to kill you in the future.” Hannah wrinkled her nose. “Because whatever it is, it will probably come from the one direction you least expect it to come from.”
-Jayne Castle (Illusion Town p 206)Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Illusion-Town-Novel/dp/0515155756/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482936581&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=Illusiion+Town