Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz
Published by Penguin, Jan. 2012
Gwen Frazier is no stranger to ghosts. She sees them in pools of water, windows, mirrors--any reflective surface--at the scene of violent deaths. But finding justice for the dead is something she's not trained to do and a luxury she can't afford. What pays the bills is her work as a psychic counselor who sees auras and interprets dreams.
The death of her friend and mentor, Evelyn Ballinger, brings Gwen back to the small town of Wilby , Oregon, and brings back memories she would rather forget. Two years ago, a killer stalked the members of one of Ballinger's research studies--including Gwen. She survived, but two others didn't, though the deaths were attributed to natural causes. The apparent suicide of the killer closed the case, yet Gwen knows otherwise. And now, she's a suspect.
Enter Judson Coppersmith--a man of startling power and disturbing energy. Sent by a friend to help Gwen, the psychic investigator arrives in Wilby barely in control of his own talent and his own life, haunted by urgent dreams. His attraction to Gwen is primal, but there are secrets he must keep to protect himself from surrendering to her completely.
As their investigation into deaths past and present draws them ever closer to danger, Gwen finds herself going too far--into dreamscapes, into decades of deception, and into the fires of a desire too strong to resist...
The first chapter of Dream Eyes sucked me right in...It was like reading old-school Jayne Ann Krentz and I loved it. Locked in an underwater cavern whose entrance has been blocked, Judson Coppersmith is desperately trying to survive a cavern system that has claimed countless lives. He is running short on air, has a dead flashlight, and is not at all sure he will come out alive...it is a roller-coaster ride of a chapter. From there we are dropped into Gwen Frazier's point of view as she converses with the ghost of her dead mentor. The sheriff is not thrilled to get a call from Gwen saying she has found a dead body--after all, she has called him in that situation before, at least twice.
Gwen is left with Evelyn's, her murdered mentor's, estate--part of which is a very large cat named Max. Between trying to find out why Evelyn was murdered, determining if this murder tied into those from two years before, and deciding what to do with Evelyn's estate, Gwen is feeling rather frazzled and in need of help. Judson Coppersmith to the rescue. Now that Gwen's best friend and pseudo-sister Abby is marrying Judson's brother Sam, Judson is the perfect candidate to lend a hand. It also doesn't hurt that Judson's family are extremely concerned about his well-being after a consulting job that went fatally wrong and hope that helping Gwen will get him out of his funk.
I very much enjoyed the interactions between Gwen and Judson, along with glimpses into how Abby and Sam are doing. We see more of Judson and Sam's dad, Elias, and Abby and Gwen's "brother" Nick who really would have made a world-class jewel thief. Using clues that Gwen and Judson discover in one of Evelyn's mysterious inventions, along with the help of Nick and the Coppersmith family, the mysterious events slowly begin to merge into a modern day murder scheme with ties to the past.
I enjoyed Jayne Ann Krentz's latest work although the majority of the book did not quite live up to the amazing first chapter for me...it lost some of its steam at times and I felt that the ending was a little convoluted for my tastes, but I did enjoy Gwen and Judson. I really loved seeing more of Nick and would love for him to get a book all his own. There were also quite a few mentions of Gideon Barrett, the son of Elias Coppersmith's rival, and I wonder if he might end up being paired up with the last Coppersmith offspring, Emma. I have a feeling there is more to the Barretts than we have been let in on at this point.
This book rates a 4/5.