Thursday, April 29, 2021

ARC Review: The Lady Has a Past by Amanda Quick

The Lady Has a Past

Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove (Book 5)
Publication: Berkley (May 4, 2021)

Description: Beauty and glamour meet deception and revenge in this electrifying novel by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Quick

Investigative apprentice Lyra Brazier, the newest resident of Burning Cove, is unsettled when her boss suddenly disappears. Lyra knows something has happened to Raina Kirk, and tracks down her last known appearance at an exclusive hotel and health spa. The health spa is known for its luxurious offerings and prestigious clientele, and the wealthy, socialite background Lyra desperately wanted to leave behind is perfect for this undercover job. What Lyra lacks in investigative experience she makes up for in gut instinct, and her gut isn’t happy that she’s saddled with a partner by Luther Pell, Raina’s dangerous lover, who wants to bring in someone with more experience to help.

Instead of the suave, pistol-packing private eye she expected, though, Simon Cage is a mild-mannered antiquarian book dealer with a quiet, academic air, and a cool, remote gaze. Lyra suspects that Simon is much more than what he seems, and her instincts are confirmed when they arrive at the spa and pose as a couple: Simon has a unique gift that allows him to detect secrets, a skill that is crucial in finding Raina.

The unlikely duo falls down a rabbit hole of twisted rumors and missing socialites, discovering that the health spa is a façade for something far darker than they imagined. With a murderer in their midst, Raina isn't the only one in grave danger—Lyra is next.

My Thoughts: In this return to Burning Cove, Lyra Brazier is an apprentice private investigator on her first case. She was sent by Raina Kirk to interview a woman who was afraid of her husband. She walks into the back yard to see him trying to drown her. She stops him with a well-placed three iron but Mrs. Adlington wanted to be sure and clubbed him again while Lyra was going out front to get the police.

Lyra's first day wasn't what she was expecting and the rest of the week wasn't much better. On her second day of work, she learns that Raina has developed an urgent need to leave town to take care of some personal business and Lyra was suddenly in charge of Kirk Investigations.

Meanwhile, Simon Cage runs into trouble while authenticating a rare book using his paranormal talent. When he gets out of there, he decides he needs a vacation complete with a lounge chair, an ice cold martini, and maybe a fast woman looking for a no-strings affair. Since he sometimes works for Luther Pell, he decides Burning Cove is the right spot for his vacation.

Lyra and Simon soon get involved in he investigation to locate Raina and the clues lead them to Labyrinth Springs and Guppy's House of Beauty. Their cover is to be newlyweds on their honeymoon. With Lyra's talent for getting anyone to talk to her and Simon's ability to get impressions from objects, their investigation and problems quickly escalate.

Raina has been kidnapped but not as a usual part of the blackmail scheme centered on the resort. Now someone is cleaning up and leaving a trail of bodies behind. One of them is almost Lyra. 

I really liked Lyra who is smart and savvy and just a little lost as she is changing her life goals. She knows she won't be picked by her father to run his shipping business and needs another career. Simon is also great. I liked his secrets and his growing need for Lyra. 

The story had a great 1930s setting, lots of great dialog, and a fast-paced and exciting plot.

Favorite Quote:
"Sooner or later you'll talk," Lyra growled in an exaggerated movie villain voice. "Everybody does."

"To you?"

"Yep. The hard part is making them stop."

He had the horrifying feeling she was right.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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