The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



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When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

When All The Girls Have Gone - Jayne Ann Krentz

Charlotte Sawyer’s stepsister Jocelyn has gone off the grid for a month, holing up on a Caribbean island, so Charlotte does what all stepsisters do—she waters Jocelyn’s plants and collects the mail and opens just the stuff that looks important. One day she opens an important-looking envelope that turns out to be from Jocelyn’s best friend, and contains a cryptic message and a set of keys to the friend’s storage box.

Charlotte goes to investigate and finds out Jocelyn’s friend is dead. The police has ruled it an overdose, but the friend’s cousin doesn’t buy the easy theory and has hired a private investigator—Max Cutler, a former profiler, whose gut tells him the death was no accident. His gut also tells him Jocelyn isn’t where she’s supposed to be, so Charlotte, despite her better judgment, joins the investigation. First order of business: check the storage locker.

Little do Max and Charlotte know that what they’ll find, albeit seemingly insignificant documents and maps, will prove to be much larger and will put them in the path of a dangerous killer willing to do anything to keep his secret.

This book continues the latest Jayne Ann Krentz (and her alter-egos) slump. Although, if I may be frank, this is the worst of the bunch. Formulaic, template-y, with rather bland characters, a very slow start and stilted, uneven pacing. What bothered me the most was the narration style. It didn’t seem like a Krentz (et al.) book at the beginning. It felt like it was written by someone else, someone not that good at writing. And the plot and characters suffered for it, with the heroine coming across as a too-trusting imbecile, the hero a card-board copy of the heroes from previous books (in all three time settings), and the plot so boring that the first remotely interesting and intense scene happened around 40% in.
Only later, the narration became “Krentz-ish”, and the pacing quickened, the plot thickened, the suspense kicked in, and the heroine got a quick personality change (for the better). Unfortunately, the hero remained rather bland and template-y, and the chemistry between him and the heroine practically non-existent (they didn’t even hit the lukewarm temperature), making their “relationship” appear forced.

The plot, once it thickened and got a little more “meaty”, was interesting and gripping, but, as in the previous book it became a little overblown and overcomplicated toward the end with multiple villains, their reasons for perpetrating their villainy, secrets from the past, secrets from the present, and that one added subplot revolving around the hero that had nothing to do with the main story, and, instead of adding layers and weight to the hero’s character, only bogged the story down, contributed nothing to the overall plot, and made little sense in the bigger picture.

It definitely had potential, but was too long, too bland, and too overblown to really shine.