Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Genre: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: ARC via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.
Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.
A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue...
If you’re a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz’s books then you know that for the past few years she’s woven a mixture of the paranormal into her contemporary novels including her historical and futuristic novels. I was a bit unsure if I’d enjoy River Road because as much I liked her Arcane series, I was tired of reading about the paranormal. There’s been a lot of talk about Krentz’s return to romance (just plain old fashioned romance) and it’s refreshing to see her return to her roots.
Thirteen years ago, Lucy Sheridan was a teenage girl spending the summer at her aunt’s house and crushing on Mason Fletcher. Unfortunately, Mason never saw Lucy as more than a kid and when he escorts her from a party she’s attending she’s embarrassed that he thinks she can’t take care of herself. Over the years Lucy didn’t think about Mason and when she returns to Summer River she didn’t expect to run into him. Mason is surprised to see Lucy and even more so that she’s grown up. He has his own reasons for being back in Summer River and little does he know the events of that night thirteen years ago will be the talk of the town. When a body is found in Lucy’s aunt’s house all fingers point to her aunt as the culprit and suddenly, Lucy doesn’t believe her aunt’s death was an accident. With Mason’s help Lucy decides to investigate her aunt’s death and the deeper they dig, the more they find things aren’t as they seem.
As for character development, we have strong characters. Krentz is known for writing strong female characters who aren’t afraid to do things on their own and Lucy is no different. I had a hard time warming up to Lucy. I think it had to do with the way she wanted people to view her instead of who she really was. With Mason she’s able to let go and be herself and when she’s with him, I really liked her then. As for Mason, he’s a bit of a mystery. We know he’s protective of Lucy and values her opinion so much so that he does end up going into law enforcement as she had suggested. He’s also been hurt, first as a child with no one wanting him and his brother after the death of his parents and he’s trying to come to terms with the end of marriage. Krentz isn’t one of those authors that tells us everything about the hero and slowly we get details regarding why Mason is back in town and I really liked getting to know him.
I liked River Road and as I stated, it was refreshing to read! There were some ties to her use of the paranormal with Lucy’s aunt and I thought for a moment that Krentz was going to go in that direction but she surprised me. If I have one small compliant is that the mystery surrounding the death of Tristan. Krentz doesn’t come out and say exactly x did it because of y and we have to take things for face value and make an assumption as to why. In the end, the two people behind the string of incidents just left me wanting more. We aren’t shown why, but rather just given a summary of events and readers aren’t given that sense of accomplishment at figuring out the mystery and unmasking our villains. Instead we have to take things for face value and believe that what Mason and Lucy tell us is exactly what happened.
If you’re looking for a full fledged romantic suspense novel, this isn’t it. Devoted fans of Jayne Ann Krentz may be a bit disappointed with River Road, but overall, I do believe they’ll still enjoy aspects of it.