4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A good read,
This review is from: After Dark (Ghost Hunters) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've had this book a number of years and I often find myself re-reading it and enjoying it each time. It's a standalone book that works well on its own although there is a follow up, After Glow, which follows the same hero and heroine and is also great fun.
I believe this was the first of Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick's paranormal romances and when initially published it didn't do very well; however, after the market for these novels grew it became more popular and, I think, deservedly so.
Jayne Castle's strengths aren't particularly in fantasy worldbuilding (her worlds always seem to be pretty much like Earth but with one or two differences, rather than a more thought-provoking option). In this book, set on the planet of Harmony which has been stranded on its own since The Curtain, a kind of wormhole to Earth, closed, the people have spent 200 years living isolated and have discovered some strange abilities in some of them. It appears that everyone has a certain level of psychic ability - probably not psychic as we think of the word, but in fact an ability to operate some machinery, unlock doors etc with a burst of energy focused through amber. However, some people have far higher levels of this energy which goes in two directions - some become 'Ghost Hunters' and are able to manipulate the clouds of energy and use them as weapons or to dissolve them when they are found, and others become 'trap tanglers' who are able to dissolve the strange traps of psychic energy in the underground catacombs that can knock the unwary out, sometimes permanently. Ghost Hunters and Trap Tanglers have a kind of symbiotic working relationship but they also experience a lot of antagonism and professional jealousy.
Our heroine is Lydia Smith, a Trap Tangler who has lost her job since a bad experience six months ago (known as her 'Lost Weekend') when she was found in the catacombs after being caught in an illusion trap; most people think that she's lost the plot and is likely to have a breakdown. She's hired by Emmett London, a man who turns out to be a Ghost Hunter, to look for a family heirloom which has gone missing. Unfortunately in searching for the heirloom they find themselves stumbling over bodies and realise there's a lot more to the case than initially thought.
Jayne Castle writes the relationship between Emmett and Lydia very well. Their hunter/tangler disagreements are fun as we see the prejudice that they both hold against the other - and yet at the same time they are attracted to each other. However the romance is definitely a lesser part of the book than the plot and the plot is a good one - it's an interesting tale with twists and turns and some great side characters. There are flaws in this book, of course, including one or two unlikely plot areas, but it's still an enjoyable read. The sequel, "After Glow", looks more into Lydia's Lost Weekend and is equally good.