Quicksilver by Amanda Quick
Virginia Dean wakes at midnight beside a dead body, with a bloody knife in her hand and no memory of the evening’s events. Dark energy, emanating from the mirrors lining the room, overpowers her senses. With no apparent way in or out, she’s rescued by a man she’s met only once before, but won’t soon forget. . . .
Owen Sweetwater inherited his family’s talent for hunting the psychical monsters who prey on London’s women and children, and his investigation into the deaths of two glass-readers has led him here. The high-society types of the exclusive Arcane Society would consider Virginia an illusionist, a charlatan, even a criminal. But Owen knows better. Virginia’s powers are real — and so is the power she exerts over him simply with her presence. And if her abilities can be relied upon in the midst of great danger, they just might be the key to his investigation.
I want to be excited about Quick's novels. I really, really do. For the longest time, she was my "go to" romance author. I rarely read romance. She's one of probably three that I'll read. And I'm including Gail Carriger in there as romance, just so I can say three and not two.
But seriously ... this Arcane series just isn't that interesting. I can buy the psychical powers thing in her Harmony series written as Jayne Castle. It's set in the future in an alternate world. It works. But these stories are set in historical England. No go. If she were writing steampunk, I might allow it. Maybe. She gets points for the awesome clockwork toys of death. However, this isn't steampunk. It's not an alternate world. It's back-in-history England set in this universe.
The story is interesting enough. She has intriguing characters who are likeable and make you laugh and smile. You feel for Victoria Dean. You like Owen Sweetwater. But the underlying thread of psychic powers seriously detracts from what could be an interesting murder mystery.
I wish Quick would go back to her earlier style of writing that relied on good old-fashioned story telling without the need for mysticism or psychic powers. Heck, even Vanza was OK. I was cool with that. But this carrying out a story line through three books, each set in a different time and written under a different pen name is annoying. That schtick work in the DC or Marvel universe when you string a story line across four different series in an effort to cram as many characters in as possible and bleed as much cash from comic geeks as you can. I know. I buy them.
But Quick ain't comics. She's romance. One story. No gimmicks or hocus pocus powers, please.