I really enjoyed reading this book, but weeks afterward, the details are merging with other similar books I’ve read.
Jill Breck was just doing her job as a river guide when she saved the life of Lane Faroe, son of two of St. Kilda Consulting’s premier operators. But when a string of ominous events—including a mysterious fire that kills her great-aunt and a furor in the Western art world raised by a dozen Breck family paintings—culminates in a threat to her life, Jill reluctantly calls in a favor.
Zach Balfour works part-time as a consultant for St. Kilda. His expertise is gathering and analyzing information from unlikely and often dangerous sources. Though he’s got the skills to be a highly effective bodyguard, being a bullet catcher isn’t his preferred way to spend time.
Protecting Jill will take him into familiar territory—among a strange, savagely competitive bunch of collectors who’ll do anything to stay at the top. But Jill is in deeper waters than she’s ever known; as she soon discovers, the perils of running wild rivers are tame compared with the hidden dangers in the high-stakes game of art collecting.
From the cozy rooms of the Breck homestead cabin to the cold multimillion-dollar galleries of the Western art circuit, Zach and Jill must race against time to unmask a ruthless killer hidden in a blue smoke of money, threats, lies, and death….
The setup is somewhat implausible, but I can deal with that. I think that events flow fairly reasonably once you accept it. Elizabeth Lowell is good at the thriller side of the story.
She’s also good at the characters, which is (to me) the most important aspect of a romance novel. I enjoyed the different aspects of Jill’s personality– her career and the aspects of her personality that make her successful as a river guide; her family loyalty that calls her back to deal with her great-aunt’s estate; and (of course) the part that makes her a good character in a romance novel.
Zach is similarly interesting, although with somewhat less depth. Watching their relationship develop was fun.
I read Blue Smoke and Murder during the read-a-thon, which means that I read it a few weeks back, and with several other books. The main thing I remember is that I enjoyed reading it!