Truth or Dare by Jayne Ann Krentz

Truth or Dare Cover

Review of audiobook, narrated by Joyce Bean

Truth or Dare (Whispering Springs #2) by Jayne Ann Krentz

Reading Level:  Adult Romance
Release Date:  December 29, 2003
Publisher:  Brilliance Audio, Unabridged edition
Source:  Purchase
Reviewed By:  Kate McMurry

This novel is Book 2 of the Whispering Springs duology. It does not stand alone. You need to read Book 1, Light in Shadow, first. If you have not read that book, this review will be a spoiler for it.

The story picks up immediately after the events of Book 1, which is only a few weeks after the opening events of Book 1 and occurs in the same place, Whispering Springs, Arizona. It is a fictional small city which is a typical artsy-craftsy, New Agey, tourist destination similar in spirit to nearby Sedona.

Zoe Luce is now Zoe Truax. In Book 1, she married Ethan Truax in Las Vegas when he suggested marriage as a protection against her in-laws having legal power to force her to return to the Candle Lake Manor Psychiatric Hospital, an evil insane asylum that she escaped from a year before. During Book 1, Zoe and Ethan triumphed over the villains running the asylum, bringing about its utter destruction, and they discovered that the person who murdered Zoe’s husband, Preston Cleland, was not the in-law Zoe had suspected, the CEO of the Cleland family’s corporation, but instead, his deranged wife.

Arcadia is still using an assumed identity and hiding from her on-the-lam, criminal husband, who has vowed to murder her, but since Zoe no longer has to worry that her evil in-laws can ever imprison her again, she has been able to regain her true identity.

In the pursuit of her career as an interior decorator, Zoe experiences some weird, scary “spider web” type vibrations emanating from a room she is decorating. She also experiences the same unsettling sensations in Arcadia’s office at her store, which is a shop that sells expensive, handmade jewelry and silver, hand-cast knickknacks to tourists. Zoe is afraid to mention this situation to Ethan because she can’t figure out any reason for the feelings. There doesn’t seem to be any evildoer that she can discover who might be responsible for these disturbing psychic vibes. This causes Zoe to fear that she might, after all, be going crazy, rather than having a true, psychic gift. She loves Ethan too much to saddle him with a crazy wife, but if she has to give him up she will be devastated.

Meanwhile, strange events occurring in Whispering Springs lead Zoe, Arcadia, Ethan and two other important male subcharacters from Book 1, Harry and Singleton, to believe that Arcadia’s murderous husband has somehow managed to track down Arcadia and is sneaking into town to murder her.

Ethan Truax continues to be a strong, sympathetic romance hero, and Zoe continues to be an equally strong, sympathetic romance heroine.

Arcadia and her love interest, Harry, a bodyguard and fixer by trade who is described as a “human skeleton” because he is so thin, are fun characters individually, with a unique, quirky romance.

Ethan’s sister-in-law Bonnie, and his adorably precocious nephews, aged six and eight, continue to be a lively part of the story, and Bonnie and Singleton, a hulking, bald computer whiz who runs a rare bookstore, are another cute couple.

As in Book 1, there are multiple villains in this book because, as always, JAK has both a main suspense plot and several, complementary suspense subplots. The suspense plots are well done, but what I most enjoyed are the main romance between Ethan and Zoe and the colorfully eccentric, secondary romances.

I have read this particular book in Kindle format in the past, and this past week, I experienced it a second time in audiobook format. The narrator, Joyce Bean, has also recorded many other JAK novels. Unfortunately, Ms. Bean is only a 3-star narrator by my preferences. She does children and all ages of women’s voices well, but she is merely adequate when voicing male characters because she cannot effectively deepen her voice.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Setting: 3

Romance Plot: 4

Suspense Plot: 4

Suspense Subplots: 4

Writing: 4

Audiobook Narrator: 4

Overall: 4

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