First Edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Berkley, 2019.
308 pages ; 24 cm
"A man's quest to find answers for those who are haunted by the past leads him deeper into the shadows in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell. Quinton Zane is back. Jack Lancaster, consultant to the FBI, has always been drawn to the coldest of cold cases, the kind that law enforcement either considers unsolvable or else has chalked up to accidents or suicides. As a survivor of a fire, he finds himself uniquely compelled by arson cases. His almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head has garnered him a reputation in some circles--and complicated his personal life. The more cases Jack solves, the closer he slips into the darkness. His only solace is Winter Meadows, a meditation therapist. After particularly grisly cases, Winter can lead Jack back to peace. But as long as Quinton Zane is alive, Jack will not be at peace for long. Having solidified his position as the power behind the throne of his biological family's hedge fund, Zane sets out to get rid of Anson Salinas's foster sons, starting with Jack"-- Provided by publisher.
9780399585296 (hardback)
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Author Notes
Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master's degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. <p> She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. Her novels include Truth or Dare, All Night Long, Copper Beach, River Road, Promise not to Tell, and Untouchable.. <p> She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance. In 2015 she made The New York Times Best Seller List with both Trust Me, Trust No One and Secret Sisters.. <p> (Bowker Author Biography) Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of twenty-seven New York Times Bestselling novels. She is also the author of several other bestselling novels written under the name Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick. <p> (Publisher Provided)
First Chapter or Excerpt
Chapter One   Fifteen years earlier . . .   She was fourteen years old and sleeping in yet another bed. The little house on Marigold Lane looked cozy and welcoming from the street-lots of curb appeal, as the real estate agents liked to say-but she had decided that she would not be there for long.   Every few weeks when she got tired of life on the streets she checked into the foster care system long enough to take some hot showers and score some new tennis shoes or a new pair of jeans or a new backpack. She had figured out early on that a backpack was essential to survival on the streets. The one she had picked up last month had a large rip in it, thanks to the junkie with the knife who had tried to steal it. The junkie was no longer a problem but the wounded pack had to be replaced.   She rarely stayed in a foster home for more than a few days. Sooner or later, there were issues. This time the problem would be the husband. His name was Tyler. She had privately labeled him Tyler the Creep.   She had seen the way he looked at her two days ago when she arrived with her ripped backpack containing all her worldly possessions: a few clothes, a hairbrush and a toothbrush, and the battered copies of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner.   Initially she had not been concerned; merely inconvenienced. She could handle Tyler the Creep but it meant that she could not go to sleep at night. Creeps like Tyler had a lot in common with roaches-they came out after dark.   The situation, however, had gotten a lot more complicated that afternoon when the social worker had arrived on the doorstep with another foster kid. The girl's name was Alice. All she had with her was a small rolling suitcase. She was eleven years old and she had been orphaned when her father's private plane had crashed on takeoff. Alice's mother had been a passenger. Both parents had been killed. Alice had been in school at the time.   Dazed and traumatized, she had said very little except her name and that her aunts would come for her.   Later, when she and Winter were alone in the bedroom, she had repeated the same thing over and over.   "My mom and dad told me that if anything ever happened to them, I should call my aunts. They will come and get me."   During her short stays in various foster homes over the course of the past year, Winter had heard similar claims. Mostly the tales turned out to be sparkly little lies told by well-meaning parents who had wanted to reassure their children that some adult family member would always be there for them; that they were not alone in the world. That they had family to protect them.   But after several months of floating in and out of the system, she knew the truth. There were no aunts, or, if they did exist, they weren't going to magically appear to rescue Alice. Sure, there might be a few distant relatives somewhere but there would be a thousand excuses why they couldn't take a kid into their household. We're too old. We barely knew that side of the family. Our lifestyle won't allow us to take the child. We travel too much. We can't afford to take her. We have other children who would be upset. The child has severe emotional problems that we're just not equipped to handle . . .   Winter sat on the top bunk, legs dangling over the edge. The new backpack was on the bed beside her. She wore the jeans and the hoodie that she'd had on during the day. She always slept in her clothes. It made for more efficient departures.   She had a penlight in one hand. In her other hand she gripped her copy of Winnie-the-Pooh. Earlier she had read some of the stories to Alice. Alice had said that she was too old for Winnie-the-Pooh, but the gentle stories had soothed her. She had eventually fallen into an exhausted sleep.   A few hours ago the new foster mom had been called away to deal with a family crisis involving one of her own aging parents. Tyler the Creep was now in the front room, drinking and watching television.   Winter had taken the precaution of locking the bedroom door but she had known that wouldn't do any good. The creep had the key.   It was another half hour before she heard the doorknob rattle. When Tyler the Creep discovered that the door was locked, he left. For a moment she entertained the faint hope that he would not return. But of course he did.   She heard the key in the lock. The door opened. The creep was silhouetted against the light of the hallway fixture, a balding, big-bellied man dressed in an undershirt and trousers.   He did not see her sitting there in the shadows of the upper bunk. He moved into the room, heading toward the lower bunk.   He reached down and started to pull the covers off Alice's thin, huddled body.   "Go away, Mr. Tyler," Winter said. She switched on the penlight and began to move it in an intricate pattern. "You're not supposed to be here. You don't want to be here."   She kept her voice calm; soothing but firm.   Startled, Tyler halted and instinctively averted his gaze from the narrow beam of light.   "What the hell?" In the next breath he softened his voice to a drunken croon. "What's the matter, honey? Couldn't sleep? I know it's hard adjusting to a new house and a new family. But you're in a good home now. There's nothing to worry about. I'll take care of you and Alice."   "Go away, Mr. Tyler," Winter said again. She kept the penlight moving, faster now.   Tyler was distracted by the light. He stared at it; looked away and then gazed at it again.   "I'm going to take poor little Alice to my bedroom," he said. "She's afraid to be alone."   "Alice is not alone," Winter said. "I'm here with her. Go away. You don't want to be in this room. It's hard to breathe when you come in here. You can't catch your breath. Your heart is pounding harder and harder. You wonder if you're having a heart attack."   Tyler did not respond. He was transfixed by the motion of the light. He started to wheeze.   "When I say Winnie-the-Pooh, you will realize that you can't breathe at all when you're in this room," Winter said. "You will leave. That is the only way to ease the terrible pain in your chest. If you stay in this room you will have a heart attack. Do you understand?"   "Yes." Tyler's voice was now that of a man in a trance, expressionless.   The rasping and wheezing got louder.   "Winnie-the-Pooh," Winter said in a tone of soft command.   Tyler came out of the trance gasping for air.   "Can't breathe," he said, his voice hoarse with panic. He swung around and lurched out into the hallway. "My heart. Can't breathe."   He staggered down the hallway and stumbled toward the kitchen. Winter jumped down to the floor.   "Winter?" Alice whispered from the shadows of the lower bunk.   "It's okay," Winter said. "But you have to get up and get dressed. We're going to leave now."   A heavy thud sounded from the kitchen. It was followed by an unnatural silence.   "What happened?" Alice asked.   "Stay here," Winter said. "I'll go take a look."   She went to the door. With the penlight in hand she moved cautiously down the hall. Alice climbed out of bed but she did not wait in the bedroom. She followed Winter.   Tyler was sprawled on the kitchen floor. He did not move. His phone was on the floor close to his hand. Panic arced through Winter. She wondered if she had killed the creep.   Alice came up beside her and took her hand, clinging very tightly. She looked at Tyler's motionless body.   "Is he dead?" she asked.   "I don't know," Winter said. "I'll check."   She released Alice's hand and crossed the kitchen floor. She stopped a short distance away from Tyler and tried to think about what to do next. In the movies and on television people checked the throat of an unconscious person to find out if there was a pulse.   Gingerly she reached down and put two fingers on Tyler's neck. She thought she detected a faint beat but she couldn't be certain. He might not be dead yet but it was possible that he was dying. It was also possible that he was simply unconscious and would recover at any moment. Winter knew that neither outcome would be good for Alice or herself.   "Get dressed," Winter said. "Put everything you brought with you back into your suitcase. I don't know how much time we have."   Alice regarded her with big, frightened eyes. "Okay."   She turned and ran back down the hall. Winter followed. It did not take long to gather up Alice's few possessions. The little suitcase had not been completely unpacked.   On the way out Winter paused at the kitchen door. Tyler the Creep was still on the floor; still not moving.   "Hold on a second," she said to Alice. "I'm going to call a cab."   She used the phoneon the kitchen counter. Tyler stirred just as she finished the call. He opened his eyes. He stared at her first in disbelief and then in gathering rage and panic.   "You did this to me," he wheezed. "You're killing me."   "Winnie-the-Pooh," Winter said.   Tyler gasped, clutched at his chest and collapsed again, unconscious.   Winter reached down into his pocket, took out his wallet and helped herself to the seventy-five dollars she found inside. She considered the credit cards for a moment and opted to leave them behind. Credit cards left a trail.   She dropped the wallet on the floor beside the phone and looked at Alice.   "Let's go," she said.   Alice nodded quickly.   A few minutes later they climbed into the back of the cab. The driver was obviously uneasy about picking up two kids in the middle of the night but he did not ask any questions beyond confirming their destination.   "You want to go to the bus station?" he said.   "Yes, please," Winter said.   She tried to think through a plan. She was accustomed to running away but in the past she had always been alone when she set out into the darkness late at night with her pack on her back. Tonight she had to deal with Alice.   Mentally, she started a getaway list. Even using cash, she would probably need an ID to buy bus tickets. It wouldn't be hard to find a street person and pay him or her to purchase the two tickets to Los Angeles.   The seventy-five bucks would not last long. They would have to use some of it to buy Alice a backpack. A suitcase, even one with wheels, was a problem on the streets, an environment where you needed to keep both hands free.   When the cash ran out she could always raise more doing the psychic-dream-reader routine. It was amazing how many people would pay twenty or thirty bucks to have someone tell them the meaning of their dreams.   She sat back in the seat, mind churning with plans. Alice huddled close beside her and lowered her voice to the barest of whispers.   "Don't worry," she said. "My aunts will find us. They'll take care of us."   "Sure," Winter said.   No need to make the kid confront the truth tonight. Alice would find out soon enough that no one was coming to save them. They were on their own.   "If anyone asks, we're sisters," Winter said. "Got that?"   "Okay," Alice said again. She gripped Winter's hand. "Are you a witch?"   Winter watched the lights of the house on Marigold Lane disappear into the night and wondered if Tyler the Creep was dead.   "I don't know," she said.   Chapter Two   Four months ago . . .   The dreamer followed the burning footprints through endless halls of fire. He knew his quarry was there, hiding in the shadows of the flames. From time to time he came across ghostly traces of Quinton Zane, faint clues that assured him he was not hallucinating.   The dreamer was ever vigilant. He followed every seething print, every trace of Zane, no matter how faint.   Tonight was not his first trip into the maze. He came this way often and not always in pursuit of Zane. He frequently hunted other killers in the same maze. On those occasions he was almost always successful. He was, after all, very good at what he did. But the calm he experienced in the aftermath of a successful search for a killer other than Zane never lasted long.   There would be no rest until he found Quinton Zane.   The dreamer was not oblivious to the risks he took in the fire maze. He was well aware that he paid a high price for his refusal to turn back from the hunt. But he could not abandon the search even though he feared that with each journey into the nightmare the probability of getting lost in the halls of flames increased.   The sense that time was running out drove him. He could not stop now, even though he was grimly aware that one night he would go too far . . .   The dream ended when the screaming started.   That was pretty much the story of his life, at least when it came to his relationships with women, Jack thought. But this time things were supposed to have a different ending. Then again, he'd hoped for a different ending last time, too. They said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   "Dr. Lancaster. Jack, wake up. Wake up. I'll have to call security if you don't wake up right now. Please, you must wake up."   Jack pulled himself out of the dream with a monumental effort of will. The urge to plunge back into the fiery maze had grown markedly stronger in recent months. It was getting harder to wake up.   But Dr. Margaret Burke was staring at him with the same expression of shock and poorly veiled fear that he'd seen on the faces of other women. The difference this time was that Margaret was not sharing his bed. She was the director of the sleep clinic that had provided him with the bed he had been occupying tonight.   He groaned when he realized he was no longer in the bed in question; no longer attached to the beeping, buzzing monitors. He was standing on the far side of the small room.   To buy himself a little time he went to the table and picked up his eyeglass case. He opened the case with great precision, removed the steel-framed glasses and put them on with both hands. Excerpted from Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Fiction/Biography Profile
Jack Lancaster (Male), Consultant, Consultant to the FBI; works on cold cases; survived a fire; feels compelled by arson cases; has an almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head
Quinton Zane (Male), Determined to get rid of Jack and the other foster sons of Anson Salinas
Winter Meadows (Female), Therapist, Meditation therapist; helps Jack regain his sense of peace after working grisly cases
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Cold cases
Search for truth
Seattle, Washington - Pacific Northwest (U.S.) / West (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Krentz's formulaic and lackluster third Cutler, Sutter, and Salinas romantic thriller (after Promise Not to Tell) follows hypnotist Winter Meadows as she gets sucked into cold-case investigator Jack Lancaster's quest to find Quinton Zane, the pyromaniac con artist who murdered Jack's mother. Jack has the unique ability to use extended lucid dreams to sort through clues on his investigations. When he turns to Winter for help controlling this ability, the pair of former foster kids develop an unexpected bond, a connection that escalates when Jack saves Winter from a former client who has stalked her to remote Eclipse Bay, Ore. Jack's conviction that the stalker was manipulated by Zane proves correct, as Zane, deep in his latest and most personal con, attempts to eliminate all possible threats against him. Jack and Winter's ensuing investigation is a game of cat and mouse between a criminal who always assumes he is the smartest in the room, and a budding couple with new-age tricks up their sleeves. Though there is little to set this romantic thriller apart, Krentz's fans will enjoy the familiar elements and callbacks to previous installments. Agent: Steven Axelrod, the Axelrod Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Winter Meadows has a firm policy about dating clients. Fortunately, Jack Lancaster no longer seems to need her professional services. Winter has done everything she can as a meditation instructor to help Jack gain control of the fire-maze dream that has haunted him for years and to develop the lucid dreaming skills he uses to solve cold cases involving arson. All of which means Winter is now free to go out with Jack, who seems to be more than open to the idea. Just as things are heating up personally between Winter and Jack, however, a cold case with strong personal connections to Jack suddenly becomes deadly hot for the both of them. Krentz (Promise Not to Tell, 2018) expertly infuses the tautly constructed plot of her latest addictively readable novel with just the right ratio of riveting suspense and sleekly sexy romance. Wrap all this up in writing that is spiked with a generous dash of wry humor, and you have another delectable literary concoction from the leading mixologist of romantic suspense.--John Charles Copyright 2018 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

When Jack Lancaster's mortal enemy goes after his neighbor Winter Meadows, hoping to frame him for her murder, the cold-case specialist takes the opportunity to follow the scant clues and, with his family's and Winter's help, force a confrontation.Jack Lancaster's mother was killed in the cult fire set by Quinton Zane when Jack was 12, and since then he's become a professor, writer, and consultant on the criminal mind, with an expertise in solving cold cases. When he rents a cottage in Eclipse Bay on the Oregon coast, he meets his neighbor Winter, a hypnotist who's started her own business as a meditation instructor. Jack finds her skills beneficial in helping him control the lucid dreams that he uses in his investigations, dreams that have recently become more unruly, a situation that he thinks may be connected to Quinton Zane. When he saves Winter from an attack by a "former-client-turned-stalker," he is convinced that Zane is somehow behind the event and takes the matter to his family: two other victims of the cult fire and the man who saved and then fostered them. At first skeptical, they begin to believe they might actually bring Zane down if they stay under the radar and let him weave a web meant to catch them. Meanwhile, keeping Winter safe and by his side manifests a relationship Jack had hoped for, but if Zane has his way, no one Jack cares about will survive. Luckily Jack and his brothers are a few steps ahead and ready to bring Zane down for good. Krentz rounds out her Quinton Zane series with a couple to root for, a tiny hint of the supernatural, a page-burning plot, a vanquished villain (of course!), a sexy, heart-warming romance, and a quick series check-in and wrap-up.Krentz never disappoints, and this one hits the sweet spot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
A man's quest to find answers for those who are haunted by the past leads him deeper into the shadows in this electrifying New York Times bestseller from the author of Promise Not to Tell. <br> <br> Quinton Zane is back.<br> <br> Jack Lancaster, consultant to the FBI, has always been drawn to the coldest of cold cases, the kind that law enforcement either considers unsolvable or else has chalked up to accidents or suicides. As a survivor of a fire, he finds himself uniquely compelled by arson cases. His almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head has garnered him a reputation in some circles--and complicated his personal life. The more cases Jack solves, the closer he slips into the darkness. His only solace is Winter Meadows, a meditation therapist. After particularly grisly cases, Winter can lead Jack back to peace.<br> <br> But as long as Quinton Zane is alive, Jack will not be at peace for long. Having solidified his position as the power behind the throne of his biological family's hedge fund, Zane sets out to get rid of Anson Salinas's foster sons, starting with Jack.
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