Close Up

  • Author Amanda Quick
  • Release Date May 5, 2020
  • Publisher Berkley
  • ISBN/ASIN 9781984806840
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by SJ

Buy the Book

Our Review

Amanda Quick returns to the world of Burning Cove, California in the 1930s of Hollywood starlets and secrets.

In CLOSE UP, heroine Vivian Brazier is an art photographer having to secretly make a living by taking crime scene photos. Though coming from a well-to-do family, she’s determined to make it on her own and has no inclination to marry the man her family approves.

One night, while taking a photo of a woman killed by what the press has coined the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian realizes she’s seen this same pattern before in other crime scene photographs. She informs the lead detective to look for a photographer as the possible killer, which puts her in harm’s way. (Note, she also has a paranormal ability to see in her subjects hidden feelings.)

Nick Sundridge is an investigator sent by his uncle to protect Vivian. But unlike normal investigators, Nick has a paranormal ability to see things in visions, leading him to clues others would normally miss. In the course of his investigation into another crime, he finds Vivian, and sparks fly. Or they should fly, but in this novel, the romance takes a definite backseat to the mystery.

Amanda Quick writes a wonderful mystery set in the 1930s in this romantic suspense, but the lead characters don’t have the chemistry present in her previous works. Nick and Vivian meet and fall for each other in a matter of days, but their chemistry feels not quite there. Unlike the fast-paced, wonderfully laid-out thrill of finding the killer.

The descriptions of the setting and the photography Vivian employs are fascinating. A few secondary characters reappear from previous books but do not distract at all from the story. What I found lacking was a sense of intimacy between the leads. Nick is attracted to Vivian. She’s somewhat attracted to him. And then bam, they sleep together and have feelings. It doesn’t seem to work, perhaps because Vivian is such a delightfully strong character that it feels wrong to see her with Nick so quickly.

Then again, Amanda Quick is such a stellar writer that perhaps this book suffered being compared to her earlier work, like the first in this series, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and THE OTHER LADY VANISHES.

Still a worthwhile read and a pleasure to revisit the 1930s and old glam California.

Back to Top