Reading Recommendation: The Guinevere Jones Collection by Jayne Castle

My obsessive love for all thing Jayne Castle has no bounds…yeck, I’ll even brave the wild 1980s for her! And that’s exactly what I did when I re-read, not once but twice, the entire Guinevere Jones series which include four novels: The Desperate Game, The Chilling Deception, The Sinister Touch, and The Fatal Fortune. The series follows the adventures of Guinevere Jones – not related to the Jones family from her Arcane collection, but then again it hasn’t been explicitly denied either – and her partner, Zachariah “Zac” Justis.

Sometimes I find it hard to get into old contemporary novels, especially if they were published in the “olden days” like, shall we say, the 1970s to 1990s. I usually find that the covers or the reference to – ahem – the mullet pull me out of the reading experience.

But the Guinevere Jones series is a bit different from some of its contemporaries. The landscape the the story is familiar – Seattle, to be exact – and, with the exception of a notable lack of cell phones, it wasn’t  too hard  to see it as a modern day equivalent of the city. That is to say, we weren’t hammered over the head with 1980s slang (although the word “yuppies” was used) or television references. In the novel, The Sinister Touch, there was the mention of the baby craze and the emergence of sperm banks, but I think it added to the experience of reading the novel rather than taking away from it.

And we also don’t have to worry about outdated covers for the Guinevere Jones series because it’s been refreshed and reissued in both e-book and trade paperback format…

However, for fun – and maybe, slightly, for sadistic pleasure – I thought I’d place the old and new covers side-by-side. 😉

the desperate game

It’s hard to keep a small business afloat, just ask Guinevere Jones, owner of a struggling temp agency. And security consultant Zac Justis isn’t making her life any easier. After he blackmails Gwen into helping him solve a computer crime, she finds herself caught in a web of suspense, danger—and love.

the chilling deception

A temp job as an executive secretary gives Guinevere Jones access to high places—and sets her instincts for danger tingling. Convincing Zac Justis to provide security for her client during a meeting on the wintry San Juan Islands gives her peace of mind, but brings them face to face with a dead man determined to avenge the past.

the sinister touch

Guinevere Jones has her head turned by the handsome young artist across the way. And when his apartment is broken into and a painting defaced, she offers her help. Now, she and Zac—and his jealous nature—must confront a dark evil that will stop at nothing to achieve its unholy goal.

the fatal fortune

When Guinevere Jones discovers that a so-called fortune-teller is making big profits by deceiving her clients, she vows to expose the scam. Now Zac—who will do anything to keep Gwen safe—helps her uncover the deadly deceptions of a blackmailer and killer out to destroy every trace of the past…

Despite the fact that these are all quick, short reads – a little under 200 pages each – the blurbs for these books don’t do the stories justice. They also contain the basic elements of a Jayne Castle trademark novel – a quirky heroine and a committed hero. Yes, her writing has improved a lot since the days of the Guinevere Jones series, but these are still some of my favourite reads – I just wish the series was longer.

What oldies are you reading and loving?

Rika Ashton

(aka Looking for Love in the 80s)

P.S: If you have a slow Internet connection, you’re going to hate me…but I couldn’t resist all the pretty pictures. 😛

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