After Glow
by Jayne Castle, futuristic (2004)
Jove, $7.99, ISBN 0-515-13694-8


This book is an actual sequel to After Dark. If you still care about the sequel to a very average book that is published four years ago, your wait is over and you can now find out what happens next to curator Lydia Smith and her boyfriend Emmett London.

It has been awhile since I read this author's book and I am hoping that After Glow would provide some pleasant moments of nostalgia. Jayne Ann Krentz or Jayne Castle will not be changing her formula anytime soon, at least not until cows start forming choruses to dance on Broadway, I'm sure. Unfortunately, After Glow is a very stale rehash of the formula. Reading this book is like sticking my head into the freezer that I have not cleaned for months to take a deep, deep breath.

It is hard to describe the plot here because in a way, many of the events that happen here are spillovers from the events that took place in After Dark; I am not sure whether I will inadvertently spoil After Dark if I describe the plot summary in detail. Let's just say that the story begins with Lydia heading off to meet a person that has some important information about some of the events that happened to her in After Dark. In typical Jayne Ann Krentz style, the guy conveniently dies just in time for Lydia to find the body. The cops are called in, and Emmett is not happy that there is no trust in their blossoming relationship. Read Emmett's idea of trust as "the woman must tell me everything if she loves me while I keep her in the dark all about my secrets, and oh yes, she must tell me she love me even though I'm too cool to do anything but to shag her into submission". Emmett's secret is revealed in this story that may affect their relationship, and it is a secret shared by at least six other heroes I've come across in this author's previous books.

I could have torn this book to shreds in my irritation at the jargon-overkill in this book. Since we are talking about a colony of archeologists, sorry, para-archeologists (whatever the tadpole that is), these people name places very creatively, so that this book is filled with places with names like Dead Street, Ruin Row, Hidden Lane, Old Frequency College... aargh, make it stop, make it stop! Other than that, there is very little that is new in this book. The mystery takes place like a clockwork Jayne Ann Krentz device, with very little deviation from the formula to the point that anyone who has read at least five books by this author can see through the author's shtick. Sometimes the author can still produce a slightly different but readable variation of her formula, but After Glow is not the result of her more inspired moments. Emmett comes off like a tedious alpha male type straight out of her romance novels published in the 1980s, which I guess in a story all about relics is quite appropriate, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

After Glow is so familiar and robotic that this is one book best read only by die-hard fans or readers who want to see some closure to the Emmett and Lydia love story. As for everybody else, well, Jayne Ann Krentz is one of those authors that have totally written off themselves into utter irrelevance in today's landscape of the romance genre. You probably know better than me why you should bother with this book, not when the author has thousands of books out there, where many of those would easily be more enjoyable than this book.

Rating: 47


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