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Originally published Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 5:00 AM

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‘Dream Eyes’: paranormal powers in the service of justice

Seattle author Jayne Ann Krentz’ latest suspense-romance novel, “Dream Eyes,” features loyalty as a theme, as a psychic young woman investigates the death of a friend. Krentz appears Tuesday at Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

Special to The Seattle Times

Author appearance

Jayne Ann Krentz

The author of “Dream Eyes” will appear at noon Tuesday at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Free (206-587-5737 or www.seattlemystery.com)

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“Dream Eyes”

by Jayne Ann Krentz

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 352 pp., $26.95

One of the continuing phenomena of the publishing world is the prolific Seattle author Jayne Ann Krentz, whose best-sellers appear under three different names and three different subgenres. There’s the Amanda Quick byline for historical romance; the Jayne Castle pseudonym for futuristic novels; and Krentz’s own name for contemporary suspense. Within each of these categories are series that focus on related characters and settings — such as the “Dark Legacy” series in which Krentz’s latest contemporary novel, “Dream Eyes,” appears.

This one, set in a small Oregon town, is a delight to read. The dialogue is full of drollery, even when unseen menace is stalking Gwen Frazier, a young woman whose paranormal powers have caused her many problems. When Gwen’s friend dies, leaving her a cryptic clue, Gwen hunts for the murderer – alongside psychic investigator Judson Coppersmith, who is introduced in the novel’s harrowing underwater-cavern chapter as he swims for his life. Things are seldom dull for Gwen and Judson, who spend the novel in a state of almost perpetual peril as a series of unsolved murders escalates the body count.

A central theme of the novel is loyalty: both protagonists are motivated by friends in need of justice and support, and misguided loyalty fuels the behavior of some of the more villainous characters. Krentz has a knack for establishing interlinked back stories, as well: Gwen’s friend Abby, who is about to marry Judson Coppersmith’s brother Sam, shares Gwen’s unhappy past in a boarding school/institution. (Sam and Abby were featured in the first book in the “Dark Legacy” series, “Copper Beach.”)

Full of witty quips, harrowing chases and sizzling sex scenes, “Dream Eyes” takes off like a rocket and doesn’t slow down until the inevitable happy-ending finale.

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