Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz: her most electrifying thriller yet as the evil arsonist hatches a cunning and incendiary plan - book review -

Untouchable
Untouchable

With all-action drama from first page to last, a memorable arch-villain, a hint of paranormal and a sizzling love affair, this is Krentz at her entertaining best.

Jack Lancaster has been dreaming of fire for over twenty years… but now he’s on a deadly mission that will see him playing with fire.

In the third and final novel of her high-octane Cutler Sutter & Salinas series, US author Jayne Ann Krentz delivers her most electrifying thriller yet as the evil arsonist at the heart of these stories hatches a cunning and incendiary plan.

Krentz, who also writes historical and futuristic fiction under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, blends a red-hot plot with frissons of supernatural, spine-tingling suspense, wry humour and her trademark sexy romance for a truly explosive sign-off to a smouldering series.

Renowned FBI consultant Jack Lancaster is the third of Seattle detective agency boss Anson Salinas’ foster sons to take up the hunt for Quinton Zane, the ex-cult leader and pyromaniac who set a deadly fire that killed Jack’s mother among others.

But Zane is also hunting Jack and his foster brothers, blaming Anson Salinas for the end of his cult… and now Zane has come into a family fortune which means he has all the money he needs to see through his murderous mission.

Jack 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. After nearly burning to death in his childhood home at the age of twelve, he resolved to one day hunt down the man responsible… the charismatic cult leader known as Quinton Zane.

As a survivor of the fire which killed his mother, 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, and the more his still unresolved past begins to torment him, the more difficult he finds it to wake up from his recurring ‘lucid’ dreams of being in an increasingly convoluted fire maze.

His only solace is Winter Meadows, a former foster care kid herself and now a hypnotist, who is intrigued by Jack and helping him to decode his mysterious dreams. But when Winter falls into danger at the hands of an old enemy, they are brought together as more than just therapist and client.

Meanwhile, the one man whose dark legacy continues to haunt Jack is nearer than they think… and more powerful than ever.

The heat really is on the final chapter of this dark and compelling series as Jack and Winter play a perilous cat-and-mouse game with the cold, calculating and obsessive Zane who always assumes his super-smart brain will keep him one step ahead of his prey.

The unfolding passion between the supernaturally savvy young couple is the perfect foil for the fast-paced, suspense-packed action sequences as Zane weaves an elaborate web to eliminate all those who threaten his evil schemes.

With all-action drama from first page to last, a memorable arch-villain, a hint of paranormal and a sizzling love affair, this is Krentz at her entertaining best.

(Piatkus, paperback, £8.99)