Close Up (Burning Cove Book 4)

Amanda Quick

Berkley Pub.

May 4th, 2020

Mystery, Suspense Romance


Close Up by Amanda Quick blends together the historical, suspense, and a tinge of the romance genres. Through a gripping mystery, readers also get a glimpse of the 1930s Hollywood-type glamour of California. 

The books opens with Vivian Brazier rushing to a crime scene to take photographs of a murder. Cut off from her family’s funds for pursuing her dream, a career in art, to make ends meet she takes crime scene photos and headshots for aspiring male actors. Keeping her photo-journalistic career secret, she must balance this world with the world of an art photographer. 

“I thought it would be an interesting job for my heroine.  There were famous ones in the 1930s including Dorothea Lange who was best known for her Depression-era work. I also thought of iconic scenes in films where photographers arrive at the crime with their chunky cameras and flashy lightbulbs.  It was how black and white photography established an image of Noir. This resonates with people. I thought it would be interesting to write about the conflict between Modernism and Pictorialism.  My brother has always enjoyed it and even set up his own dark room.  He helped me a lot with the technical details including the history.  He considers this his passionate hobby.”

After photographing the murder of a movie star, she realizes details that can help the police find the “Dagger Killer.” Able to look at details of a photo that many others could not, Vivian finds clues to help the homicide detectives. Unfortunately, this puts her life in danger. Private investigator Nick Sundridge is hired by a mysterious third party to protect her.  Together they try to find the hitman by narrowing down the list of suspects. Just as Vivian can see things others do not, Nick also has that ability. The difference is that she sees through a cameras’ lens, while he sees through his dreams and visions. This talent, or curse as he refers to it, allows him to become a brilliant investigator. 

Through their need to live together the hero and heroine’s personality, along with very snappy dialogue, become prevalent. They are both compelling people who are smart, daring, competent, and flawed. Vivian is talented, bold, independent, and, savvy, a very modern woman for that time who is very much career oriented.  Nick is sarcastic, honorable, talented, and pragmatic.  His partner Rex many times steals the scenes. This trained side-kick is a loveable German Shepherd who is extremely faithful.

The attraction between the two is first felt by Nick.  “The relationship is not one where opposites attract, but one where both characters are accepting of each other. She was not put off by his “curse,” and he was not put off by a woman wanting to have a career. Vivian sees beyond the surface of who Nick is.  They are two of a kind and have a unique understanding of each other.  Both see themselves and the world they live in uniquely. I like to compare the relationship to photography since it played such an important role in the story. For example, this quote by Vivian shows how similar they both are, ‘Your fever dreaming sounds a lot like what I do when I focus my camera.  I open my senses, my inner eye, and try to see beneath the surface…It’s called intuition, Nick.  Neither one of us is crazy.’ Nick responds, ‘You’ve known me for less than two days, but you know more about me…more than anyone else.’”

Furthermore, Quinn believes “The psychic element gives the story a vibe and keeps the books from following into a traditional police procedural.  I do not think there is too much and consider it just one step beyond intuition.  There is a fine line between those who are really talented that can observe something that others do not see and someone with a psychic sense. Their sense of awareness allows them to see what others do not.” 

This novel has very interesting characters, and a plot with mystery twists. The action begins on the first page and continues until the last page.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.