Jinxed (Regan Reilly Series #6)by Carol Higgins Clark
In Jinxed, smart, saucy sleuth Regan Reilly faces a new/i>/i>/i>
Carol Higgins Clark, bestselling author of Fleeced and co-author with Mary Higgins Clark of He Sees You When You're Sleeping, returns in top form in her new Regan Reilly mystery, blending her talent for intriguing locales, eccentric characters, and fast-paced suspense laced with humor.
In Jinxed, smart, saucy sleuth Regan Reilly faces a new challenge -- the case of the missing wedding guest.
Regan, an L.A.-based private detective, returns to her office after a vacation with her beau, Jack "no relation" Reilly. Their tour of the wineries in Napa Valley and Santa Barbara County is cut short when Jack has to fly back to New York City, where he is the head of the Major Case Squad of the NYPD. Their last stop had been at Altered States, a run-down winery owned by three siblings who are all former hippies -- Lilac, Earl, and Leon Weldon. Not knowing how soon it would be put to use, Regan leaves her business card behind.
Within minutes of being back to work, Regan gets an excited call from Lilac. The Weldon family has been invited to the wedding of ninety-three-year-old Lucretia Standish, a former silent-screen star, who made a killing in a dot-com before it went bankrupt. Lucretia had been married to the Weldons' Uncle Haskell and had invested the money she inherited from Haskell in the dot-com. Lucretia's maid, Phyllis, clues Lilac in on the fact that Lucretia plans to give the Weldons $2 million each -- if they all show up at the wedding. The wedding is two days away, and there is only one problem -- Lilac's daughter, Whitney, aka Freshness, a young actress, has taken off on one of her go-with-the-flow weekends. Whitney is out of touch and goes where the wind blows. If it doesn't blow her back into town by Sunday morning, the Weldon family will be out $8 million.
Regan's job is to find Whitney. But unbeknownst to Regan, there's someone else on the hunt. Lucretia's fiancé, the much younger Edward Fields, has hired an accomplice in crime to locate Whitney and keep her away from the wedding. Edward knows Whitney will recognize him as the con man she'd met in acting class in New York. He wants to say "I do" to Lucretia and her millions before Whitney can protest. When Edward finds out that Regan Reilly has been hired to find the missing Whitney, he gives the order to get rid of her as well.
Meanwhile, Lucretia is befriended by a gang of bikers, the story of her upcoming nuptials is featured on national television news, and wildfires are threatening to consume the barn where Whitney is being held captive.
As in her previous novels, Carol Higgins Clark has created a novel that is both exciting and vastly entertaining. As no less a master of suspense than Nelson DeMille has said, "Clark's writing is elegantly clear and concise, her characters are witty and engaging, and her plots and pacing are perfect." And in Jinxed, she is at her very considerable best.
"Clark pours a Zinfandel that's light and fruity and perfect with cheese."
Read an Excerpt
Turn right at the bumpy dirt road," Regan Reilly instructed her beau, Jack "no relation" Reilly. He was at the wheel of her Lexus, and they were heading to the last winery on their tour of the Napa Valley and Santa Barbara County. Regan was reading from a guidebook.
"This bumpy dirt road?" Jack asked as he made the turn and the car started to bounce along, stirring up a cloud of dust in its wake.
Regan smiled. "I don't see any others."
"I can just imagine what this place is going to be like," Jack mused. "With a name like 'Altered States' and this out-of-the-way location..."
"They say it's the perfect place to relax, sip a glass of wine, meditate, sleep in the charming bed-and-breakfast...get away from it all, and leave your stress behind."
"Well, they were right when they said we were getting away from it all." Jack reached over and squeezed Regan's hand. "This place is way off the beaten track. And in the last week we've been to some remote spots."
Regan and Jack had met five months ago in New York when Regan's father, Luke, was kidnapped at Christmastime. Jack, the head of the Major Case Squad in Manhattan, had been instrumental in finding Luke.
Luke was returned safely on Christmas Eve. Regan and Jack's romance began that night. Perhaps an odd way for two people to meet, yet Luke claimed full credit and protested that he had not yet been paid his Dolly Levi commission. He and Regan's mother, suspense writer Nora Regan Reilly, were convinced that Jack was Regan's perfect match. Not only was thirty-four-year-old Jack handsome, nice, and smart, with a wry sense of humor, but he also was a go-getter. A graduate of Boston College, he had two master's degrees, and his goal was to become police commissioner of New York. Few who knew him doubted he would make it.
Now they were finishing up their first vacation together, a driving tour that took them north from Los Angeles, up the Pacific Coast Highway, and across to the Napa Valley wine country, then back down through the valleys. Altered States was their last stop before heading back to Los Angeles where thirty-one-year-old Regan worked as a private investigator.
The trip had been great. They'd walked the beach, stopped in little coastal towns, and discovered restaurants that were full of charm and good food. Even the characters in a couple of roadside dumps they'd stumbled upon provided a lot of laughs.
"You know," Jack said, smiling, "we haven't gotten on each other's nerves even once."
"What a miracle." Regan laughed as she glanced at his profile. God, is he good-looking, she thought. And he makes me so happy. He was 6 feet 2 inches tall, broad-shouldered, with sandy brown hair that tended to curl, strong even features, and hazel eyes. He was the perfect complement to Regan, who had inherited Black Irish looks from the Reilly side of her family. She had raven black hair, light skin, and blue eyes.
"This is the bumpy dirt road to end all bumpy dirt roads." Jack navigated the car down the seemingly endless stretch. It was almost five o'clock. They had been driving for hours and were looking forward to getting out of the car and having a glass of wine on the back deck of the inn that supposedly had a great panoramic view.
In the distance, they saw a cluster of old wooden and stone buildings, surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards. Regan whispered, "It does have the feeling of an old ghost town, just as the guidebook promised."
"This place was abandoned for decades, right?" Jack asked.
"Yes. Prohibition put the winery out of business, and then it stood idle for years. A couple bought it and started renovations, but then they went bankrupt. The new owners haven't had it for long at all."
They drove slowly through a lemon grove and into the open space in front of the main building. Jack stopped the car. They got out, and each took a deep breath of the fragrant air.
"It's so peaceful and quiet," Regan said.
Jack's cell phone rang. "You were saying," he remarked as he winked at her, pulled open his phone, and answered it. Regan could tell right away from the tone of his voice that it was his office calling. She slowly walked over to the large stone building and stepped inside the main entrance.
"Hello there." A tall, thin woman greeted Regan quietly from behind a massive reception desk. Numerous candles flickered on a shelf behind the desk. The woman looked about fifty and had flowing blond hair streaked with gray that gave her an ethereal quality. "We're so glad to have you here at Altered States."
This certainly feels like Altered States, Regan thought, but she said, "Thank you. It's nice to be here."
"Do you have a reservation?"
"Yes, we do."
"Wonderful. Please sign our guest book. Where are you from?"
"That's great. Do you have a business card? We'd like to make sure you're on our mailing list."
Regan pulled a card from her wallet and handed it to the woman.
The woman stared at it for a moment, then looked up at Regan with a Zen-like expression. "You're a private investigator?"
Regan nodded. "Yes."
"How neat," she said. "That is really neat."
"Oh, it's neat all right," Regan agreed, and laughed. She could hear the door behind her open. She turned, already smiling, praying it would be Jack. This woman was just a little odd. Her prayers were answered, but Jack was not looking as relaxed as he had a few minutes before.
"I'm sorry, Regan. I have to get back to New York tomorrow. That case I told you about..."
Regan felt a stab of acute disappointment. "Oh, Jack, that means our vacation's over," she said with a look of mock horror.
"I know. I feel terrible. We should probably go down to Los Angeles tonight."
The woman behind the desk looked sympathetic. "We'll be happy to honor your reservation another time. We'd just love to have you come back and visit."
"We'd love to come back," Jack and Regan replied in unison, as a black cat jumped up on the desk.
None of them had any clue that Regan would be returning in less than twenty-four hours.
Copyright © 2002 by Carol Higgins Clark
Meet the Author
Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.
- New York, New York
- Place of Birth:
- New York, New York
- B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1978
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Nice light reading. I've really enjoyed the series. I like Reagan, as she is a strong, independent woman!
This was a fun & interesting entry in the Regan Reilly series! It's always fun ti try to see if you can guess who the culprit(s) is/are! There are often more then 1 "bad guy/gal" so who is the REAL villian!
When I discover a "new" author I like, I am obsessed with reading the series from book 1. So far am liking the variety of settings in each book. Like that Regan has a guy she likes. Thanks, too, that it isn't full of blood and guts.
I read another one of her books, Burned, and loved it. So naturally I had to read another. And this one was great too. I only read one of her mom's, No Place Like Home, and that book was awesome. Carol and Mary are great writers! I want to write my own mysteries (I'm 15 and read them constatly) and I hope I'm like Mary and Carol one day. :)
Regan Reilly and her boy friend Jack ¿not related¿ Reilly visit the California wine country until he has to return to his work as the head of the NYPD Major Cases Squad. Private sleuth Regan goes back to her office in Los Angeles. Almost the moment she arrives at work, Regan receives a call from the Weldon siblings, who she met when she and Jack toured their winery. Apparently their ninety-six going on ninety-three years old stepmother, former silent screen star Lucretia Standish, is getting married once again. If the Weldon trio plus the daughter of one of them all attend the ceremony, Lucretia will give them two million dollars each; if even one fails to show up they receive zero. The Weldons hire Regan to find the daughter off on one of her vanishing act weekends. Regan begins investigating and receives help from Jack via email. However, the forty something groom has other plans for his fiancee¿s money, which include leaving the Weldons with nothing. If it means killing a detective to insure a Weldon fails to appear so be it. JINXED is an action-packed thriller that moves at the speed of light, which leads to a fun time for the audience if one does not mind escapist cerebral cotton candy. The story line is fluff yet the audience will enjoy every page of it and most will finish in one sitting. Regan is a wonderful protagonist while readers will find the antics of the support cast quite pleasant and amusing. Carol Higgins Clark does what she does best entertain her fans. Harriet Klausner
I just couldn't get into a char. who in her is 90's heck almost 100 who acts like a teenager throughout the whole book. That was the only problem I had with it.