Book Review: “Strangers in the Night” by Linda Howard

March 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm 1 comment

Howard's Strangers in the NightLinda Howard’s Strangers in the Night is a collection of three stories (“Lake of Dreams,” “Blue Moon” and “White Out”) that deal with passion, romance, and…well…strangers, and while the stories have their weaknesses and flaws, they all are nevertheless gripping page-turners that have just enough love, chemistry, and desire to keep reader’s interest regardless of their short nature and often underdeveloped plotlines and characters.

In the first story, “Lake of Dreams,” Thea Marlow, a house painter,  cannot escape from the vivid dreams that haunt her sleep every night, dreams of a shadowed man who passionately makes love to her night-after-night, leaving her feeling confused and bereft when she wakes.  Dreams of this shadowed lover who also coldly murders her, drowning her over and over again.  When her work and life begin to suffer, Thea packs up and heads to her parents’ lake house to confront the biggest side-effect of the dreams: her now pathological fear of water.  However, at the lake house, Thea must confront more than her fear of drowning when she comes face to face with the man of her dreams: Richard, her lover, her murderer and her destiny.

A tale of redemption, reincarnation, misunderstandings, and passion, “Lake of Dreams” is definitely hard to put down–even though you may want to at times. Thea’s dreams are intense and passionate–if sometimes a little brutal–and while the dreams are sexy, the first actual sex scene is disappointing, a little violent, and completely unrealistic.  Howard does a great job with a build-up but loses steam with the main event. Regardless, the passion between the couple is very intense and irresistible.  The scenes with Richard and Thea are suspenseful and erotic yet oddly-tender.  However, while readers will like Richard, his unwillingness to discuss their past lives, creates too much confusion and misunderstanding in the story.  So overall–it has its moments both good and bad, and while some of the narrative is flawed, Howard’s trademark style gives the story passion and suspense that makes it worth reader’s time.

Rating: 3 Stars

The second story, “Blue Moon,” tells the story of small-town sheriff Jackson and local witchy-woman Lilah.  When Sheriff Jackson Brody gets a call about some potential trouble down at the Jones’ house–located in the middle of the bayou–right before a huge storm–he knows that it means trouble.  After all, it’s a full moon, and in his experience the crazies always come out on a full moon.  However, he didn’t realize how much trouble he is in for until he meets Lilah Jones–a woman who practices holistic healing and can see auras–and until a body is found after the storm clears.

Filled with passion, magic, and shootouts, this story is a fun read.  Lilah and Jackson are cute together and their scenes are steamy, sexy, and somehow believable despite the fact that they manage to fall in love in one day.  Howard manages to build the emotional depth between the couple within a small time frame through her skillful handling of the pair’s interactions and the careful interweaving of magic.  Therefore, while the “suspense” aspect of the story is practically nonexistant, the couple’s romance is able to hold the story and the reader’s interest.

Rating: 3.5 stars

The final story in the collection, “White Out” is by far the best in the book.  Stuck alone in the middle of a blizzard, young widow Hope Bradshaw is completely prepared for anything that comes her way–or so she thinks until a strange man knocks on her door.  Price Tanner is nearly dead when he stumbles upon her remote resort in Idaho, but under Faith’s careful care both is body and his heart begin to warm.  However, is Price really who he says he is? And what does he have to do with a deadly prison bus crash off the highway and the escape of three prisoners?

Exciting, dangerous, erotic, and quick-paced, this story manages to combine the emotional vulnerability of a young isolated widow with a romantic and suspenseful story.  Faith is refreshingly Smart Enough to Live–and smart enough to love–so while it may seem like she blindly jumps head first into a passionate affair, her ability to remain level-headed is honest and appealing.  In return Price is the perfect Alpha hero–tough, aggressive, protective, passionate, with a dash of sensitive.  The relationship between the two sizzles and sparks, as they deal with navigating their way through the storm, their new relationship, and human dangers.

Rating: 4 stars

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Strange Love « Reading Romantically  |  May 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    […] Read my review HERE! […]

    Reply

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