Posts tagged ‘Strangers in the Night’

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

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


March 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm 1 comment

Strange Love

I have a plan. Sure, I probably won’t stick to it but I have a plan! I am going to systematically go through the complete works of Linda Howard. I have read the biggies–Mr. Perfect, Open Season, Kill and Tell, Dying to Please–but I haven’t really read any of her earlier works. And as I love her, it seems like a shame!  So, to start off this wonderful idea, I visited my local used bookstore and picked up Howard’s Strangers in the Night.  I like to judge books my their covers and titles–cause I’m cool like that–and this title: perfect for me.  It’s about strangers and as people who know me can attest….

Strangers love me.  I am like a magnet for random people, random conversations, and random encounters.

“Don’t let me be alone,” I warn my friends because when I’m alone….well…I don’t ever stay that way too long.  However, despite good intentions, somehow my friends always wander off, leaving me all by my lonesome. And BAM, the next thing I know, I have a new best friend.  People think I’m joking about how much strangers seem to love me, but I’m not.  Here are a few examples:

Once my friend Flo left me alone in an airport in Rome.  Shame on her.  So there I was just sitting in my uncomfortable chair at the gate, surrounded by our bags, while she went off the the restroom.  Thanks Flo.  Next thing I know a man two seats down goes, “Are you on the flight to Glasgow?” As fate would have it, I was on the flight to Glasgow, and then somehow I end up with a new best friend named John.

He was from Nigeria, living in Rome, 30 years old, about to be a student in Scotland, studying business management, and staying with a friend.  John sat next to me on the plane–between Flo and me– and he talked the entire way, commented on my iPod touch, the weather, nighttime, Scotland, his friends in North America.  He even asked for my email so he could come visit, as he was planning a Stateside visit.  I didn’t give it to him.

Strangers on a Plane...I mean Train

I am glad my life is not this movie.

Another time my mother left me alone in a fastfood restaurant as we were road-tripping up the East Coast.  A  nice trucker walked in, ordered, waved at me, and came over to say “hey.”  When I was by myself in a DC airport, I met a an accountant while standing in a line at burger joint.  He was flying north, I was flying south. He was going to a funeral–but don’t worry it was more of an obligation than anything–while I was going to visit family.  I could go on and on about the random people who have approached me for no reason whatsoever and simply decided to tell me their life stories: the young graphic designer from Canada flying to see her BF, the grandmother from Little Rock, the bouncer at a nightclub, a mother giving blood, the nice man with a butterfly collection at a coffee shop, the man in a van telling me “the bus doesn’t run on Sundays.”  It’s such a common thing I usually don’t think twice.  I mean why not tell me your life story?

But this weekend…I was alone. And shopping.  It was Friday afternoon and I was on the quest for the perfect little dress for a night dancing with some friends from out-of-town.  Deciding TJ Maxx was my best bet, I hopped into my car and set forth on an epic adventure–a whole 1.5 miles away.  When I got there, I did what any normal person would, I got out of my car, locked it, and started to walk the few feet from my parking spot to the store.  But I didn’t take more than one step before a car pulled up beside my Honda CR-V and rolled its window down.  When the man in the car called out to me, I figured he wanted directions or something, so imagine my surprise when he goes: “Are you from [Insert name of hometown here].” Next thing I know Ted, that’s the man in the car’s name, is telling me that he saw my licensed plate and just had to talk to me because he is from [hometown here] too, and isn’t that ironic, and what am I doing 1,272 miles from home?  He then shares with me his life story, as I make sure to keep plenty of space between me, his car, and the window.  You never know about strangers.

So later that afternoon, when I saw the cover and title for the Linda Howard book, I figured it was fate.  Strangers seem to love me, hopefully I will love Strangers. 

Read my review HERE!

March 8, 2011 at 1:07 am 2 comments

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