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Cover of Night: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 432 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
The guest is Jeffrey Layton, an accountant who is blackmailing a Chicago gangster. He has info on a flash drive that would ruin the gangster, and he has left a trail straight to Cate's door. When the gangster hires thugs to bring Jeffrey and the flash drive in, they rough up Cate and her friend and have a run-in Cal, who would do anything to protect Cate. The thugs leave with bruised egos and Layton's suitcase. Sensing danger, Cate has her mother take the twins to Seattle for a visit, which turns out to be smart. The two thugs come up with a ridiculous plan to take the town hostage to obtain the flash drive when they determine that she did not give them all Layton's luggage.
When the hired thugs (their numbers swollen to six) strike, all hell breaks loose in Trail Stop, Idaho. Little do they know Cal is a former Special Forces soldier - a one man army if you will. With the aid of his former mentor Joshua Creed, Cal organizes the townspeople who are cut off from the outside world. Cate and Cal are forced to climb their way out of the valley via a sheer cliff to obtain help.
While the plot is engaging, there is a lack of chemistry between the main characters. We know Cal is in love with Cate, but Cate never even noticed him, so her sudden turnaround is hard to buy. The requisite love scene between the two comes so late in the story that it seems like a last minute add on. Also in short supply is the snappy dialogue that keeps the pace of a typical Howard novel. While I enjoyed this novel, it certainly is not in my top 10 LH faves.
Some of her best works are: Mr. Perfect, Kill and Tell, and Now You See Her.
There are other problems, too, but the most serious is its incredible plot. WARNING: plot revelations follow. Howard's own characters say it best: "Toxtel's plan was one of the most idiotic things he'd ever heard in his life....." and later, "This whole thing was so over the top it didn't make sense." The "plan," so to speak, is to blow up bridges, put an entire town under seige, take the inhabitants hostage, and kill innocent citizens--all in order to recover an item which the protagonists ONLY ASSUME IS HIDDEN IN THE TOWN! The expense of such an operation alone makes it unbelievable, never mind the impracticality or logistics of it. The plan's mastermind is not even portrayed as an out-of-control, power-hungry madman, who might conceivably come up with such a deranged idea, but simply as a rather plodding hitman, angry because his first attempt to recover the object failed. Almost as incredible is our hero's action in allowing these bad guys to leave town in the first place, when any thinking, sane person would have turned them over to authorities. But of course they had to leave town so that the remainder of the plot--and I use the term lightly--could unfold.
CofN is also highly predictable; I knew our hero and heroine would have reason to climb a mountain from the first moment we learn they have climbing experience. But even then, the climb is aborted, as though Howard herself grew bored with it. And then there is the relationship between Cate and our hero, which other reviewers have commented on and which I agree only adds to our disbelief. In this, as well as in other aspects of the story, Cate comes off as slightly stupid, while our hero challenges our believability by doing a sudden about-face (no pun intended) from blushing, stammering handyman to Super Marine. Precocious, baby-talking four-year olds and assorted other good and bad characters with mysterious pasts help clutter the landscape but do little to enrich the story.
Again, I cannot help but suspect that Cover of Night is an earlier unpublished Howard manuscript which has been updated and offered to an audience eager for her next best seller. If I'm wrong and this is the level of her current writing, then I also can't help anticipating future Howard offerings with a certain amount of trepidation.
Layton is accountant for bad guy Bandini. Layton has a flash drive with evidence against Bandini and asks for blackmail money. Bandini hires two killers (Goss and Toxtel) to get the flash drive back. They follow Layton's trail to a small town in Idaho. They pull a gun on Cate. Cal saves her. They didn't get the flash drive and they want revenge on Cal. They hire more killers to help them. Cal and the town fight back against unbelievable odds.
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Swearing language: strong including religious swear words but not often used. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: about two, plus one referred to. Setting: current day small mountain town called Trail Stop in Idaho. Copyright: 2006. Genre: romantic suspense.
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