Linda Howard






Ballantine Books, 2007
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Trail Stop, Idaho is a remote mountain village with one road in and out. When the bridge to the outside is blown up, the power is cut, and the town finds itself under fire by a group of snipers with high powered weapons, they prepare to fight back. That's the kind of people who live in a place called Trail Stop, resilient survivors and fighters.
Widow Cate Nightingale runs a bed and breakfast. It's the perfect place to raise her four year old twin boys. Her guests are the usual assortment of hunters, fisherman and mountain climbers until Jeffery Layton, an accountant from Chicago, checks in. Layton mysteriously vanishes early the next morning, apparently disappearing through a second story window, leaving all his belongings behind.
Cal Harris is the local handyman who helps keep the B & B in good repair. And Cate's old house needs lots of work
  especially since her friends and neighbors keep sabotaging things in their well-meaning attempts at matchmaking. Cal can't seem to keep himself from stuttering and blushing whenever Cate looks at him, and everyone but Cate realizes the true reason why  he is totally smitten. However, when their sleepy town comes under siege Cal is suddenly transformed from a shy and fumbling handyman into the Army Recon soldier he was before coming to Trail Stop.
COVER OF NIGHT is Linda Howard's latest romantic suspense novel. It is an action packed and fast paced story. As much as I enjoy Howard's work, I could not buy a whole town being taken hostage. Maybe it could happen, but it didn't seem credible to me. Jeffery Layton is the catalyst for all the bad stuff that happens in Trail Stop but his disappearance is not a serious mystery, it's a storyline that goes nowhere; and the snipers who take the town hostage
  their threat evaporates a bit too neatly.
Cal Harris's transformation from a shy handyman dressed in coveralls to a battle hardened soldier was a bit of a leap, too. His first impression as a bumbling, blushing handyman was unmemorable and when I realized he was the romantic lead character I was quite surprised. I had a tough time making the switch. Linda Howard tells an interesting story but this title never rises to the level of her best work.
April 2007


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