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REVIEW: Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Dear Ms. Howard:

Cover of NightIt’s a good thing that you are going back to writing romances because Cover of Night is not a romance. It is a suspense book with a romantic theme. Frankly, it's a shitty not a very good suspense book. The setup, which pits the town of Trail Stop against a band of professional killers, is ridiculous beyond belief strains the edges of credulity.

The first half of the book is spent setting up the conflict. No real action takes place in the first 70 pages. There is little meaningful interaction between Cate and Cal, two of the protagonists (not to mention the most boring sex scene ever in a Linda Howard book). More than half the book is spent in the minds of the antagonists and watching the antagonists get their operation together (and watching it fall apart).

I found it hard to believe that these killers could stay in business or be the “best” when the whole operation turned into a giant mess. The killers were only the “best” because you told me they were. Not because they evinced any abilities to succeed on their own. You continued the telling v. showing throughout the entire book. Cate and Cal fell in love because you wanted it to be so, not because their attraction for each other grew from their characters. After all, Cate doesn't even begin to have feelings for Cal until the latter 1/3 of the story.

What little romance there was took a back seat to everything else: Cate's coming to grips with her grief over the loss of her husband, one killer's vendetta against the man who employs him, the group of killers' attempts to achieve the goal by the employer. There were a number of scenes that were complete throwaways in that they did not advance the plot or add dimension to the characters. Finally, the denouement is crap of great disappointment. It reminded me of the Andromeda Strain where the killer virus mutates into one that is non lethal.

I would characterize it as a suspense book with a strong romantic thread rather than a romance book with a suspense thread. The romance takes a definite back seat to the suspense. To a great degree, I felt that you were much more interested in the villians than you were with the main protagonists. In the end, because of the unbelievable plot and the boring characters, I could barely finish the book. C- for you.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. Cece
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 19:17:50

    *Sob* that’s why I put down the last book of hers that I read :(

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  2. Susan
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 20:07:12

    Exactly! Your review touched on everything I disliked about this book. Thank goodness I got it from the library and (1) saved my money and (2) saved time by skimming all the sections told from the villians’ point of view.

    Spoiler (maybe)

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    And what was with the bad guy’s bar hook up babe who might be poking men’s eyeballs out !?! Linda must have really been tickled about that since she wrapped up the book with it.

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  3. Jane
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 20:49:27

    Cece – It’s always a greater disappointment when a favorite romance author leaves the genre of romance. I understand that maybe romance isn’t what LH is interested in writing anymore, but it doesn’t mean that I, as a romance reader, can be happy about it.

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    Susan – I couldn’t agree more with you about the eyeballs thing. It was a total non sequitur. The scene with Kennon in bed with the supposed serial killer added absolutely nothing to his character or the story. I didn’t understand why it was even there.

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  4. Cece
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 20:57:47

    In the end, because of the unbelievable plot and the boring characters, I could barely finish the book.

    It’s not so much the fact there’s not a lot of romance (though Mr. Perfect is one of my all time faves EVER!) it’s this, here that lost me. It was the book about the female bodyguard. I never connected with the characters so I never bought into their relationship.

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  5. Nicole
    Jul 05, 2006 @ 21:50:57

    And here’s me with this being my second Linda Howard book ever and I rather liked it and came away wanting to read more of her books. I saw everything you mentioned and even agree with most of it, but I just came away from it liking it. I suppose I just thought the plot was so over-the-top that it worked. Somehow. I’m not quite sure how. Maybe I’m just weird. Yeah, that’s probably it.

    I’m just weird.

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  6. CindyS
    Jul 06, 2006 @ 04:18:24

    Thank you for the review – I hated her last book because it was boring and quite frankly I know that LH can do much better. If this is where she starts to write for another genre then I can safely say I won’t be following her. Too bad. She really knew how to bring the heat.

    I was waiting for others opinions of this book and your review has pinpointed everything that would piss me off. So, do I send the 25 bucks you saved me to you ;) Nah, just means more books for me to buy. Afterall, I have to find a new auto-buy author.

    Cece – that bodyguard book was just weird. Killing Time however was weird and boring.

    CindyS

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  7. Tara Marie
    Jul 06, 2006 @ 07:05:57

    Nicole, I’m weird too, I liked this one. And, I would agree with Jane’s complaints but overlooked them.

    And, I found most of the characters interesting and quirky. I liked LH’s interest in the villians, but I like to know what makes them tick.

    And, I loved the creepy eyeball thing.

    Maybe I really am weird–LOL.

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  8. Jane
    Jul 06, 2006 @ 07:55:16

    Nicole and TM- I don’t think either of you are weird. If you look over at AAR, the overwhelming sentiment was that this was a good book so I am probably the weird one.

    CindyS – Save your money and buy Carla Neggers, The Widow. I read it right after Linda Howard’s book and kept thinking that this is how Linda Howard could have done it.

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  9. HelenKay
    Jul 06, 2006 @ 19:58:59

    This makes me so sad. I love Linda Howard – Duncan’s Bride, the Mackenzies, After The Twilight. I get weepy just thinking about them.

    Carla Neggers is fantastic! Haven’t gotten The Widow yet, but she is the master of connecting books.

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  10. Keishon
    Jul 07, 2006 @ 14:24:21

    This makes me so sad. I love Linda Howard – Duncan’s Bride, the Mackenzies, After The Twilight.

    After the Twilight? Or After the Night?

    Needless to say, you ruined my joy here Jane. No worries. I plan to read it regardless now that you’ve knocked down my expectations.

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  11. HelenKay
    Jul 07, 2006 @ 21:44:05

    Keishon – The answer to your question is yes. Messed up the title but loved both. There were a few oldies I didn;t love – All That Glitters comes to mind and the one where the lady thinks the blind guy in the hospital might be her ex but he isn’t. For the most, though, loved everything through Game of Chance.

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  12. lurker1
    Jul 11, 2006 @ 12:30:26

    OK, Jane. Good points–although I think there’s some circumstantial evidence that LH knew she’d written herself into the plot equivalent of a rock and a hardplace, and to give her credit, she at least tried to explain the basic stupidity of taking the town hostage. I enjoyed the romance part, and say what you will, LH does kids better than any romance author out there, and if one accepted her motivation explanation, the actual action was PD good.

    Bottom line? LH on a bad day is at least 10 times better than the crapolla coming from the romance industry these days and as further mitigation, I read this fresh from trying to read “Don’t Look Down” (I’ve threatened to return books before, but DLD is the first I ever actually followed through with–and Target took it back!). “Cover of Night” was a B to B- for me.

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  13. Jane
    Jul 11, 2006 @ 13:17:15

    [quote comment="2097"]I enjoyed the romance part, and say what you will, LH does kids better than any romance author out there, and if one accepted her motivation explanation, the actual action was PD good.

    Bottom line? LH on a bad day is at least 10 times better than the crapolla coming from the romance industry these days and as further mitigation, I read this fresh from trying to read “Don’t Look Down” (I’ve threatened to return books before, but DLD is the first I ever actually followed through with–and Target took it back!). “Cover of Night” was a B to B- for me.[/quote]

    First, I hated Don’t Look Down. It was the second review that I did and was partly the impetus for the formation of this blog. I had to spew out my frustration at one of my favorite authors totally giving me it up the rear with all the pre publicity hype.

    Second, the kids were cute but they weren’t enough to save the book for me. There’s no question that LKH can write but as both a suspense and a romance it failed to deliver for me unlike Carla Neggers, The Widow. Shoot. I need to write that review up.

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  14. mariah
    May 24, 2007 @ 10:45:10

    i love linda i have read almost all her books, so shut up

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  15. mariah
    May 24, 2007 @ 10:51:54

    ps linda is better than almost any other author i have read! oh well think what you want i liked it

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  16. Joy
    Aug 31, 2008 @ 09:52:22

    It’s been said all over but I agree that this book was wholly disappointing. Boring, completely absurd plot, a hero and heroine who were so mild they barely seem to be there and overall so fantastical that it comes off like an elementary attempt at copying LH. I personally would have rather read more about the villain (Kennan Goss?) who she managed to make sexier than the hero. I almost didn’t finish it. Only two things made me finish. That it was a Linda Howard so I was hoping it would improve (it didn’t) and that I can’t Not finish a book. There were other LH books that I didn’t like initially that much but liked more the second time I read them (like Killing Time). This one I won’t even give a second try.

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  17. sarah
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 16:58:23

    i just started reading LH books and actually quiet enjoyed them. all these opinions about the book do strike true but all in all her books a great. what i did not like was your review. I am not saying that you have to like LH books, by all means hate them but when u come out with multiple successful books than you have room to write reviews and i might listen to them.

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