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REVIEW: Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Dear Ms. Gideon:

I confess that I didn’t intend to read this series, ever. First, the covers are generic man titty. Second, it’s generic mantitty on top of generic paranormal and frankly I am a little worn out by both tropes, overused by the romance genre. Yet, your name kept popping up as someone who has been around for a while writing paranormals before paranormals were even considered a romance trope, let alone an overused one. What really sold me was that someone told me that this series was a police procedure series. I love police procedure books. They appeal to the facts + law side of me.

Masked by Midnight by Nancy GideonThe book starts out snappy with New Orleans homicide detective, Charlotte Caissie, arriving to investigate the remains of two victims who appear to have been torn apart by an animal. The victims were connected to a major crime lord, Jimmy Legere. Jimmy Legere has played a major role in Charlotte’s life and she’s devoted her entire career to bringing him down. She knows he has a hand in the deaths of these two low level gamblers, but she’s not sure how and whether this will be his downfall.

Max Savoie is known as Jimmy’s guard dog and that’s about it. He had no past, no record. He doesn’t exist according to all data that Charlotte (or CeeCee) has available to her. But when he is around, there is always a hum of attraction between them.

And he missed nothing when it came to her-‘not the slightest nuance, every tiny alteration, in a way that she'd find alarmingly obsessive if he ever acted on it with more than slightly flirtatious words. Who the hell noticed a new perfume applied modestly to pulse points almost a full day ago? Wondering made those pulse points flutter.

Max is an interesting character. He’s the more complex of the two. While having all the accoutrements of the alpha male-strength, power of personality, swagger – he is not the alpha male in this book. Jimmy Legere is his alpha, not in the werewolf sense, but in every other sense. When Jimmy says jump, Max jumps as high as possible. There is a really evocative scene where Jimmy is wondering about Max’s loyalty when Max begins to show his feelings for CeeCee. Max steps on some pictures and grabs the gun that Jimmy, a man wheelchair bound, keeps near him at all times. Max places this gun on his adam’s apple and says that Jimmy should pull the trigger right then and there if Jimmy has any doubt to whom Max belongs.

Max is torn so completely between his devotion to Jimmy, someone who has cared for him, provided for him, made him feel loved, and his growing and undeniable feelings for CeeCee. Max is a curious mix of suave seductor and frightened boy.

While CeeCee has a good conflict on paper–Max is on the wrong side of the law and she upholds the right side–it is not compelling as Max’s storyline. Not enough was done to make CeeCee the complicated character she could have been. Her conflict, to a great degree, existed solely to make it impossible for her to be with Max. It didn’t have a growth arc like Max’s did. Thus, when CeeCee resisted Max, it seemed contrived at times and I felt impatient with her, particularly when most of her resistance was after some heavy duty giving in.

UPDATED: As I as thinking about this review, I felt like I should add that CeeCee betrays Max more than once in pursuit of her justice and while this might seem offputting (and it was) I felt it was justified given her past though I thought a better job could have been done showing the horrors of the past so we could understand the depths of CeeCee’s struggle.

About halfway through the story, the conflict changes quite a bit and the obstacles between the two become larger as Max takes on more responsibility for a criminal empire CeeCee wants to destroy and as Max becomes a main suspect for the murders of the two victims.

Coupled with this is the supernatural overlay. Max is a shapeshifter who has no knowledge of the extent of his power and his abilities. Part of the mystery is what exactly Max is and who else know what he is.

There are some major holes in the story. Like, why is this the first time that the police have ever discovered victims killed like these if Max has been Legere’s enforcer for years? Also, while the police procedure starts out strong, it kind of loses steam about half way. (This becomes increasingly problematic in subsequent books). However, the strength of Max’s storyline made this book compelling enough for me to buy the second book in the series. B-

Best regards,


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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Tae
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 06:23:56

    does he have a little moustache on his upper lip because that’s just unattractive and that alone would make me not want to read the book because I couldn’t stop imagining the hero and I just find that picture unsexy

  2. DS
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 07:22:00

    I’ve read some of her small press vampire books and they didn’t have plot holes as much as plot canyons. That definitely puts me off trying anything new although I see that she is with Pocket now so maybe they have shrunk back to holes.

  3. Jane
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 07:37:33

    @Tae I don’t remember any mustache.

  4. Debra
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 10:23:03

    I have read all three of these books and just loved them. While CeeCee I could of hit a few times, there was just something about Max that drew me in. I read the books because of Max. The conflict of what he was, thinking he was the only one, and then finding out others out there like him. He had a love for CeeCee , that would test most people, but he makes a speach in the second boo that tell its all. Ms Gideon also has left it open for more books.

    I was very much on the fence about these books until I read the ARC of the first one. Then I couldn’t wait for the other two. As I said you really want to hit CeeCee a few times, but Max makes reading these books worth it.

  5. veinglory
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 12:11:47

    Where are that man’s nipples?

  6. Kaetrin
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 17:33:40

    I read this book this week too and I found myself quite conflicted at the end. It was certainly very readable and I very much wanted to know what was going to happen next but…

    I found it hard to reconcile the 2 sides of Max. He was this suave “Roarke” type character and then he was, as you said, Jane, a frightened boy. I found both compelling but they didn’t sit well together for me (if that makes sense).

    I didn’t understand CeeCee that well. She played fast and loose with the law when it suited her without much compunction but betrayed Max more than once – the last time she did I think I was as confused as Max was.

    I didn’t understand what changed really to make her able to be with Max at the end. It seems to me that, unlike Roarke, who divested himself of his illegal ventures after getting with Eve Dallas (and, by that time, there weren’t that many anyway as legal business was intriguing to him) Max is going to continue being on the wrong side of the law. How can CeeCee still be a detective and be with Max? That wasn’t explained and because of it I’m far from convinced in their HFN/HEA. (I gather this doesn’t really change much in the next 2 books – but I’m hoping to be corrected on this!).

    I am tempted to read the next book, because, despite the plot holes (I really didn’t understand the Mary Kate thing that well) and the other issues I had with it, parts of it were very good and, overall, I found it eminently “readable”. I ended up giving it a personal rating of C+ because the things that bothered me about it became more prominent once I’d finished the book.

    One other thing – could authors please use glossaries for name pronunciation or otherwise easier to pronounce names? I had trouble with Savoie – it is Savoy? Savoy-e, Sav-wa? In the end, it was just Sav..mumble – it’s distracting!!!

  7. KristieJ
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 20:59:40

    I’ve read all three in the series now and while I agree that there are huge plot holes, and CeeCee is a very confusing character, Max is one of the most compelling heroes I’ve read in a long time. His complete vulnerability at times is just so heartbreaking. I find him a fascinating mix of strength and defencelessness. And as the series goes on, it seems like he’s a lot more than what he thinks, but at the same time, so lost as to what since all his life he thought he was the only one of his kind.
    And to Kaetrin – keep reading. Remember *wink* Roarke didn’t really start going straight until book 2 or 3.
    This is an ongoing series. I was asking the author and she has at least two more planned with Max and CeeCee as the lead characters.
    Despite it’s drawbacks, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

  8. Kaetrin
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 22:49:30

    @KristieJ – does that mean that I can expect to see Max heading towards legitimacy in his business dealings? If so, I think it will be worth keeping on with the series. The reason I’ve been hesitating is that it did not appear that would happen and I’m not comfortable with the hero remaining a criminal. (To be honest, it’s a bit of a challenge that he has been such a criminal but I’ll deal with it better if it’s past tense rather than ongoing!!).

  9. KristieJ
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 05:35:42

    Kaetrin: Yep, he does. He realizes that in order to keep CeeCee, he has to go legit. And above all, he wants CeeCee.

  10. Kaetrin
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 05:38:48

    Thx for that KristieJ – I feel so much better! I’ll go ahead and pick up bk2 now.

  11. Cindy
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 07:06:37

    I loved this series, but like Debra said, I read it for Max. He drew me in in book one and I had to see what was next. I too wanted to smack CeeCee and from time to time I wondered what he even saw in her.

  12. Jane
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 07:21:23

    @Kaetrin The struggle CeeCee has with the law does increase in future books. I did think of this series as more of an Eve and Roarke except Roarke is never fully clean.

    Unlike KristieJ, I really struggled with the final two books. The plot holes became more dramatic, CeeCee and Max’s constant I love you / I’m sorry / I hate you / I love you got to be tiresome. I’ll have reviews of the other two books next week.

  13. Diane V
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 11:13:26

    I liked these books, because I loved Max…but I would have loved them if CeeCee had been a more likeable heroine.

    Max’s love for CeeCee did remind me of Roarke’s for Eve, but I was never quite convinced that CeeCee loved Max as much.

    Nevertheless, I did enjoy these books and would be willing to read several more as long as CeeCee doesn’t become more annoying.

  14. Ridley
    Aug 28, 2010 @ 00:06:05

    That really is a dreadful cover, isn’t it?

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