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REVIEW: Cold Midnight by Joyce Lamb

Dear Ms. Lamb:

I wanted to read this book because a) I love sports books and b) so few of the sports books ever feature female athletes. The sports/athletic aspect of the book was the best part. The rest of it? Didn’t work so well.

<—What is going on with that chick’s breasts?

Kylie McKay was a tennis star at the cusp of breaking out. She had just won the Australian Open when, during a downtime at her home, she was attacked and her knee was bashed in by a baseball bat. Her career in tatters, Kylie runs off to UCLA to get her degree and heal. Ten years later, she returns home to open up a tennis/health club center. During construction, a baseball bat is found that Kylie believes is the one that damaged her knee. 10 years! In the dirt! and she can identify it! Maybe this is true but it strained my credulity. I mean, I would like to know what magic marker the assailant used that the words KILLER would have remained on the bat after being buried for ten years. I can’t keep the labels on my travel bottle from lasting more than one trip. Also, googling shows that a cotton rag degrades in 5 months, let alone surviving 10 years to yield blood and fiber clues. O_o

Chase Manning was her boyfriend at the time and is now a Kendall Falls Police Detective. He’s never gotten over the loss of Kylie despite having been married and divorced. He is portrayed as on the precipice of emotional instability upon finding the baseball bat and hearing of threats against Kyle and the McKay Tennis Center.

At first, I was intrigued. It seemed like you were playing with some established character tropes within the genre. Kylie was the stoic one, keeping her emotions in check at all times while Chase was the emotional one, driven by impulse and instinct. But as this wore on, Chase’s disgust for Kylie’s emotional discipline began to be offensive instead of endearing. Chase was great about blaming Kylie for the fallout of their relationship and for changing after the trauma into a stone cold hearted bitch.

Kylie gets her knee bashed in by a bat and it ends her tennis career, a promising pro career, something only a few could ever dream of and it’s over. Does he really believe that she won’t be totally traumatized by that? Further, Kylie explains that Chase didn’t wait long to move on because she heard that he got someone knocked up almost immediately after she left. Chase explains that he was distraught and sought “solace” (that’s what he calls it). It really wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants while Kylie sought to recover from a super horrible event. I mean, if she had stuck around, he wouldn’t have been forced into some other girl’s bed.

I wanted to throttle him, he was so irritating. If you couldn’t tell.

Anyway, moving on to the suspense plot of the story. Bad things are happening to Kylie’s tennis center and to her personally. She doesn’t get a long great with her step siblings, one of whom might have been behind the attack, and she’s having to deal with uncomfortable feelings for Chase. There’s a complicating other man in Kylie’s life (a complication that is totally contrived and not a little skeevy). See the doctor that operated on Kylie’s life and saved her knee when she was seventeen totally had the hots for her back then and is taking up with her again when she returned. Her stepmother encourages this relationship, arguing he had waited for her for 10 years.

"I don’t know. He was very devoted to you before you left for California."
"I was his patient."
"A patient he liked very much."

Oy is all I have to say. I thought the characterizations were way off. The suspense was the most interesting part of the book, but there were plenty of holes in the villain’s motivation for the crime, kind of like how I figured the evidence would be, buried in the ground after 10 years. It’s not quite a D book, but it came close. C-

Best regards,


This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

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. Rob Charron
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 04:04:27

    Hi :)
    Thanks for the review Jane!
    I’ll be sure to skip this one.
    Love and best wishes,

  2. Leah
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 06:26:45

    Fake. They’ve got that circular ridge look, plus, they don’t schlump over or up, or even though she’s laying down. Hubby and I once spent an afternoon on South Beach, pre-kids, where he pointed out all the ways to recognize the fake ones. Thanks, honey!

  3. RStewie
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 06:51:52

    I think they might be real. See how she’s holding her arms close to her body?…Maybe not though…the definition from base to chest is a little too harsh.


    But that dress is whacked out…what is that, a lone ranger booby-seam? I HATE dresses that have seams for where my boobs go. You don’t know my boobs! Stop trying to make them fit into your idea of how boobies should look in a dress!

    Great review, though. How old WAS this Dr. she was seeing?! He must have been THE wunderkid to have fixed her knee 10 years earlier and still been all “let’s get together” when she came back home. My mom’s knee Dr. is at LEAST 50, as is my own Rhuematologist, and my friend’s has GOT to be around 60. Not that that’s old(!), but…the mental image for me there is some 50-70 year old trying to get with a 27 year old chick. Not hot. Or credible (to me) in a romance.

  4. Moth
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 08:27:21

    Did the doctor smash her knee up just so she would become his patient?

  5. Diane V
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 08:31:46

    The fact that Chase got someone pregnant THE NIGHT THAT KYLIE LEFT just totally pissed me off and left me wanting Kylie to end up with a different hero for her HEA.

    And since his excuse was that he was so drunk that he went home with the girl he picked up in a bar and didn’t remember anything until she showed up three months later at his door to tell him she was pregnant…totally unbelievable. If he was that drunk he shouldn’t have been able to have sex (take it from someone who had four other roommates in college and dreaded when our boyfriends had drinking contests at happy hour on Fridays which meant none of us had sex on “Fuckless Fridays”.) Oh, not that they wouldn’t try, but they were all pretty limp and useless.

    I finished the book, but hating the hero and the excuses made it a D for me.

  6. DS
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 08:35:31

    Considering that she was a tennis pro I would think that she would have sought treatment from the best available for the surgery and it would definitely not be the youngest. Orthopedic surgeons are usually in good shape due to the strength needed to do some of the procedures– I know one who does weight training.

    I also thought those were fake boobies.

  7. Jane
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 08:45:33

    @Diane V – it was his excuses and his blaming Kylie that got me. It would be one thing if he said, I fucked up and I was hurt and I acted out and it was wrong. But instead it was all “If you hadn’t left me, I would never had gotten drunk and laid and then knocked up some chick.”

  8. Jane
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 08:45:56

    @Moth – That would have been a better storyline…

  9. Susan/DC
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 11:27:38

    If he was that drunk he shouldn't have been able to have sex (take it from someone who had four other roommates in college and dreaded when our boyfriends had drinking contests at happy hour on Fridays which meant none of us had sex on “Fuckless Fridays”.) Oh, not that they wouldn't try, but they were all pretty limp and useless.

    @DianeV — but don’t you know that’s how you can tell the hero from ordinary mortals: he’s the one who can get it up and keep it up no matter how much liquor/drugs he’s imbibed. Doesn’t matter that he’s treated the heroine like garbage or that he got some other girl preggers immediately, it’s his magic wand that defines him as heroic.

    And yes, I’m being sarcastic.

  10. Mischa
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 16:36:52

    I can’t speak to anything else but finding a 10 year old bat that still had legible writing from a permanent marker wouldn’t surprise me. I have tupperware that still has legible permanent marker writing after going thru the dishwasher for 12+ years.

    They changed the formula for permanent markers a while back supposedly to make them more environmentally friendly. As a result, the markers aren’t any where near permanent any more.

  11. Susan Vaughan
    Aug 19, 2009 @ 12:57:52

    The criticism of the deterioration of the baseball bat and T-shirtis flat-out wrong. The items were buried in a plastic bag, un-biodegradable, which would’ve preserved everything. If Jane had read the book as carefully as she claims, she’d have seen that in at least three places.
    I for one thought the book was riveting, with well drawn, sympathetic characters, and believable character arcs.

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