Dear Ms. Howard:
I am a big fan girl and while I haven’t loved your last few books (okay since Open Season), I still look forward to your new ones. While Up Close and Dangerous isn’t going to sit on my keeper shelf with Dream Man or After the Night or the Kell Sabin series, it still was a good read and more romantic than your previous three.
Widow Bailey Wingate is going on vacation, a much needed one. She’s currently the trustee of her two spoiled stepchildren’s trust funds and these two adult children, Seth and Tamzin, make her life hell. She decides to go on a river rafting excursion with her family and takes a corporate jet from J&L Executive Air Limo to get there. Cam Justice (the J in the J&L) has to step in to fly her when his partner becomes violently ill. Cam dislikes Bailey for being cold and stuckup every time J&L has flown her and Bailey dislikes Cam for acting like a superior ass. While flying over the mountains in Idaho, the plane runs out of fuel and Cam must make a crash landing. Bailey and Cam must use every ounce of common sense and survival skill in order to make it off the mountain alive. In making this four day journey, Bailey and Cam not only learn to rely on each other but fall in love.
While I enjoyed the story, the fact is that this story requires an excessive amount of suspension of disbelief. I had a hard time buying into the idea that Cam and Bailey went from barely knowing each other (and being disdainful of each other) to in love in a short time given their condition. I also had a hard time believing that Cam and Bailey would have enough energy to make a trek off the mountain, injured, weak, and hungry but still have the energy to have bouts of sex.
Each survival technique was chronicled so carefully that I almost thought it read like a guide to wilderness survival. Despite the methodical detailing of the characters’ mountain endurance, I found the scenes to be interesting and Bailey and Cam to be entertaining and likeable individuals. There was a lot of vintage Howard in the book: the practical and capable heroine; the dry humor; the sexy alpha male. There was instantaneous lust, but it was played off in a funny manner which made it more palatable.
The noticeable element missing was the signature scene or lack of heat that was present in my favorite books. The sex scenes seemed methodical like the survival guides. If a reader is looking for a taut suspense or thriller, this probably isn’t for them. But if Linda Howard is their thing, then this will be a good read. B-