Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recent Read

Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Why this one: She is also Lisa Marie Rice and I love Lisa Marie's books. I'd read Pursuit before this one (I'd had it my TBR pile but wasn't aware until recently that she and LMR were one and the same) and I enjoyed it so I wanted to read this one.

Steam Level: Certainly worked for me! While not a steamy as her alter ego, still this one was nice and toasty.

Blurb: (slightly altered from Barnes and Noble)
Shadows at Midnight starts with a literal bang: gunfire and explosions outside an American embassy in a fictional West African country. Defense analyst Claire Day and Marine Daniel Weston are nearly killed when suspiciously well-armed rebels attack. A year later, Claire has emerged from a three-month coma with no clear memory of the bombing, only nightmares with a brown-haired man protecting her. When she sees Dan on TV, she flies to Washington, D.C., to see if he can help with her lost memory. Dan thought she died in the attack, and he's thrilled this fantastic woman is alive. But someone is out to silence any memories she may have of the bombing, and soon they're facing danger together again.

My Thoughts: Shadows at Midnight was a real page turner, or rather a real hit the little right side button as the case may be since I got this one as an eBook. I think this is the fastest I've clicked since I got my Kobo. I was late for work; I was late getting back from break; I was late getting back from lunch and the minute I left at the end of the day, I had to sit outside on the bench reading since I couldn't wait long enough to get home to read it.

First off, it has the kind of hero I adore, the heroes that are totally gone for the heroine. And this was certainly the case with Daniel Weston. He caught a glimpse of Claire Day when she was working in the embassy in Makongo, a fictional West African country where she worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and wheeled and dealed until he got himself assigned to the same location. He had yet to talk to her until one Thanksgiving when they were the only two people left at the embassy when it came under attack by rebel forces. Daniel is seriously injured and Claire is killed in a bombing - or so he believes until she shows up over a year later, not the same person at all that he remembered.

Daniel is so gone for Claire that he deeply mourned the whole time he thought she was dead, mourned to the point where he lost all interest in sex with anyone else. You just gotta love a hero like that! Due to his injuries, he's forced to resign from the army and has started his own successful private detective agency in Washington DC, but he still feels responsible for Claire's death.

Things haven't gone so well for Claire either. She was in a coma after the explosion and is unable to remember anything of what happened. On top of that she is suffering from PTSD and has become a real recluse without any kind of life to look forward to. When she watches a news story where Daniel has risked his own life to save a mother and her children and thinks she recognizes him, on the spur of the moment, she takes a big risk to go see him, hoping he might be able to fill in the blanks of missing memories.

As you can imagine, Daniel is delighted to see the Claire didn't die in the explosion and he is determined not to let her out of his sight. It soon becomes apparent that someone is after Claire and as they try and figure out who wants her dead and why, they grow closer and closer.

Daniel makes for a great hero. He feels unworthy of her for all kinds of reasons. He came from a nasty childhood, he figures she could never feel anything for a guy who is 'just a soldier' when she could get someone much better and he feels such regret that she was injured so badly on his watch. But this doesn't keep him from being so adorable protective. He truly respects her and at no time does he think he knows better than her. While he disagrees with some of the things she wants to do, he thinks things through and allows her to do things her way.

And Claire also makes for a great heroine. She starts out a real mess, she can't eat, she can't sleep, she's cut off from any real connection with anyone, but as time goes on and she and Daniel begin to figure things out, she grows and gains strength and slowly becomes the intelligent and determined person she used to be.

Together Claire and Daniel make a great team. They each have their own talents and each respect the others gifts. It would have been so easy for the author to make Daniel out as this big macho marine who knew better, but she didn't do that. As I said, I found myself racing through this book, wanting to find out what would happen next.

The only small, small thing that kept this from being a 5 out of 5 book was the slightly over the top villain.

I love her writing as Lisa Marie Rice and now I love her writing as Elizabeth Jennings. Good thing I have her new LMR book on the TBR pile - heh, heh, heh!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5


nath said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Kristie :D It was definitively a good read and I enjoyed the unusual setting. Claire and Daniel were a great couple indeed and poor Daniel, thinking that Claire was dead ^_^; I do agree with you, the villain was a bit over the top, but some of the action was as well...

LOL, seems like you're making good use of your e-reader!

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

Looks good!

Anonymous said...

I found "Pursuit" a much better book. This one, in the inner musings of the hero, had far too much reiteration about his obsession with her. In fact, there was too much repetition in the inner musings of nearly all the major characters, including the villain. Two-thirds of the way through the book, I wearied of being told for about the fiftieth time that the hero would never allow the heroine to be hurt again. Some elements of the plot, too, stretched suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, especially the wonderful coincidence of the hero's having buddies from the Marines in a number of jobs which allowed them to provide aid when needed, pick up and fly off at a moment's notice, and be on the ground to supply needed equipment.

Mary G said...

Hi Kristie
I enjoyed this book. Actually read it back to back with her LMR book Into the Crossfire. I thought I would OD on them but I enjoyed them both. What I loved about this one was that Dan may have had the muscle but Claire's computer know-how was just as instrumental. Brains are sexy on anyone.

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: I am enjoying my ereader. Spending too much still, but it's nice to have all those choices. And while some of this was over the top, I quite enjoyed it nevertheless *g*

Lisa: I was quite delighted to see this one was written by Lisa Marie Rice as I love her books. I am a bit puzzled though, that she has two different names while writing pretty much the same genre. I can see it if an author writes in two different genres, but these are both RS. Oh well, double the pleasure.

Anonymous: I can see why it might get tiring - all the times he thought about not letting the heroine get hurt. But I just put it down to the fact that he was just so darned glad to see she was alive after all after obsessing over her all the time he thought she was dead and just reminding himself again and again that he wouldn't let it happen again. And having so many fellow marines he could call on at a moments notice I put down to the fact that he'd been in the Marines for quite a while and built himself quite a network he could count on. I read Pursuit too and enjoyed it, but I liked this one just a tiny bit better :-)

Mary: I really liked that he respected her and stepped back when she was better at something than he was instead to taking over every time. And I found Claire stronger than some LMR books I've read so I liked that.

LVLM said...

I am a bit puzzled though, that she has two different names while writing pretty much the same genre. I can see it if an author writes in two different genres, but these are both RS

Her Elizabeth Jennings books are non erotic, while her Lisa Marie Rice books are erotic romance.

She started out as EJ but created a new name for her erotic line.

In fact, many of her erotic books are just extended and eroticized versions of her earlier EJ books.