Friday, October 29, 2010

Veil of Night by Linda Howard

Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job - usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, a diva whose tantrums are just about as crazy as her demands. But the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed.

The problem is, most everyone - from the cake maker and the florist to the wedding-gown retailer and the bridesmaids' dressmaker - had his or her own reason for wanting the bride dead, including Jaclyn. And while those who felt Carrie's wrath are now smiling at her demise, Jaclyn refuses to celebrate tragedy, especially since she finds herself in the shadow of suspicion.

Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there's too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie's death. Being a prime suspect means that Jaclyn is hands-off just when Eric would rather be hands-on. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer's vow.

I've been a long time Linda Howard fan and this book is definitely no exception. It's not very modern of me I'm sure, but her type of alpha male has just the right amount of 'gruff business' to really appeal to me, especially when combined with her outspoken heroines. 

Additionally Howard's book usually have a great mystery or suspense element that separates them from other romances. Here Eric is the detective, forced to consider Jaclyn as a suspect in a murder, all why trying to find the real perpetrator and a no-strings-attached cup of coffee (read the book, those scenes are hilarious). Eric and Jaclyn have great chemistry and the sparks (evident from the way they give in soon after they meet) continue throughout and it's even more believable to me that way Jaclyn is pissed off and resistant after realizing that Eric considers her a suspect.

In the end readers are left with a good HEA with a bit of an obvious ending, but a lot of the time I don't mind that. The book wasn't a no brainer, but Howard leaves helpful hints along the way and you can put them together pretty easily. What stands out for me is that I don't care or feel like the ending's been ruined; this is a romance and that relationship is still the core of the novel and I'm fully engaged in that the entire time. I highly recommend this to new or old readers of Howard's work, because it's a perfect example of what she does best.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None