Wednesday 20 March 2013

Open Season - Linda Howard

Title: Open Season
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published: 2001
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“Open Season” by Linda Hamilton is the type of novel that I would normally never read. However, as part of the 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge I needed to read a Romantic Suspense book. Therefore after several hours of scouring Goodreads and reviewing the local library stock I ended up deciding to read this book.

The plot follows a local librarian called Daisy who has an epiphany on her birthday and realises that she needs to make some drastic changes in her life in order to snare a man. Therefore with the help of her mother, aunt and a supposedly gay antiques dealer she slaps on the make-up, gets a haircut and changes her entire wardrobe. At the same time she meets the local police chief, Jack Russo who finds something attractive in Daisy even before her makeover. Unfortunately, Daisy can’t stand the man and isn’t afraid to let him know it. However, when she accidently witnesses a crime, she gets forced into spending even more time with him and a relationship begins to develop.

As I said above, I am not an expert in this type of novel but the entire plot seemed a little bit cliché. A woman having a makeover and then getting the guy really didn’t sound very original to be honest although maybe I am mistaken. However, this didn’t bother me that much because for me it was something different to the norm and therefore I just sat back and actually found myself enjoying it a little. It was a nice and light read that didn’t tax my mind and there was a good amount of humour present throughout. I even laughed out loud at one point during a sex scene involving a Party Pack that Daisy had picked up from a local pharmacist.

One of the biggest issues I had with the story was in regards to the lack of actual suspense. Howard’s decision to show the villain’s viewpoint throughout the novel meant that there were never any surprises and I never once did I feel that Daisy was actually in any danger as Jack had the threats identified very early on. To make it worse, towards the end one of the villains just hands himself in at the police station which ensures the police have to do pretty much no additional investigation work. As for the novel’s epilogue, the less said the better but I was left speechless by the ridiculousness and needlessness of it. Without doubt, this is a book that has been tailored to showing the development of a romantic relationship rather than providing a thrilling and suspenseful plot.

In regards to the characters in the story, I have to admit that I found Daisy to be rather irritating at times as she was quite a rude person. Jack Russo may have found her to be sassy, but to me she almost seemed downright bigoted at times, especially in regards to her feelings on him being a Yankee. In addition, when you look at society today I found it hard to accept how naive she was and couldn’t understand her outright desperation that she must have a husband. When I now consider how much of the book is dedicated to her relationship with Jack, I am shocked at times to realise that I did still enjoy the book. I think that some of my enjoyment sadistically enough came from the incredulous way in which I viewed Daisy and her antics.

Overall, this is a very quick and easy read that I did find reasonably enjoyable, mainly due to the lashings of humour that Linda Howard has seeded the book with. The mystery and suspense elements of the novel are rather weak so I think this would more likely appeal to people who are bigger fans of the romantic elements. Personally, reading this hasn’t ignited a burning desire to read more books in this genre but at least now I won’t just ignore them on principle if someone either suggest a novel to me or requests a review.

1 comment:

  1. If you really want to give romantic suspense another try, I suggest trying the non-Arthurian novels of Mary Stewart (old but still in print). MADAM WILL YOU TALK and THE IVY TREE are at the top of my list. Sadly, I don't think either is available as an ebook, but you can usually get cheap used book versions.