23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Penny Griffin, Intrigue Fan
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Two celebrated authors combine for two "editorially connected stories," as the ads say (because just saying "connected stories" would confuse people???) in "Night and Day." Anne Stuart offers the latest sequel in her classic Catspaw series, while Gayle Wilson brings her latest Man of Mystery. The result is a highly entertaining romp through a world of spine-tingling danger and romance.
There's some irony in the title. Although Stuart is known for her "dark" heroes, she's no stranger to more light-hearted capers, while Wilson's tales are unerringly dark and humorless. In this collection, Wilson's "Day" is substantially darker than Stuart's "Night," something that shouldn't surprise readers of their Harlequins. In Stuart's tale, cat burglar Michael Blackheart decides to make his final heist by stealing a priceless collection protected by the father he never knew. He doesn't expect to meet Isabel Linden, a woman he would risk everything for, or to find himself facing a deadly conspiracy. In "Day," Duncan Cullhane agrees to help Andrea Sorrensen recover the music box her grandmother lost in World War II. Duncan has always loved Andrea, his best friend's widow. Can he protect her when the search leads them to a deadly plot that threatens the world?
I must admit to dreading "Night," despite my love for "Catspaw" and "Catspaw II." The idea of Blackheart and his Francesca (Ferris to everyone else) being pushed into middle age to accommodate a new, younger generation held little appeal. I should have had more faith in the author. Stuart dodges the issue by producing an illegitimate son Blackheart never knew he had in Michael, who's been unwittingly following in his old man's footsteps. "Night" seems to take place in "real time," about thirteen years after "Catspaw II," appropriate since that book came out 13 years ago, keeping the couple from the earlier books in their prime of life. Ferris and the elder Blackheart are as delightful as ever, their chemistry is still potent on the few pages they appear, and I have to admit my favorite parts of the story were theirs. Some readers may have difficulty believing Michael and Isabel are able to fall in love for keeps in one night when they don't spend that much time together. However, the story is still loads of fun, packed with steamy romance, plenty of action and truly evil villains to keep you desperately turning the pages. This is one of the more purely "fun" stories Stuart has written, with one of her patented bad boy heroes. Readers will likely enjoy reading this short novella so much that any concerns about whether this love will last will pale compared to how entertaining the story is.
Fans of Ms. Wilson should find that "Day" delivers what they've come to expect from her. Strong romance, a somewhat slow start, and a stunning finale in a world made plausibly real. "Day" actually takes place over several days, allowing Wilson to develop more of a full love story than Stuart could. It's also interesting to note that "Day" has as much plot as most of Wilson's Intrigues, but the shorter length prevents her from dragging out her story (meaning the endless narration and introspection her characters usually indulge in has been cut), resulting in a faster, more relentless pace. The 140 or so pages will fly by. Her heroine is also wonderful, strong and couragous, though some may find her hero overly familiar. Wilson seems to enjoy maiming her heroes more than any villain does, and Duncan with his prosthetic hand is yet another of her blinded, scarred, and other physically battered heroes tormented by the past. However, this story also features one of her trademark explosive finales that will leave readers gasping for air and simply stunned in the end and the love story is genuinely moving.
Both stories are good. Together, they're great, complementing each other perfect in an ingenious and original plot unlike any you'll find in most romantic suspense novels. This is one of the fastest reads I've had this year. I finished it in one nonstop setting, unable to put either story down. It's a good thing there was that brief break between them so I could catch my breath. For once, Intrigue more than lives up to its name for "breathtaking romantic suspense." "Night and Day" is a treat not to be missed.