Sunday, August 20, 2017

REVIEW: Night Shield (book) by Nora Roberts

Night Shield is romantic suspense. I own a used copy.

Review:

Jonah Blackhawk is a former juvenile delinquent whose life got on the right track with the help of Boyd Fletcher, the man who eventually became Denver’s police commissioner. He loves Boyd like a father and feels like he owes him a debt he’ll never be able to repay, which is why he agrees to Boyd’s latest request: work with the investigating team looking into a string of robberies committed by people who seem to be using Jonah’s clubs to scope out their victims. Specifically, he’d like Jonah to allow the detective in charge to work undercover at his newest place.

What Boyd doesn’t immediately mention is that the detective in charge is Ally Fletcher, his daughter. There’s an immediate spark between the two of them, but Ally’s a professional and Jonah isn’t really a fan of cops (other than Boyd) and secretly feels that his past makes him unworthy of someone like Boyd’s daughter. Still, Ally’s undercover work puts her and Jonah in frequent contact, and it isn’t long before Jonah’s employees put two and two together and decide they must be dating.

Funny story: I bought this book thinking it was Night Shadow, the one with the hero who’s a superhero. I didn’t realize my mistake until much later, even after reading the description on the back. I still need to track that book down.

Every time I read a Nora Roberts book with a cop heroine I find myself looking for hints of her In Death series. I could see some of that here, in the way Jonah and Ally interacted, but there were a lot of differences too.

Ally had a good childhood and a huge and happy family. If she wasn’t wealthy she was at least really well off. As a result, although parts of the way she lived her life reminded me of Eve Dallas, she tended to be a lot better at self-care and letting Jonah help her. She also didn’t seem to have nearly as much of a chip on her shoulder where Jonah was concerned. Jonah, meanwhile, has a lot of Roarke’s confidence and arrogance, but also moments of insecurity. Whereas it was Roarke who primarily pursued Eve at first, here Jonah started things off but then Ally had to do more of the pursuing, because Jonah didn’t feel he should date or sleep with Boyd’s daughter.

Although I enjoyed the romance overall, things progressed a little quickly for my tastes. I snickered a bit when Jonah said he liked Ally for more than just her looks. He barely knew her! And I laughed when Jonah lamented that it was “over for him” - apparently just sleeping with Ally was enough to push Jonah past being attracted to Ally and straight to being head over heels in love with her. The bit where Jonah met Ally’s family was cute, though.

One thing that bothered me: both characters did things that might be considered sexual assault. The reader knew that both of them were saying “no” when they really wanted to say “yes,” but it wasn’t like the characters themselves were mind readers. Jonah kissed Ally right after she told him to back off. “He felt her body jerk against his. Protest or invitation, he didn’t care.” (74) Yeah, he should care. And later Ally came onto him strong and licked the side of his neck while he kept trying to turn her down. Both scenes were relatively mild - the second one, for sure, was probably supposed to be sexy, with the heroine taking charge - but I still found myself wishing they’d been written differently or removed.

The suspense aspect wasn’t very good, little more than a device to put Ally and Jonah in close contact long enough for them to fall in love.

All in all, this was okay. Not great, but not bad either. My favorite aspects were the way Ally’s family interacted and Boyd’s fatherly discussion with Jonah (so sweet!). Best line: "Don't grin at me when I'm having a paternal crisis." (170)

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