Friday, June 15, 2012

Romance in the Stacks: Open Season by Linda Howard

Open Season by Linda Howard
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Daisy Minor is a small town librarian in Alabama, who initially seems very librarian-like.  She's in her 30s and still lives with her mom and aunt.  She hasn't been on date in years and dresses very frumpy.  Basically, she's a pair of glasses and a cat away from a perfect stereotype.  However, on her 34th birthday, she has an awakening.  She wants a husband and family.  So she gets a makeover from Todd Lawrence, a gay antiques dealer in town who once worked on Broadway.  Now blonde and fabulous, she decides to frequent nearby bars to meet men.  Unfortunately, she seems to keep running into brawny cop Jack Russo at every turn, making people think they are couple.  However, when she unknowingly witnesses something sketchy at a night club one evening, Daisy just might need Jack's help.

Praise:  This book has a definite sense of humor about it, even though the actual mystery is quite dark.  The characters are unique and quirky, not the standard romance archetypes.  Daisy is humorously naive, yet super competent and intelligent.  Jack Russo is sharp-witted and not afraid to swear (every other word or so).  But he's also good at his job and tough as nails.  Some of the interactions between Jack and Daisy are laugh out loud funny.  It definitely has more of a screwball romance vibe to it.  Howard also does a good job at portraying small town life and gossip in a lighthearted way.

Quibbles: Okay, this really isn't Linda Howard's fault or anything, but I kept on picturing Jack Russo as Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.  Both worked as police officers in New York and Chicago, and have greying hair.  The similarities are eerie!  No offense to McCarthy, but I wouldn't exactly describe him as dreamy.  Thank goodness Jack doesn't have a mustache!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  The murder mystery isn't really that much of mystery, but it kept me on edge of my seat as to how it was going to play out.  I would highly recommend the book to fans of Janet Evanovich or Meg Cabot's Heather Wells mysteries.