I'll have to admit I didn't ask to review this book since I wasn't in the mood for romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Add to that a former racecar driver as hero, and it really didn't seem to match my interests. Fortunately, my editor encouraged me to review it. And guess what? I loved this book! Wicked Is the Night is not only my favorite romantic suspense novels of 2008, it's one of my favorites of the past few years.
Trick Granger suffered serious career-ending injuries in a racing accident that left him with a patch over one eye and a limp. Add in the ghost haunting the mansion and former bordello he recently inherited and the result is Trick drinking a bit too much. One night, he and a friend see a woman jump out of a truck in front of them, and stop to help her. The woman, Nevada White, reports that the truck driver tried to put the moves on her, and asks if they'll take her as far as the next truck stop.
Trick and his friend decide to have a few words with the driver, but are shocked to discover that he's been murdered and it doesn't look as if a human killed him. At the same time, Nevada spots some dangerous men and hides in Trick's car. The former racecar driver isn't sure exactly what to do about Nevada, but he offers her a job cleaning his dilapidated mansion.
Nevada has a number of problems and takes Trick up on his offer. She just escaped from a mysterious institution where doctors experimented on her, wiping her pre-institution memory clean. She also has uncontrollable psychic flashes in which she sees people's memories. Not only is she being followed, people who know her are killed, their throats torn out and their blood drained.
This isn't an alternate world - it's today and people don't believe in vampires. However, Nevada and Trick gradually become convinced that those creatures may, indeed, be involved in their problems.
There's a lot going on in this book, and I enjoyed it all, from the mysteries of the mansion to that of Nevada's past. Most importantly, I enjoyed Nevada and Trick. Although there was an immediate sexual attraction between the two, their relationship developed slowly, with no jumping into bed within days or hours of meeting.
Trick and Nevada are well-developed characters with interesting quirks and are surrounded by some interesting secondary characters. They are ordinary people (well, except for those psychic flashes) placed in dangerous situations. Instead of superpowers or an arsenal of weapons, they use their ingenuity when cornered.
While the murders sound gruesome, they occur off-page so we don't see them as they happen, nor are we treated to many grim details. While there are scenes told from the villain's point of view, they're not icky and are relatively brief.
As a side note, I cringed when I saw the cover for this book. Fortunately, I read an ARC with a plain white cover. I'm afraid I might never have picked it up in a bookstore if I'd seen the cover, which would have been a true shame. If you enjoy romantic suspense with a bit of a paranormal twist, I can heartily recommend Wicked Is the Night.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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