Veil of Night by Linda Howard (Ballantine, 2010, 340pp.)
When Southern bridezilla Carrie Edwards is found stabbed to death with barbecue skewers only days before her wedding day, wedding and events planner Jaclyn Wilde finds herself the primary suspect. What’s worse, the killer seems to think of Jaclyn as a witness to the murder, and is trying to do her in as well. Now only Detective Eric Wilder, her recent one-night stand, can help her, but she seems more interested in getting away from him than surviving the killer’s next strike. Entrenched in sexual tension, this romantic suspense offering turns out to be more romantic than suspenseful. Any elements of suspense are generally restricted to the question of “Is this it? Are they finally going to have sex?” Howard is so intent on describing her the carnal desires of her two protagonists that she just plumb forgets to give the killer a motive. And while the novel is close to being a total disaster, it does have its few saving graces. Humorous moments are sprinkled throughout, with references to college football that only a Southerner could appreciate (two of Jaclyn’s clients request that she plan their wedding with the theme of the University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot, Uga, in mind). So if you care more about the fulfillment of romance than a good, solid mystery, then Veil of Night is definitely for you. If not, then you’ll do best to skip it.
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