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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Night Smoke

**** Night Smoke by Nora Roberts. Romantic suspense.

This is the fourth book in the Night series.

Ryan Piasecki is an arson investigator, and he meets Natalie Fletcher (sister of Boyd from Night Shift) when he's investigating a fire at her new business.

As with the rest of this series, it's a Silhouette-length romantic suspense. Probably would have fit better in the Intrigue line, if they'd had it back then, which I don't think they did. It wasn't a very tricky whodunit--I figured it out before the characters did--but it wasn't glaringly obvious, either.

I'll bet you can guess MY favorite scene.... yep, that's right: when Nemesis shows up. *sigh* Nemesis. Gotta love those superheroes. Unfortunately, it's the only Night Tales book besides Night Shadow that includes him.

I liked how hardworking Natalie is, and had to LOL when she beat Ry at one-on-one, though I raised my eyebrows a little at her playing in a sweater--I got hot just reading it, and not in the good way.

And I liked that Ryan, unlike other cop-types in other books, actually listened to his instincts and didn't keep doubting Natalie's innocence. It broke my heart when he realized he was in love with her and got scared. That whole scene where he invited her over to his apartment, seeing it through what he thought were her eyes, then being confused when she didn't react the way he expected... was just so sad. While they both screwed up there, I was more upset with Natalie, even though it was Ryan's preconceptions that started the whole thing, because she ran. And, well, I saw it through his POV, so I'm naturally more sympathetic to him because I knew how he was feeling. His following her EVERYWHERE was so desperate and endearing.

But what kept me from really loving this was the conflict between them. I almost wished Nora had gone with the cliche of Ryan suspecting Natalie. Instead, it was kind of a theme that runs through the book, about judging books by the cover. Ryan took one look at her and decided she was a rich snob, and assumed that she'd judge him by his appearance as well. Funny how every time he tries to pigeonhole her, she sidesteps it, but he kept trying anyway. At least, it's funny in retrospect. While reading, I got awfully tired of it.

And Natalie's response is to run away. I had SOME sympathy for her--after how close she thought they'd become, he's rubbing her face in their differing social/economic status and trying to push her away. She was hurt enough to be unable to see through it. I can understand all that. But the impulsive running made me mad at her. Probably because as a reader, I could see Ryan's motives, but also because it's not what I'd do. I fight, yell, argue, carry on, push, exaggerate, whatever it takes to hash things out until we get to the bottom of things. Ask Carl. (yes, he puts up with a lot. )

And I've really got to mention my quibble: Once again, Nora's shown that math, or real estate, or maybe both, is not her strong point. We have a 3-story warehouse that's 2000 sq. ft. Not gonna happen. We lived in a 3-story, 2000 sq. ft. townhouse in Heidelberg. It was very narrow. Definitely not suitable for a warehouse. Little bitty quibble, but things like that bug me.


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