To Die For by Linda Howard is one of my favorite books of all time, and I have read many of her novels in the past, so when I happened upon Cover of Night as an audiobook, I was thrilled. The audio is done by both a male and a female narrator, so that was a unique experience, but for the remainder of this review, I’ll be discussing the story.
Kate Nightingale is the owner and operator of Nightingale’s Bed and Breakfast in Trail Stop, Idaho. She is the widowed mother of twin four-year-olds who left Seattle after her husband died of a staph infection from climbing. Kate and her husband were avid climbers, so Trail Stop seemed a natural spot to restart her life.
One morning, a guest at the Bed and Breakfast escapes out the window of his bedroom, never to be seen again. Kate is mystified, but thinks little of it until two men, both wielding guns, attack her and her friend Nina, a former nun. She gives the men the guest’s belongings, accidently omitting the man’s toiletry kit, while Cal Harris, the handyman, shows his prowess with a gun to get the men to leave the town. For Kate, this new side of Cal is both fascinating and disturbing, as she has always thought of him as a lowly, shy man, and now he is both quick-footed and clever.
The reader is given both sides of the conflict that comes to pass, with the perspective of the two men interspersed with that of Kate and Cal’s adventures. The men, dissatisfied with the contents of the strangers bag, decide to hold the entire town of Trail Stop hostage until they get the flash drive they are looking for. It turns out that both Cal and his friend Creed are former Marines and are more resourceful than anyone expected.
How the conflict is resolved is somewhat unexpected, and the relationship between Cal and Kate is charming, but the descriptions are far too drawn out, the pacing is off, and the resolution is unsatisfying. It’s a good adventure story, but the adventure took too long to begin. While some people in the town are killed, we don’t really care, as they are not given enough information to know anything about them. We also know more about the different flavors of Kate’s muffins than what the town looks like, so it’s hard to visualize the events that occur. As an audiobook, it left quite a bit to be desired, but I’m willing to attempt another Linda Howard book in the future.