Dell, $6.99, ISBN 0-440-23735-1
Romantic Suspense, 2004
Jill Gregory’s second romantic suspense novel, Night Thunder, is a typical middling story where the suspense is still on the transparent and contrived side and the characters are stock template characters I’ve come across too many times in contemporary romances.
Josy Warner is a hotshot fashion designer until she runs out of ideas and she can’t think of new ways to pass off an ugly tablecloth as avant garde fashion. Wow, that’s a great loss to humanity, I must say. Her friend Ricky, who happens to be an undercover cop involved in some ugly dealings on the job, sends her a mysterious package with orders for her to drop it off to some guy whom she later discovers to be murdered just before she gets to him. And then her house gets ransacked. Ricky tells her to just run for her life. Damn, with friends like Ricky…
Josy, like these heroines always do when their lives are in danger, runs to a place where she is absolutely certain that nobody will find her – to Thunder Creek, the hometown of her only living relative Ada. Bad guys who play with the cops will never ever think of checking her background information and look for her in Thunder Creek, so take that, bad guys! Since Thunder Creek is a small and homely town where the walking wounded find love and what-not from the people of the Creek, predictable “I Went to a Small Town, Slept with the Sheriff, Hey, Do You Like My T-Shirt?” drama ensues. The sheriff, Ty Barclay, is a template character: ex-lawman from the big city, previous love murdered by bad guys, suspicious of the pretty newcomer, yawn. There are the usual standard small town characters like warm old women, friendly young ladies, and budding Romeos.
The mystery subplot, more or less pushed aside by Josy’s family and love drama in Thunder Creek, eventually resurfaces. Here, Ms Gregory demonstrates her ability to tie everything up in one neat little resolution that has me going, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
There’s really nothing to say about this standard small town story. There is nothing too original in the author’s treatment of familiar stereotypes. The mystery is not good. The one good thing I can say about this book is that it’s very well-written and easily digested in one sitting, sort of like comfort food. There’s no need to rush out and get this book but I’m sure readers won’t regret reading it if they do. But they may not remember much about this book in a week’s time though.