by Norah-Jean Perkin, paranormal (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52473-2
Do you believe that the Northern Lights can drive people crazy? Do you want a tale of time travel and the paranormal mixed with murder in one intriguing blend? Well, if you can get past page 150 of Night Secrets without wanting to really bitchsmack that REALLY STUPID heroine black and blue, you are a much more worthy human being than I am.
Jack Wilder is a man with many secrets. Valerie Scott, a city gal schoolteacher, is visiting this idyllic Lake Aurora rustic countryside (that's in Ontario) - faithfully shedding tears each time she recalls her late uncle at regular interval throughout this story - when she stumbles upon a naked and unconscious man all washed up from the lake. She drags him back to the lodge she has inherited from her uncle, where she learns that he is now her co-owner of the lodge. Her uncle has made it such that neither can sell the lodge without coughing up around $900,000 to the other, so now they are stuck.
Then the cracks start to show in this lovely picture. A woman recognizes Jack as the dead ringer of a guy wanted for murder in the 1920s. And a wanted man for murder, also named Jack, is missing and probably roaming around the countryside. Who is Jack? What is going on here?
Not that Valerie cares. Not once does she even wonder what Jack is doing naked and unconscious that night, and not once does she find it weird that the guy in the 1920s has the same name, face, job - everything - as this Jack. Her reaction is to go all "Hee, hee! What funny coincidences!" And when there's a Jack that's been missing and wanted for murder and gee, didn't she meet a man full of secrets also named Jack lately? Valerie just sighs at the TV report and tell Jack how sad the world has become.
When she sees Jack all acting funny like locking himself up in his room and doing strange things, no doubt, inside, she doesn't even wonder. It is not good to pry or intrude on one's privacy, you know.
And so she goes. Maybe I should cut Norah-Jean Perkin some slack, as this is her debut, but seriously, if you want to keep a woman in the dark because you think that's what the plot needs, don't make that woman three-quarter braindead in the process. It is all I can do to finish this story without chomping away at this book with my fangs. It's not a bad story, to be honest, but the really stupid heroine must just die die DIE.
Ooh, my poor blood pressure.
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