One Moment Past Midnight
by Emilie Richards, contemporary (1999)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-07949-4

Every month I will stop at the category aisle in the bookstore and admire the covers of the Silhouette Intimate Moments books. They're absolutely beautiful, most of them. This one truly caught my eye and I've bought it impulsively because of the cover. The cover simply sings Titanic, and I'm always susceptible to anything that reminds me of the movie.

Also the back blurb tells the story of Hannah Blackstone who has lost her daughter and has to turn to mysterious Quinn for help. No cop or sheriff or secret agent in sight! I could breathe easy.

I went home, took a closer look, and wanted to scream. There it was, hidden on the spine: Men In Blue: love in the line of duty. Damn, more cops, I thought sourly.

Hannah Blackmore is a woman - drum roll please - jaded with men because - Hawaiian Five-O theme please, tadadadada dum! - her ex is a drunken scum who made her feel that she's lousy in bed and is cruel to her. Then one day her daughter goes missing, and the detective-in-charge accuses her of murdering her daughter. She accidentally brains that fellow and like any right-thinking woman in category romances, flees. Now the law's after her, and what does she do? Refuses mysterious Quinn's aid.

Hannah is prone to dashing off blindly to look for the kids without taking stock of the situation. She only knows one thing: My ex takes my daughter! without any rational thinking or planning. She intends to trek across the states to hunt down this man without giving any thought to disguises or modes of transportation or even an alternative plan should dear ex be not the one who has kidnapped poor Jolie. Okay, so the woman has the right to be hysterical, I would be too in her shoes, but there's no excuse to be so blindly foolish, is there?

Quinn is a better hero, in the usual mysterious, dark, and very capable manner. I find it rather distressing though that he finds a foolish, shrieking woman like Hannah attractive, but hey, whatever rocks your boat, Quinn. He's a nice man with little inner demons to wallow in, a nice change from the dark tortured heroes I'm been reading. It would be nice if he has a sense of humor, but then again, this story doesn't warrant any humor. And Hannah... well, that woman is just too cranky and jaded and cold, even after regaining Jolie, to have a sense of humor. She's your typical category romance heroine, you know, the sort who has an abusive ex, thinks she's a clunker in bed until hero shows her otherwise, and absolutely trusts no human with a Wonky and even tries to teach prepubescent Jolie that a woman shouldn't rely on a man in life. Huh?

The story is good, mind you, and the pace is fast. But thanks to Hannah, the whole story has a TV Movie of The Week feel to it. I expect Kate Jackson with peroxide blonde hair will star in it. Nice, gentle Quinn... he can't save this book from Predictibilityville.

Oh, and the cover is a cheat. They never go on a ship or even stand against a railing overlooking a sea. Cheaters!

Rating: 62

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