Night Shield
by Nora Roberts, contemporary (2000)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.50, ISBN 0-373-27097-6

Oh boy, this is another Nora Roberts slam. I'm sorry, I never wanted to do this. I mean, Night Shield isn't an Irish muzak or a tale of overpowered, overly wealthy people. It's suspense, and Nora Roberts does good suspense.

But Night Shield has this total lack of passion between the two main leads that it is hard to see their so-called love as nothing more than physical attraction. Add in the mix an annoying express switching of point of views (check out pages 2 and 3 - four point of view switches that are plain annoying) and I really grit my teeth to finish the story.

The story is one of the favorite of that wonderful factory of instant romances, the Protect Me, Stud! theme. Jonah Blackhawk is our unrealistically, underdeveloped "Tortured Male" hero who decides to repay his debt to the cop who saved him from the streets when he was a boy. To do so, he protects the cop's daughter when she goes undercover into his club. Together, they would smash a burglary ring in Jonah's club.

Thing is, this story takes the easy way out by plastering the Instant Characterization one can buy out of the hack store for - I don't know. It's a shame to see an author like Nora Roberts resorting to such boring characters, especially the heroine who is straight out of cookie-cutter hell.

Allison Fletcher is strong and independent. How do I know? She's a tomboy. She never tells anyone her problems or dangers or even her psychotic ex because she can handle it. (She can't - heroines can't handle problems on her own, it's the law.) She blames herself for sleeping with her ex, so she's also noble. (You don't want to know what I think.) Ultimately, she wants to save the world and has a miserable PMS of all PMSes while she's at it.

Jonah isn't too bad. Compared to Allison, he's a veritable Deep Hero. But he's also bland and his bad past never ring true. The whole relationship dynamic is a one-note see-saw ride from irritation-sex-irritation- Tada! He realizes he loves her but she is too involved in her PMS to notice-irritation-sex-bliss, the latter bliss is because the epilogue is nigh.

Therefore, Night Shield isn't exciting or even fun. Not to me anyway. Sincerely, I hope NS is only some sort of warming-up fluke for something really worth reading in the future.

Rating: 57

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