Pros: The romance works much better than in the last Joyce Lamb book I read
Cons: One character who seems like a deus ex machina and partial stereotype
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group.
Charlie Trudeau is a newspaper reporter who longs for the good ol’ days when advertiser revenue didn’t dictate story content. She wants to expose some of the steamier goings-on in her small town, but her father, who runs the paper, won’t allow her to do so. Her life isn’t what she’d hoped—it’s dull, ordinary, and frustrating. Until, that is, she witnesses a fatal hit-and-run. Her ringside seat at the victim’s death sets off an unlikely series of events. It sparks an unusual ability in Charlie, who starts having visions after people touch her in which she relives their memories. It inspires her to take an action that she won’t be able to undo—and might regret for a long time to come. And it brings a detective named Noah, a friend of the victim, to her doorstep.
Noah just wants to find out who killed his friend, and why. But Charlie is his only lead—she doesn’t trust him, and he can’t help noticing that she’s acting strangely. The more they uncover, however, the closer they become, and the more danger they find themselves in. Other people’s lives are placed in danger. Charlie’s new ability takes its toll. And a murderer is closing in…
Joyce Lamb’s Cold Midnight had a great mystery at its heart, but the romance didn’t click for me. Thankfully, I didn’t have that problem with True Vision, the first of a trilogy dealing with Charlie and her family members.
Noah and Charlie definitely have chemistry; I enjoyed their interactions and found them quite believable. Both characters are fun and have depth and interest, and many of the side characters add to the story nicely as well. The mystery is fascinating, and continued to deliver surprises until late into the game. It wasn’t the most shocking mystery ever, but that’s hard enough to achieve that I hardly expect it out of every mystery novel.
I only really had two negatives in this book. There’s a development in Charlie’s career later in the book that was difficult to believe in; it just seemed too good to be true. Also, a figure shows up to act as the convenient guide for Charlie’s exploration of her new paranormal powers. As much as Ms. Lamb tries to subvert one stereotype for this figure, she ended up blundering into another, slightly less-used stereotype instead. The woman’s presence also seemed like a mild deus ex machina—I don’t think it would have hurt the story to have had Charlie face more of her problems on her own or only with Noah’s help. Especially since there was reason for Noah to have some knowledge of paranormal activities prior to interacting with Charlie.
In all, this was definitely an enjoyable mystery/romance. Not the best of the best, but solidly good and enjoyable.