In her latest novel, Cover Of Night, Linda Howard takes us into the midst of a small town under siege. The unique cast of characters helps to heighten the suspense and the tension of this fantastic book. People never really know what theyíre capable of until they are tested, and the residents of this small town are about to be tested in ways theyíve never dreamed of.
Trail Stop, Idaho, is literally the end of the road. A remote community surrounded by majestic mountains and a raging river, the only way in or out of the town is over the bridge and down the twisting, turning, dangerous mountain road. There is no cell phone service, and the only television comes from a satellite system, - and that is spotty at best. The closest large grocery store is an hour away. The land is rugged, and the people are tough.
It is here that widow Cate Nightingale has settled with her twin four-year-old boys. Nightingale Bed and Breakfast is the only place to stay in Trail Stop. Her guests are primarily rock climbers who come to test themselves against the mountains, hunters, and the occasional person who just wants to enjoy nature. Business isnít booming, but itís enough for her to get by. To supplement her income, Cate opens her dining room to offer breakfast to local residents. Her good cooking attracts a crowd for every breakfast, enabling her to keep up with the repairs on her old Victorian home.
Calvin Harris is the local handyman, and Cate is very grateful that heís around. She has certainly needed his services a lot over the past three years since she moved to Trail Stop and started her business. This quiet, lanky man with his shaggy hair and baggy coveralls speaks to her only when he has to, but heís patient with her children and a wizard at fixing anything. Thatís good enough for Cate.
Cate has created a stable life for herself and her boys. Itís not easy being a single mom who runs her own business, but she manages just fine. Her life changes one day when a guest climbs out his bedroom window, drives off in his car and mysteriously disappears. At first she is baffled, then worried that he may have had a car accident of some kind. She calls the authorities, but they canít find either him or his vehicle. She has his credit card number, so he hasnít skipped out on his bill. After a few days, the only thing she can do is pack up his few belongings and store them in the attic.
Two strangers turn up a few days later, and Cate is suspicious of them. Her fears prove accurate when they demand the possessions of her missing guest - at gunpoint. Fearing for her childrenís safety, she cooperates with the gunmen. Shy Calvin Harris appears seemingly out of nowhere, rifle in hand, and gets rid of her unwanted guests. Cate gives them the suitcase that they came for, and Calvin sends them on their way. That should have been the end of it.
But these are dangerous men, and what they want isnít in the suitcase. The situation spirals out of control when the men return. This time there are more of them, and nothing will stop them from getting what they want. The only problem is that Cate has no idea what it is theyíre after. They cut off the town from their only escape route and place snipers in the hills, effectively holding all the citizens of Trail Stop hostage. Their biggest mistake is thinking that this will be easy.
The residents of this town are no pushovers. Theyíre angry, and most of them know how to use a rifle. They begin to get organized and fight back. Calvin is not what he seems and changes before Cateís very eyes. Beneath the baggy coveralls is a hard, muscular body. Beneath the shy exterior is a tough man with a will of steel.
Trapped by the gunmen, Cate and Calvin must make a dangerous trek into the mountains if they are to have a chance of saving the rest of the townsfolk. She begins to see Cal for who he really is, and she finds herself very attracted to the man she comes to know. But will Cate take the chance of risking her heart again? Will they even make it out of this deadly situation alive?
As always, Linda Howard takes her readers on a thrilling ride. A consummate storyteller, she has twists and turns aplenty, villains you can truly loathe, and a hero and heroine you canít help but cheer for. But more than that, she takes you inside the world of all these characters, letting you get a glimpse of their lives and watch them as their world spirals out of control. Packed with action, Cover Of Night will keep you turning pages until way into the wee hours of the night. Once you pick it up you wonít put it down.