Monday, September 7, 2009

REVIEW: Open Season by Linda Howard

Published in 2001

Open Season is one of the books I brought home from the library last week upon a recent recommendation from Nath at Books, Books and More Books and other romance reading friends, so I decided to give it a go.

Open Season is a stand alone contemporary romantic suspense novel.

Daisy Minor is the town librarian and lives a quiet, simple life. She's 34 years old and still rather inexperienced with men and hasn't had a date in years. Still living at home with her widowed mother and aunt, Daisy decides to put an end to her boring, lonely life and makes some changes in order to be more independent and accessible to single men. Essentially, she declares it open season for hunting for a husband. She finds a small cottage to rent across town and with the help of a seemingly gay antiques dealer and friend, Daisy gets a makeover including a new hair color and cut, a new wardrobe and a new passion for line dancing.

Before even having made these exciting changes, the local police chief, Jack Russo shows up at the library a couple of times for assistance and on both occasions, they frazzle each others nerves, yet there's a subtle attraction between them nonetheless.

After her makeover, Daisy sets out on the weekends for evenings of line dancing and meeting men. Heads are definitely turning her way now, and she is drawing the attention of all sorts of men at the bar, including those with nefarious plans. Trouble seems to follow Daisy, and she barely manages to sidestep being the victim in a seriously disturbing crime ring that's taking place within the community that deals with date rape drugs and the sale of young, foreign teenagers who are being sneaked into the country and sold to rich perverts and gangs.

As Daisy and Jack continue to bump heads, the sexual tension between them increases, and then when Daisy witnesses something that puts her life in danger, Jack realizes his interest in her is deeper than just a fling, and in fact, he's falling for her. Daisy doesn't think Jack is her type and accuses him regularly at foiling her plans for finding herself a husband, all the while she's falling for him as well. Daisy may have declared it open season for husband hunting, but it's quite clear she already caught the right one from their first encounter at the library. No one she meets is as exhilarating or as comfortable as Jack. No one makes her feel as safe and as cherished as Jack. Daisy may have declared it open season for husband hunting, but it's quite clear she's already caught the right one for her right from the beginning.

The romance between Daisy and Jack is fun and sweet. Although at first I found Daisy's inexperienced librarian character too cliche, I couldn't help be entertained by her honest, open and somewhat naive approach to the world as she explores her independence. She has such verve for life and her desire for a simple, happy life full of love and laughter. She effortlessly drove Jack crazy and I appreciated the ease at which he came to realize that she drove him crazy in a good way and that it made him crave her company even more. Why wouldn't he? She's kind hearted, honest, adorable and fun! There's never a dull moment with Daisy.

The suspense plot of Open Season is based on a serious and disturbing crime ring involving date rape drugs and the sale of young, illegal immigrant women that felt a bit incongruous with the fun, light hearted nature of the romance plot. I also felt I couldn't quite take the suspense element seriously enough because the men organizing the crimes seemed so stupid and careless. I suppose one could argue that that's why they got caught in the end, but I still thought they were too stupid to have even taken the crimes as far as they did in the first place. I think the novel would have been more cohesive and realistic if the crimes were simply less severe in nature for this fun loving romance between Daisy and Jack. Despite these issues, however, Open Season is well worth the read due to Daisy Minor's high spirited, warm character and the amusing, sweet romance between her and Jack.

Overall, Open Season is an entertaining romantic suspense novel--the romance being this story's strength with generous doses of humor and tenderness that leads to a delightful story book happily ever after.


  1. Loved the review Christine. :)

    Linda Howard is one of those authors that I wish I had started reading years ago. I have this and a bunch more of her books on my TBR pile and I have no idea when I'll get to them. LOL

  2. This is one of my favorite Howard books. The scene where Daisy buys the party pak and how she uses it bring forth the laughs and the fanning of one's self.

  3. Thanks for this thoughtful review! I haven't read ONE Linda Howard, and I know people love her! This one sounds good, esp because I love the librarian cliche. I don't know why, but I totally go for it. So even if she's too cliched for you, she may not be for me. The bumbling villains may be another story.

    Hope you had a fun labor day!

  4. I haven't read anything by Linda Howard. Then again I don't often read contemporary romantic suspense books! But this one sounds like it would be a good read. :)

    Your layout is cute :)

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Christine :) It's true that there's a bit of disconnection between the suspense and romance, but the romance was just so fun that it overshadows the suspense :)

    Anyway, just glad you enjoyed the book :) And you have a great review here!

  6. I'm glad you liked Open Season, I especially like Jack.

    No worries about the email... but like I said, I have all of Linda Howard's books, so you can come over any time :)

  7. Oh I'm so glad you liked it!

    I agree with you, so much, on the disconnect between the "happy, fun, light" side of the story--Daisy, pretty much--and the dark themes of the suspense side.

  8. Oh yay! I'm so glad you liked it. Reading your review makes me want to do a reread.

  9. Thanks for the review! I can't say that I've ever read a Linda Howard book but after you've described Daisy and Jack's relationship I really want to. *sigh* one more book to be checked out of the library! lol

  10. Thanks Leslie! You should definitely read a book or two by Linda Howard! This was my second by her, and I'd definitely read more.

    KB: Yes, the PartyPak was quite the cause of many laughs! The tailgating scene is my favorite, though.

    Carolyn: Don't get me wrong.. even though I thought Daisy's character was a bit excessively cliche in the beginning, once I got absorbed into the story, I didn't think twice about it.

    Hi Jess: Thanks for checking out my cute layout. ;)

    nath: You're right. The romance was fun enough to overshadow the flaws in the suspense. Daisy and Jack were so adorable.

    Mariana: Thanks for understanding about the email and for the offer to borrow your Linda Howard books! :)

    azteclady: I found the same disconnect between the "happy, fun, light" side of the story with the dark theme of the suspense in the other Linda Howard novel I read last year--MR. PERFECT, too. I'm wondering if that's a trend with this author.

    Shannon: Maybe rereading OPEN SEASON will help you out of your reading slump!

    Tracy: Go for it! I'd love to hear what you think of a Linda Howard novel! :)

  11. That was a lovely review Christine, thank you!

    I loved this book, mainly because I'm Daisy :) And the story just...flows so well. Out of interest, were you going to try any other Linda Howard books (Mackenzie's Mountain *hint hint*).

  12. BTW, I almost forgot to ask - how was it reading a large print book?

  13. This was a fun read! Glad you enjoyed it.

  14. orannia: I would definitely read another Linda Howard book and will put Mackenzie's Mountain on the Library Loot List! Or borrow it from Mariana. ;)

    The large print wasn't as bothersome as I thought it would be, but I still much prefer regular size print. But I'm sure some day, it may be the other way around! LOL!

    Sarah: Hi! I'm glad I enjoyed it too! LOL! :)

  15. I just read someone else's review of this, i really need to re-read this one. Thanks for the reminder :)

  16. YAH! I look forward to hearing what you think of Mackenzie's Mountain. I just loved it!

  17. Hi Kris! Maybe you read Nath's review? She read OPEN SEASON for her Re-Read challenge. It was her review that inspired me to read it. =)

    Orannia ~ My library doesn't have MACKENZIE'S MOUNTAIN, but I found a volume of the first two books that I can borrow from a neighboring library. I'll let you know when I get my hands on it. Thanks for the rec.

  18. Christine - I have all the Mackenzie books, and I even know where they are ;) You can give me a call and I'll hand them off no problem....

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  20. Great review.. Now I HAVE to read the book.. very intriguing ..
    Thanks :)


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