Friday, September 14, 2007

Rising Moon by Lori Handeland

Category: Romance - Paranormal
Series: Yes - Book 6 of The Night Creature series

Over a city of wicked pleasures and dangerous passions…

Denizens of The Big Easy know its steamy nights can hide any number of sins and secrets. Private-eye Anne Lockhart is counting on it. Her life has been in a holding pattern ever since her sister Katie disappeared without a trace…but when a clue leads Anne to a jazz club in the French Quarter, everything changes. Rising Moon's proprietor, John Rodolfo, is mysterious in his own right, a gifted musician who reaches deep into Anne's soul and whose mere presence taps into desires she can't afford to indulge...

…there’s a bad moon on the rise.

By going undercover at the Rising Moon, Anne can get close to people who know what goes on after dark--people like John, whose nocturnal disappearances are more than a little suspicious. But unlocking John's secrets is harder than Anne had anticipated. What's far too easy is surrendering to him. And now someone--or something--is stalking the innocent and the guilty, and waiting for Anne's next move...

Book 6 of the Nightcreature series – one word – Wow!

Densely packed with action, suspense and mystery. Mood and atmosphere are dark, tension-filled and spooky. Central characters are vivid and well-fleshed out – their chemistry is incredible. First-person narration by Anne.

Anne, who thinks of herself as unattractive, hides behind baggy, practical clothes and adopts an even more practical and brisk attitude and manner. She is also a clever and observant girl who is a little too inquisitive for her own good – a trait that stands her in good stead as a private investigator. Her Achilles’ heel is her missing sister, whose disappearance she blames herself for. For three years, she searched for Katie, and finally, she got a lead that brings her to the French Quarter and John Rodolfo.

John – what a magnificent, magnetic and mysterious man, both in looks and character. His entire demeanour oozes sexiness but in an aloof way, and he does not allow anyone to get close to him. The moment Anne lays eyes on him, she is captivated. Oh, his seductive music helps too. Also, John’s blindness tugs at Anne’s heart and causes her to sink deeper into his spell – not that he encourages it – quite the contrary. But he can’t stay too far and too long from her either. They are drawn together by sheer chemistry and primal attraction. Anne feels liberated because John can’t see that she’s plain. John knows he shouldn’t give in to his feelings and desire for Anne, but he is powerless to fight them, which only makes him more tortured. And he does have very good reasons to be tortured.

There are plenty of mysterious and spine-chilling goings-on in and around Rising Moon, the jazz club that John owns, also where Anne stays. She waitresses at Rising Moon for money and room while she searches for Katie. She often sees and hears things in the dead of the night, when she is supposed to be the only one in that place. Very vivid and well described – I was quite spooked more than once.

This being New Orleans, voodoo certainly plays a major part in the story. Terminologies abound – voodoo and others – which are quite confusing at times, but they are explained time and again. Occult practices aren’t explicitly described, merely hinted at.

Sullivan, the police detective who helps Anne to locate her sister, who is also investigating the strange goings-on at Rising Moon, is one of the two strong secondary characters (the other being John’s employee and confidant, King). Sullivan is attracted to Anne, and wants to keep her safe away from Rising Moon and John. Something evil and chilling happens to him later (through no fault of his own) and I feel for this character a lot. Perhaps he will get a story of his own soon?

The ending, once again, is slightly flat. It is heart-tugging yet falls short. I guess it is difficult to have a spectacular ending when the whole story itself is so thrilling.

Despite reading this book out of order (again; this is my appalling tendency), the story is complete and stands on its own. Characters from earlier books appear toward the end of the story - who’s who and who does what are clarified, so their appearance do not jar the story.

This is a dark, atmospheric and gripping tale, peopled by vivid characters. The kind of story that I particularly like. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I suspect this book is going straight into my small re-read collection.

4.5 out of 5. I really like it. It's fantastic - a keeper. Sensuality: Warm +

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