Monday, March 2, 2009

Open Season by Linda Howard

Re-reading Challenge: February 2009

(hosted by Nath of Books, Books And More Books – full details here)

Category: Contemporary – Romantic Suspense

Series: No

Be careful what you wish for…

On her thirty-fourth birthday, Daisy Minor decides to make over her entire life. The small-town librarian has had it with her boring clothes, her ordinary looks, and nearly a decade without so much as a date. It’s time to get a life – and a sex life. The perennial good girl, Daisy transforms herself into a party girl extraordinaire – dancing the night away at clubs, laughing and flirting with abandon – and she’s declared open season for manhunting. But her free-spirited fun turns to shattering danger when she witnesses something she shouldn’t – and becomes the target of a killer. Now, before she can meet the one man who can share her life, first she may need him to save it.

This story is just pure fun. Although it deals with grim issues such as human trafficking and murder, it is nevertheless a fast, enjoyable read. The suspense aspect is light; it is the humour and human relationship that take precedence here.

I read it many years ago (can’t remember when exactly) and it is my favourite Linda Howard book then and now.

Daisy, the dowdy, spinsterish town librarian decided enough was enough. On her thirty-fourth birthday, she was going to start over – new clothes, new hairstyle, new makeup, new attitude, date, have fun and move out of the house she was sharing with her mother and aunt.

On that very same day, the town’s new Chief of Police, Jack Russo, decided to pay a visit to the library – and so the fun started. Almost immediately, the confident, brusque and arrogant Jack antagonized the polite and accommodating Daisy. She wrote him off as “Damn Yankee”.

Since this is a romance, we all know that Jack was actually attracted to Daisy, don’t we? He was having fun provoking Daisy, which was his way of getting her to notice him. Then, after Daisy’s transformation, he simply couldn’t stay away from her. Of course, to Daisy, he was just an irritant, forever getting underfoot and botching her chances of meeting other men. Their verbal sparring and encounters are seriously funny – the one involving a pack of condoms and the town’s biggest gossip is unforgettable. Jack’s dogged pursuit of Daisy soon paid off and they became a couple. And what a couple they make! Fabulous chemistry, both in bed and out.

While Jack was busy pursuing Daisy, someone was hunting her down. Daisy witnessed a murder so she must be killed. However, Daisy wasn’t aware that she saw a murder and it was by chance that Jack found out someone wanted her dead. With all his alarm and protective instincts coming to the fore, the tenacious Jack stopped at nothing until he solved the mystery of the murder, and the baddies got their comeuppance, thereby ensuring the safety of his lady love.

There are many engaging secondary characters who help enliven this story – Daisy’s mother and aunt, the man who transforms Daisy from a dowdy spinster to a ravishing beauty (who keeps everybody guessing as to his sexual orientation), the gossipy town folks, and even the assassin (I like the twist to his story at the end) – everybody has a part to play in this fast-paced, humorous, and dare I say, feel-good, tale.

4.5 out of 5. This fantastic story is a keeper.


Brandy said...

I LOVE this book and it has a place on my Keeper shelves. I have a hard time choosing between this and Mr. Perfect as my favorites of hers. Now you've made me want to reread them! *G*

nath said...

LOL, you and Kristie definitively make me want to re-read this book!! It's been so long :D

Great review Jace!!

Jace said...

Brandy: Although I really liked Howard's grim suspense like DREAM MAN, it's her humorous stories that I enjoyed the most. What I love most about her stories are the alpha heroes. :D

Nath: Oh, it'd be nice if you re-read this for the challenge. :) Goes to show just how many OPEN SEASON fans there are, and this book is already 8 years old!

Anonymous said...

LOL. You know, Jace, between you and KristieJ, I seriously think about getting this one as soon as possible.

I'm really curious about the scene with the condoms and the town gossip now! *g*

Brandy said...

I prefer her humorous stories as well. I have Dream Man, Mr. Perfect, Open Season and the two Blair Mallory books on my keeper shelves. *G*

Seneca said...

I sure do need to read this one.
So many great books!

Kristie (J) said...

Hey *g* How about that - we both read the same book. Though I also read To Die For on top of it because it 'called' to me. I mentioned the drug store scene but another one that really tickled my funny bone in this book is when he is following her home from the bar and she pulls her car over because he's .........
I just think that whole scene is such a hoot.

Jace said...

Taja: In my opinion, this story is one of Howard's best. If you've never read any of hers, this is a great one to start. The heroine is a little goody-goody (she doesn't even curse), but the whole story itself is one great ride. As for the condoms and the town gossip, that's a memorable and really funny scene. :D

DREAM MAN is a very close second favourite. It's intense, gripping and features a great couple. Hey, I think I may have to re-read it soon! :)

Brandy: I've read MR PERFECT and the 2 BLAIR MALLORY books too. :D MR PERFECT isn't my favourite because the story is divided amongst the 4 friends so the main couple's story is somewhat "diluted". Also, I thought the suspense is a little unreal? I like the 2nd BLAIR MALLORY book more than the 1st. There's more romance and couple-time in that one. :)

Seneca: You're right - so many great books! :D And on the contrary, reading challenges like this aren't helping to bring down the TBR pile! LOL This is the 2nd month, and I've already added 2 more books onto the TBR based on what others had read. ;)

Kristie: Yes, I had to laugh when I saw what you read this month. LOL At first, I was going to read LOVER ETERNAL; then I would have read the same one as Taja! Either way, I'd have coincided with someone. LOL

I agree ... that scene where he is following her home from the bar is so darn funny and (whew!) so steamy. :D

Frances said...

Jace, What a great review. Now I've got to go back and reread OPEN SEASON. I am so glad that you reviewed it. It is one of my favorites. I have to say that the kitchen window scene in MR. PERFECT is unforgettable. Also the courthouse bathroom scene in AFTER THE NIGHT ranks right up there with the funniest that I have ever read. I would do almost anything to be able to write 'knock'em-off-their-seats' funny in the middst of suspense the way Howard does. She's a master.

Jill D. said...

Yes, this is definitely a keeper! I loved this book!

Jace said...

Frances: Thanks! :D She wrote some pretty great stories, didn't she? Now that you mention the kitchen scene in MR PERFECT and the courthouse bathroom scene in AFTER THE NIGHT, I remember them! :D Oh, I think I should re-read some of my favourites soon.

Jill: Another OPEN SEASON fan! :D

Jess said...

This was definitely my favorite Linda Howard book (so far). I loved the relationship between Daisy and Jack.

Jace said...

Hi Jess ... welcome to my blog. :) This book is so great and I wish Ms Howard would write another one like it. :)