Linda Howard – “Open Season”

22 Mar

GENRE: Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHED: Pocket Books, 2002 (2001)

WHY THIS NOVEL: I bought Open Season because of Kristie(J)’s and Jace’s review for Nath’s Re-Read Challenge in February. It promised a fun read.

The back blurb:
“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.”

I read three novels by Howard prior to Open Season. I liked Son of the Morning quite a lot but overall, all three novels were missing the special something that compels me to go and buy other novels by an author. Open Season promised to be slightly different – more funny – so I thought it a good choice to see if I would fall in love with Howard this time.

Open Season has quite a few funny scenes, the one in the drugstore comes to mind, but it’s not as laugh-out-loud fun as, say, Sandra Hill’s The Love Potion. Open Season is more sedate compared to that. It has solid story telling and is competently written. After I got over the beginning where Daisy, for example, complains about her un-hip clothes (yet actually has the money to change that) and confirms the stereotypical librarian image in romance novels (Howard acknowledges it by calling Daisy a stereotypical librarian!), I settled in for a nice and enjoyable read.

The mystery develops slowly and quite some time is spend with Jack and Daisy not knowing that something is wrong. It’s more by accident that they – well Daisy as a librarian at least – find themselves in the midst of a big crime. I also really appreciated the fact that it’s not one of the mysteries where everything that can go wrong goes wrong for the good guys. For example, I half-expected one of the characters to die because she tried to help and got in the way of the villains but she didn’t. I thought it a welcome and refreshing change.

My favorite part of the novel is the hero, who accidentally bungles all Daisy’s attempts to tell the world that she’s available for a relationship while at the same time falling for her without realizing it at first. It was fun to read about those two together and I spent a few enjoyable hours on the sofa with Open Season.

And while Daisy may start off as one of those stereotypical librarians, she thankfully doesn’t turn into one of those stereotypical females who get themselves into danger because they just know they can help the police by staying where the action is instead of staying out of danger. She even delivers a (quite tongue-in-cheek) comment on TSTL characters:

“Have I ever given you any reason to think I’m stupid?” she demanded angrily. “I’m safe here; why would I leave? That’s what always happens in movies; either the woman or the kid disobeys instructions and does exactly what they’ve been told not to do, thereby putting themselves and everyone else in danger. I’ve always thought that if they were that stupid, then let them die before they have a chance to breed. My goodness, you’d think I make a habit of–” (311)

Verdict: Open Season is not the book that makes me seek out other Howard novels either. There’s nothing bad or irritating but there’s also nothing that struck me as special or spectacular. Open Season is a good and entertaining read (4/5).


7 Responses to “Linda Howard – “Open Season””

  1. Jace Monday, March 23, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    Oh, merde. You didn’t enjoy this as much as I hoped you would. 😦 Now I feel so guilty. To think this is my favourite Linda Howard book too.

  2. Taja Monday, March 23, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Jace, there’s nothing merde and nothing to feel guilty about! I liked Open Season and I don’t regret reading it. I’m also sure I have favorite books you don’t see quite the same way as I. Judith Ivory’s Black Silk comes to mind. 😀

    I think Open Season makes for a good re-read. It’s just missing the little something that let’s me connect fully (fall in love) with a story altough I actually have no idea what this little something is exactly here. I liked the characters, and I thought the story well plotted and well written.

  3. Christine Monday, March 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    OH, Yay! Thanks for this review. I was curious about your opinion. I think I would definitely read this one. It sounds really fun… I bet my library has it. And what do you know? I’m going there today! 🙂

  4. Jace Monday, March 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Taja, I merely feel guilty because you HAD to buy the book and it didn’t turn out to be special. Oh well, you’re right – whatever floats your boat and all that. 🙂

    What do you know? I love Judith Ivory! I’ve read BLACK SILK twice. 😀 First time, I detested the hero. Second time, I appreciated his characterization more, so I liked it. I’m sure I’ll like it even more if I read it the third time. 🙂

    Christine, I’m glad you can get this book from the library. I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

  5. Taja Monday, March 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Christine – oh, good to know my review convinced you to try it. I was a bit afraid that the review sounded like I didn’t really enjoy it even though I liked it.

    I hope the library has it and I hope you’ll like it as well.

    Jace – that’s also nothing to feel guilty about. *g* I would have bought Open Season sooner or later anyway and I don’t regret buying it.

    I know you like Judith Ivory (your first comment on my blog, I looked this morning) but you said Black Silk wasn’t your favorite novel by her so I picked that one. And now I learn you’ve read it twice and I’m too chicken to read it a second time! Black Silk is the behemoth among my favorite novels – I’m too afraid to go back and see if it’s really all that I thought when I first read it. LOL

  6. Jace Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    I think BLACK SILK is one of those stories that people either like or don’t like. The hero is almost an anti-hero, and not a clear cut good or bad guy. What I love about him is his characterization – it’s true to what he is. He’s a rake and a reprobate, yet, the more I read about him, the more I like his honest portrayal. Ivory didn’t turn him into a “soft” man in the end, and I appreciated that very much too. He brings out a different (and hidden) side of the heroine, and I think their HEA is full of adventure. 🙂

    I’ve read all my Ivory books at least twice each, and I think I’d like to read BLACK SILK again. 😉 And I understand your reluctance to re-read it for fear of liking it less this time around. However, I think, if you loved it so much the first time, you’ll appreciate it EVEN MORE the next time. The story grows on one. 🙂

    You know, my Ivory books, together with Juliana Garnett’s, are my treasures. They’re all yellowed with age, and smell a bit musty, but I love them. I really wish that they will get reprinted so that I can get new copies.

  7. Taja Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    Jace, yes that’s probably true. You either like Black Silk or you don’t. I really appreciated the hero’s characterization and thought it refreshing. As you said, it’s honest. For me, it isn’t a question of liking/loving him although I like what he does for the heroine. Well, what they do for each other. 🙂

    I try to work up my nerve to read it for Nath’s Re-Read Challenge. At the moment, I’m probably more daunted by the task of writing about it than by the possibility of finding out that I don’t think it all that good the second time. LOL

    Oh, there’s Juliana Garnett again! 😉

    I have a couple of those “yellowed with age and smelling a bit musty” books which I love dearly, too. I would love new copies for them. This oop business sucks!

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