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Silly Sexy Slightly Scary Story
Open Season
Linda Howard
When i run out of anything else to read, i read the romances my wife brings home.

So far, that includes two Linda Howards, this book and "Mr Perfect". I recall finding "Mr Perfect" enjoyable but a bit annoying, though the specifics are long gone from my menory.

"Open Season" mixes disparate elements as it tells a crossover mystery/romance story -- extremely disparate elements, as the story of small-town librarian Daisy Minor's midlife crisis and consequent pursuit of romance (which is mostly played broadly for humour) contrasts strongly with the second story element, the running (by a classic "above suspicion" type character) of an international white-slave ring in her small Alabama hometown.

The dark elements are not enough to drag the romance story down from its basic frothy aims, but certainly add an element of mild suspense. ((I mean, if we believed Linda Hamilton was going to beat the Terminator in the end, no matter how bad it looked, we have to have faith Daisy and her new beau can outsmart a bunch of crooks that only has about one competent member.))

Daisy's campaign to advertise her new lifestyle -- that is, available for romance -- is Very Funny Indeed, using as it does the way in which gossip and scandal flow in a small Southern town. (Having grown up in one such in South Carolina, i can attest to the feasibility of spreading rumours merely by buying the right -- or, possibly, "wrong" -- things in the right places...)

The romance is one of those "opposites attract, disdain-him-at- first" things, but not to extremes because there is too much going on for much of that to fit.

Daisy's visits to a local C&W bar/dance hall are almost too long and detailed, for that matter, but are important to the story and i wouldn't have missed the brawl -- and how it starts -- for the world.

The biggest surprise in the whole book are the last two pages, which contrast and complement the rest of the book.

((I must say, i am rather startled by the relatively-graphic sex scenes in some of today's romances; thirty-three years ago, when i was in the Navy, you had to go to sleezy little stores on side streets to find books with sexual sequences as graphic))