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Open Season    by Linda Howard order for
Open Season
by Linda Howard
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Small town librarian Daisy Minor wakes up on the morning of 34th birthday and experiences a revelation - she's boring, with a capital 'B'. The way she looks, styles her hair and dresses epitomizes the old cliché of the 'homely librarian well on her way to inevitable spinsterhood'. Determined not to go to her grave as a cliché, Daisy decides it's high time that she got herself a life. Her enthusiasm is embraced by her devoted mother and aunt, who advise Daisy her new purpose will be achieved more expediently if she goes to an expert for a total make-over. They also advise her to finally move into a place of her own because, really, how many men are going to come courting once they realize that Daisy still lives at home with her mother??

Daisy is soon sporting a new wardrobe and a new hairstyle. She moves into a new home, (albeit a real fixer-upper), and gains a new attitude about herself. To complete her transformation, she chooses various ways to show everyone in town that she's shed her good girl image: she buys a party pack of condoms at the local drug store, goes dancing at honky-tonks every night, and takes on the role of flirt. Her efforts result in unanticipated, and usually funny consequences, and more than once she finds herself rescued by local Police Chief, Jack Russo. From the moment they meet theirs is a confrontational, and very often, humorous relationship. Some of the quips and come-backs that spill from Daisy's mouth are laugh-out-loud hilarious, often at the expense of the sheriff. He takes it all in stride, soon discovering that he enjoys sparring with her, and he realizes that Daisy Minor is his perfect match - not that he's been going out of his way looking for a wife! Little do either of them realize that their budding relationship will take a dangerous detour. The night spots that Daisy has been frequenting looking for 'husband material', are also the haunts of various unsavoury predators who drug and kidnap women.

Despite the fact that she modeled Daisy after a well-worn stereotype, the spinster librarian, veteran author Linda Howard infuses her character with just enough quirkiness (and also deftly balances her naiveté and her savvy about life) to make Daisy Minor thoroughly delightful. Jack Russo is also very likeable as he finds himself continually saving Daisy from herself - and from the kidnapping ring who want Daisy dead for seeing too much one night. Linda Howard has numerous romantic suspense novels to her credit and is known for her darker, involved plotting. In this novel, she keeps the overall tone much more light-hearted. Fans of her work will truly enjoy her latest offering, and readers new to Linda Howard should check out Open Season - they won't be disappointed.

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