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Cover Of Night


Cover Of Night

When the small town of Trail Stop, Idaho, suddenly becomes hostage
to a group of outsiders with guns and thermal scopes, quiet
handyman Cal Harris sheds his overalls and retrieves his Force
Recon Marine training from the past to save the town and protect
the woman he has secretly loved for three years. By day, Cal
Hawkins is a blushing handyman. Under the cover of night, he is
MacGyver with a gun –-- "cross-trained" to shoot left-handed
and right-handed and solve any crisis.

Four-year old twin boys Tucker and Tanner are the loves of Cate
Nightengale's life. "Cate's heart ached with love, and a fierce
sense of protectiveness welled inside her." Suddenly widowed, Cate
settles into remote Trail Stop, Idaho, and buys a small bed and
breakfast. Nightengale's B&B is the social center of the rural
town at the end of a dead end road. Known for her vanilla scones
and hearty breakfasts, Cate's good food and public dining room
become her entrée into this small town community. Everyone in
town knows that Cal Hawkins is quietly lusting after Cate, but Cate
is mourning her late husband and only has eyes for her two
vivacious sons.

When Cate's guest, Jeffrey Layton, disappears via his bedroom
window from the B&B, Cate's curiosity is piqued. But when she
receives a suspicious phone call regarding his rental car, her
intuition tells her something is shady about him. Cate doesn't know
that Layton is being stalked by hired guns because he was greedy
and stupid enough to steal a flash drive of accounting records from
Salazar Bandini, a Chicago mobster, and then try to blackmail him.
Soon after, two burly but well-dressed men arrive out of nowhere to
rent rooms; before she knows it, they're holding her at gunpoint in
the kitchen demanding Mr. Layton's belongings.
Handyman-about-to-turn-hero Cal Harris stops by to pick up Cate's
mail and reads the fear on her face and doubles back to save the

It is under the cover of night that Cate finally notices Cal Harris
as a man who could be desired. When Cal trades in his "baggy
coveralls, stained with grease, paint, dirt, or whatever else he'd
been working with that particular day" for "khaki cargo pants and a
dark T-shirt that clung to wide shoulders and a lean, rock-hard
body," Cate's perception and world changes dramatically. "She'd had
him firmly fixed in her mind as a skinny shy handyman, backward but
useful." Cate and Cal join forces to try to get help for the
isolated town before the attackers come closer.

While previous Linda Howard books have been some of my favorites, I
had a hard time with her characters here. Sexy men wearing dirty
coveralls do not gain the attention of many women. No wonder Cate
didn't notice Cal for three years except for his fix-it skills
and patience with her adoring boys! Additionally, even a woman in
mourning knows when a man is interested in her --- mourning does
not equal blindness.

COVER OF NIGHT lacks the romance and sophistication of previous
Linda Howard suspense novels, but one of the traits of a good
writer is the ability to write stories that are unique and stretch
our imaginations in new directions. The book meaningfully conveys
that our lives can change forever in a moment as a result of events
and people we come in contact with. Lovers and friends die, crime
intrudes on our safety, new people come and go daily. It is up to
us to open our eyes and see them for who they really are and decide
whether to let them in or shut them out. When we let people in, we
take a chance on something greater, something unknown --- sometimes
we find a new love.


Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on December 28, 2010

Cover Of Night
by Linda Howard

  • Publication Date: June 27, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345486501
  • ISBN-13: 9780345486509