Friday, October 24, 2008

"Rising Moon" & "Hidden Moon", by Lori Handeland (PanMacMillan)

Buffy meets Mills & Boon?

Rising Moon and Hidden Moon are the latest titles in Lori Handeland's bestselling paranormal romance series. Both books feature a strong heroine, a tall dark and handsome stranger, and werewolves.

Rising Moon follows private eye Anne Lockhart to a jazz bar in New Orleans, on the trail of her missing sister. Handsome owner Jack Rodolfo is mysterious, blind and angst-ridden, and surely the attraction Anne feels for him is something more than natural. And then the bodies start to appear...

Hidden Moon's Claire Kennedy fled from her childhood home to escape her past. As mayor, she really shouldn't be falling for gypsy Malachi Cartwright, who rides into town with his strange carnival. But then a tourist is attacked by a wolf, and the only man who might have any answers is the last person Claire should trust.

Handeland's writing is evocative and atmospheric, particularly when it comes to recreating the smoky jazz club and carnival atmosphere of New Orleans. Both her heronies are strong and proactive, and her heroes sultry. She blends romance, suspense and the paranormal with ease and her love scenes are neither awkward nor stilted, some occasional clunky phraseology aside.

The two books share the same formula, and I'd be interested to see how Handeland deals with other supernatural creatures, but it's a formula that works well for her. The books are a little trashy, but well written. To be honest, the covers actually sell the books short: the tag lines "He awakens something wild in her..." and "He'll take her to the wild side..." just evoke trashy Mills & Boon novels, which Rising Moon and Hidden Moon are not. Handeland has more to offer than just soft-core porn/romance.

Less involved and literary than Anne Rice (though sharing the location of New Orleans), but also less trashy than some other supernatural-romance novels. Not bad. An entertaining, uncomplicated read.

For Fans Of: Anne Rice, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead
Reviewed by Emma Newrick

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