Very often, romance writers spice up their "sizzlers" with a
sprinkle of suspense and a modicum of mystery. Barbara Delinsky set
out to accomplish this in 1988 when she wrote HEART OF THE NIGHT.
Her fans will be delighted to learn that this novel has been
reissued and is now available in hardcover.
Delinsky says, " … [In 1988] I was still writing category
romances … but this book is different." She loosened the
constraints of the genre to tell a deeper, more compelling and
"hotter" story. In her reader's note she says, "My writing style
has changed since I wrote this book, but the hearts and souls of my
characters have not. The emotional intensity here is the very same
that marks my current work".
Writers don't usually write the précis of their own books on
the dust jacket, but this author did just that. In doing this, she
tells readers how she feels about her main characters --- disc
jockey Jared Snow; twins Savannah and Susan; Megan and her husband
Will; and Sam the cop with the gold heart.
"His voice was heavenly. It flowed through her like a gentle wave,
warming and stroking her into serenity. When she was under its
spell, she had a friend, a lover in the night. With a low
half-moan, Savannah Smith closed her eyes [and] listened to his
slow tomcat drawl …"
[Susan] loved to "close her eyes and picture him there in the heart
of the night, talking to her. She loved listening to him … if
Jared Snow told her to jump off the [church steeple] she'd do it in
a minute. His voice was that seductive."
Megan Vandermeer told herself, "At least that still work[s]"
… each night he gentled her nerves, lulled her dispirited
soul and cradled her in the timbre of his voice. "He was so calm,
so smooth, so reassuring. He suggested the kind of deep inner peace
Megan had always searched for but never found. Why was [her] life
so difficult …"
Delinsky writers, "When I think of [this book] I think of one of
the characters … late- night disc jockey Jared Snow. For me
Jared Snow is [a] concept, the idea that a single voice on the
radio is heard by many different people, with a different effect on
each." His listeners feel safe fantasizing about the reclusive DJ
and each reader can let her/his imagination roam while they decide
exactly what his role, if any, is in the kidnapping.
Savannah, Susan and Megan met in high school. The twins were to the
manor born and Megan came to the academy as a scholarship student.
The three girls became good friends and remained so to the present
day. Savannah is the Assistant to the Attorney General in the state
of Rhode Island. Her fraternal twin, Susan, is a Newport society
matron with time on her hands and a drinking problem. Megan is the
wife of Will Vandermeer III, a businessman with a failing
When Megan is kidnapped, money and connections help push the
investigation into high gear. The only clue the investigators have
is a strangely worded ransom note: "NICE WIFE. KICK IN A COOL THREE
MILLION TO GET HER BACK. DO NOT CONTACT POLICE OR SHE DIES. WILL BE
IN TOUCH". The only words that strike a chord with the authorities
are the "kick in a cool three million"; they sound chillingly like
the "kick in" tag lines the disc jockeys use at Jared Snow's
HEART OF THE NIGHT is too predictable to work as a thriller and the
characters too conventional for them to spice it up to the level of
a steamy romance novel. The prose is too clumsy to add any
believability to the events and too many stereotypes fill the major
roles. Barbara Delinsky fans may have fun with this early work, but
if you are seeking a suspenseful thriller or a "hot" romance novel,
this tale does not work as either.
Reviewed by Barbara Gershenbaum on January 22, 2011
Heart of the Night