The plot in NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK is intriguing. Cassandra
Westbrook, a rich, white woman, wins a set of Native American
ledger drawings in an auction. She is captivated by the drawings
and the man who sold them --- Thomas Warrior, a reclusive graphic
novelist who is a Lakota Native American. The two start a steamy
affair, but they come from opposite sides of the track and are wary
of each other. Complicating matters, Thomas starts mentoring Aaron,
Cassandra's nephew, who shows signs of artistic excellence but is a
social misfit. What the three don't realize is that one of the
characters in Thomas's novels, Victor a.k.a. Victory, has taken a
life of its own and is causing havoc behind the scenes. It is only
a matter of time before both the drawings and Aaron disappear. It
eventually becomes apparent to Cassandra, Thomas and their families
that Victor is somehow a real person who has kidnapped Aaron. But
how do you find a fictional character?
NIGHT FALLS LIKE SILK is part romance, part mystery and part
science-fiction, and Kathleen Eagle is nothing if not ambitious.
She does a good job of building suspense. Thomas and Cassandra
can't keep their hands off of each other, even after her house is
broken into and her nephew disappears, and they must balance their
feelings for each other with the crisis at hand. A less talented
writer would be bogged down by this plot, but this is definitely a
Eagle also does a good job portraying family dynamics. Cassandra
has a strained relationship with her sister, Darcy. The black sheep
of the family, Darcy means well but finds herself in one bad
relationship after another and is always asking for money. Thomas,
on the other hand, raised himself on the streets and was
unofficially adopted by Angela and Jesse when he was already a
teenager. Thomas initially looked up to Jesse, who is a cop, but
that was before he busted Thomas's older brother, Stony. Now,
Thomas feels betrayed. Whenever the families are in the same room
together with Thomas and/or Cassandra, the tension simply sizzles.
There are usually hidden and double meanings behind the characters'
actions, and Eagle happily explores them for the reader.
Unfortunately, the story quickly becomes conventional and falls
flat. Admittedly, this reviewer is not a big fan of romance, but
this story is much more complex than a boy-meets-girl tale. After
Aaron disappears, the two sisters become closer as does father and
son. Although the friendship between Aaron and Thomas is touching,
the scenes between Victor and Aaron seem contrived. Without giving
away the story, when the true identity of Victor is eventually
revealed, his demise will not come as a surprise to anyone.
Predictability is not a problem in light, airy novels (i.e. Chick
Lit), but this is clearly a serious tome.
Furthermore, the relationship between Thomas and Cassandra is
slightly stereotypical. For two people who are so different, they
hop into the sack just a little too quickly. Even before her nephew
disappears, Cassandra grows afraid of Thomas, who responds by
becoming angry and resentful. Cassandra even goes so far as to
describe Thomas as exotic. It's a little disappointing coming from
Eagle, a white author who is married to a Lakota man and should
Reviewed by Jane Van Ingen on January 22, 2011