Auntee's Reviews > Shadows at Midnight

Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings
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's review
Feb 27, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: lisa-marie-rice, romantic-suspense, 2010_reads
Recommended for: Fans of romantic suspense
Read from August 05 to 06, 2010

Good book. A little heavier on the suspense than the romance, but it was so well written and fully developed, that it worked for me. I enjoyed and respected both the hero and heroine, and was really invested in their relationship and their HEA.

This book had some uncanny similarities to the author's most recent work as Lisa Marie Rice, Into the Crossfire, so I'd advise against reading these books back-to-back. The heroines in both books are beautiful, smart, have sickly fathers, no mothers, and work as translators, although in this book the heroine Claire starts out working as a defense intelligence analyst for the U.S. government. The heroes in each book have had rough childhoods, are former military (and each has suffered a punctured ear drum!) and now have their own security companies. Both the heroes are described as built, ripped, buff, etc. (but not handsome), furry chested, and the author's fascination with the details of the hero's hands continues in this book. And of course, as in all Lisa Marie Rice's books, the hero is gaga for the heroine, almost to the point of obsession.

*********possible spoilers**************

The plot is...Claire is working as a defense intelligence agent for the C.I.A. in the U.S. Embassy in West Africa. She's 28, pretty, doesn't really date (her work comes first), and is trying to establish herself in her male-dominated profession. Unknown to her, she has caught the eye of Marine Gunnery Sergeant Dan Weston, early 30s, who was stationed at another embassy where Claire worked previous to the West African one. Dan is so taken with Claire that he makes sure his next assignment is at the same embassy where Claire now works. It's Thanksgiving day, and Claire and Dan are the only ones left at the Embassy. There's trouble brewing outside, as hundreds of rebel soldiers have taken to the streets, firing their weapons. Dan hustles Claire to a safe room in the Embassy, as they decide to wait it out. They talk a bit and share a hot kiss, but are interrupted by Claire's good friend Marie, who insists Claire come with her for a minute so she can tell her something important. Dan eventually goes to look for Claire when she doesn't come back, following her outside of the Embassy and into the gunfire. Then there's an explosion--the Embassy has been bombed. Dan is seriously injured and assumes that Claire is dead.

Fast forward one year later. Claire is at home in Florida, a shell of the confident woman that she used to be. She's very frail physically, having been in a coma for three months and then in rehab for months due to her injuries in the bombing, has amnesia about what happened in the days leading up to the bombing, and is suffering from post traumatic stress. She suffers from horrible nightmares, has panic attacks, and hardly eats. She no longer works for the government, and now has a translating business she can do from the safety of her home. But she's tired of living in fear and wants to get her life back. By a stroke of luck, she has her TV on when a news story comes on about a man who made a heroic rescue of a mother and her children while entering a burning building in D.C. The man is none other than Dan Weston, now head of Weston Security, and doesn't he seem familiar to Claire? She looks up some records and discovers that Dan was part of the Marine security staff at the Embassy at the time of the bombing! Maybe Dan is the key and can help her fill in the blank spots in her memory--what happened that day of the bombing that her best friend Marie was killed?

A shaky Claire heads to D.C. to meet with Dan, who is stunned to see that she's alive, and just as beautiful as he remembered her. But Claire doesn't really remember him (or their kiss). Dan is determined to do all he can for the woman who has haunted his dreams, and wants to help her remember the days that are a blur. They go to dinner, and Claire realizes that she's attracted to this big, tough man, so unlike anyone she's ever dated. He's so capable, macho yet gentle with her, and makes her feel safe and protected. But when they head back to Claire's hotel, trouble is waiting for them in her room. A 'hit' has been put out on Claire, and she narrowly escapes with her life. Dan takes her to his place while they try to figure out who would want to kill Claire--and why? Of course they also give in to the lust that has been simmering between them at dinner (hot stuff here), but then another attempt is made on Claire's life, and Dan heroically saves the day again. Someone is serious about offing Claire! Why? Claire must know something, and it must have something to do with that bombing of the Embassy. But what...?

Dan and Claire spend the rest of the book (less than a week) on the run, and Dan calls on some of his Marine buddies to lend them a hand, while they try to figure out who wants Claire dead...and why. During this time Claire and Dan's relationship grows stronger, Claire grows to love how Dan is willing to do anything to protect her, and Claire starts getting her mojo back, and returns to being the strong, smart, confident woman she once was. Dan has brought her back to life, and she loves him for that. Dan realizes that these feelings he's never had for any woman before must be love, and no one will harm what's his while he has a breath left in his body. Claire doesn't know it yet, but he's never letting her go.


The suspense in this book was excellent. Lots of details given, and lots of background about the ambitious, smarmy villain and his network of underlings, and his plans for his future. The scenes where Dan and Claire narrowly escape death time and again had me holding my breath and biting my nails.

I wish EJ would have spent a little bit more time on the romance, because what she did give the reader was very good. Dan was one sexy alpha, and the handful of scenes with Claire, although not really explicit, were certainly hot enough, but I still wanted more. Another thing I would have liked was to see a conversation about their pasts. I don't think Dan ever told Claire about his troubled childhood, and I wanted to see him open up to Claire and tell her his feelings about his past, and how he felt about her. I also don't think that Claire or Dan ever said the ILYs--which is strange, because I certainly felt that they did, and the epilogue proves that they certainly did.

But overall, this was a pretty satisfying romanantic suspense, the emphasis being on the suspense. It's got all the trademarks of a LMR story, just with the eroticism toned down. I loved Dan and Claire together--I loved how they worked together as equals, and I loved how they connected as a romantic couple. And I especially enjoyed seeing Claire get her confidence and her life back, and find a guy who makes her feel safe and loved. Now I'm hoping that EJ writes a story about some of the other characters in this story--maybe about Dan's Marine buddy police detective Marcus Stone? 4 1/2 stars
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Reading Progress

08/05/2010 page 1
08/05/2010 page 40
13.0% "Tons of similarities to her current LMR book..." 2 comments
08/06/2010 page 130
42.0% "Getting really good right now..."
08/06/2010 page 203
66.0% "Really enjoying it--love the hero."
08/06/2010 page 308
100.0% "More suspense than romance, but very good."

Comments (showing 1-25)

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Kathrynn I see what you are saying. Search showed more listings as "Shadow of Midnight," but since she's a GRs author, maybe she knows of a title change and changed it here? Good to see another book from her, either way. :-)

Thanks again for the heads up, Auntee.

MelissaB Glad to hear it's going well Auntee! I have this but am deciding whether to hold off for a little bit since people are saying it's similar to Into the Crossfire

message 23: by Auntee (last edited Aug 06, 2010 01:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Auntee I'm really enjoying it now. The similarities to "Into The Crossfire" are mostly about the H/h's careers and the fact that the heroine had a sickly father too. And come to think of it, the hero is similar in looks to the ITC hero...hmmm.
But I'm really enjoying the story--great suspense!

MelissaB Cool, sounds good! I like her style so I don't mind the similarities.

Melanie♥ Looking forward to this one, too!!!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Does she really say "furry?" I've read that descriptive before in other books and it really weirds me out for some reason.

message 19: by Catherine (last edited Aug 06, 2010 11:06PM) (new)

Catherine UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "Does she really say "furry?" I've read that descriptive before in other books and it really weirds me out for some reason."

Makes me think of Austin Powers. "You are hairy, like animal!"

message 18: by UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish (last edited Aug 06, 2010 11:10PM) (new)

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish LOL!!! I hear "furry" and then "pelt" then "bear" then "eewwww"

message 17: by Catherine (new)

Catherine I'd think bear too if I had to get close to an Austin Powers-like chest. Blech!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Blech is right!!!

I'm heading to bed! Have a good night :)

message 15: by Catherine (new)

Catherine You too!

message 14: by AgentScully (new)

AgentScully Great review Auntee! I'm trying to make myself hold off for another week or 2 before ordering this one cuz I just read Into the Crossfire. Gotta control my trigger finger.

message 13: by Auntee (last edited Aug 07, 2010 06:10AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Auntee UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "Does she really say "furry?" I've read that descriptive before in other books and it really weirds me out for some reason."

I don't think she used the word "furry", but she did describe his chest hair as a "thick mat" and a "pelt". Somehow that seems worse than "furry".:) Oh yeah, she also mentioned his hard, "hairy" thighs.:)

Auntee Thanks Scully--that trigger finger can be a dangerous thing!

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Auntee,

Sometimes in books I have to ignore those things. A big turn off for me is a man with a really hairy back and I read a book one time where the heroine enjoyed running her hands through the "pelt" on his back... had to quickly put that image right out of my mind. LOL

Auntee Oh jeez, I don't know if I could ignore a 'pelt' on a back--do you remember the book?
Unless the hero was a shapeshifter?:D

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish No, I don't remember. I read so many books that sometimes they all start to run together.

Melanie♥ I decided to read this one almost immediately after Into the Crossfire....and you were so on point with regard to the similarities. I am mid-way through, but I feel the deja vu big time. Even the heroes names are almost the same Sam Reston:Dan Weston.

Kathrynn I felt she must have written these book simultaneously, too.

Didn't catch that name similarity! :-)

Did you notice the discrepancy in the length of time the heroine was in a coma? Nine months, then it changed to 3 months for the rest of the book.

Melanie♥ No, I missed the nine/three month thing.
Both heroine's are translators.
Both heroine's are in danger because of something they are not aware of.
Not that it's a bad book, it's just like reading the same enjoyable book two times in a row.

Kathrynn LOL! Yes, that's it exactly. Nice chatting with you, Melanie. :-)

Auntee Good catch on the names!
It's like she was working on those books at the same time (up to a point). Very strange...

Judi What!! Elizabth Jennings is also Lisa Marie Rice? I just read Into the wonder they felt similar. I just started Shadows at Midnight poor Clair Day is definitely fragile. So far so good.

La La I just wrote my review about this book and felt the same way regarding its similarities to Into the Crossfire. I feel like you shouldn't have to warn someone that you might be reading the same book again. I feel an author should have more versatility than repackaging the same book. I'm coming to the conclusion that Ms. Jennings/Rice is a translating, interior designing singer and her husband is ex militiary who now owns his own successful security firm. lololol

Auntee "I'm coming to the conclusion that Ms. Jennings/Rice is a translating, interior designing singer and her husband is ex militiary who now owns his own successful security firm."

Good one Lashell!:)

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