Sunday, January 4, 2009
Title: Heat Lightning
Author: Anne Stuart
Publishing Date: 1992
Caleb Spencer has come to the town of Turner's Landing to get revenge on Harrison Turner. Caleb was sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit because of Harrison and while nursing his grudge in jail he vowed to get his revenge. Jassy, Harrison's sister is Caleb's target. One thing Caleb has always excelled at is seducing women. Sweet, sheltered Jassy Turner won't know how to resist bad boy Caleb Spencer.
For a short book the characters were well developed. I liked how the weather and bayou came across as characters all on their own. I also thought it was very creative how Ms. Stuart was able to slowly unravel clues about Harrison and Caleb's past. Jassy slowly discovers her brother's true nature that she tries to deny. Events built up to a climax that coincided with the weather.
Ms. Stuart has a tendency to write anti-heroes and Caleb is no exception as he sets out to get revenge on Harrison by seducing his sister. This leaves the believability of the romance on shaky ground. Both Jassy and Caleb are likable and the relationship developed at a reasonable pace so it works out well. Jassy is a good combination of spit-fire and tenderness, so it's easy for the reader to like her. I tend to like stories were the heroine comes in and waltzes all over the hero and he doesn't know what hit him. But only when the hero thinks he is so macho and invincible. I love the irony of a little weak female bringing a strong willed man to his knees.
As for what I didn't like. The story felt a little dated, with the clothing and hair descriptions. I think the picture on the cover didn't help at all. It's one of those covers that the Smart Bitches would have a hay-day with. There are a few secondary characters that come across as cliched; Jassy's mother and sister-in-law and even the sheriff.