Night Smoke, by Nora Roberts

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Night Smoke is the fourth story in Nora Roberts' Night Tales series. It was the last one written, originally, but Nora did add one some years later.

FLASHPOINT

Ryan Piasecki: A man's man. A woman's fantasy. The kind of guy who got the job done, no matter what the obstacles...or how beautiful they were.

Natalie Fletcher: Cool, calm, collected. Until someone started making trouble for her business...and he showed up.

Arson investigator Ryan Piasecki came from the street, and he wasn't exactly the type to make nice with an upper-crust business executive like Natalie Fletcher. His business was fires - and his instincts told him the one at Fletcher Industries was no accident. They told him something else, too - that the sparks flying between him and this very classy lady had all the makings of a five-alarm blaze…
Night Smoke was a solid entry in the series. My grade: a B.

Again, as in Nightshade, the darker atmosphere was one of the draws here. The subject matter wasn't as dark here, but the setting in the city, mostly at night, gave the story a much different feel than it would have had if the same plot and characters had played their parts in the sunlight. It was very well done.

The characters were interesting, though at times, Ryan's "she's rich, I can't give her what she's used to" was irritating. Other than that, I liked them together. I especially liked Natalie. I enjoyed the fact that she's running a big business, doing it well and liking it. And all with a very matter-of-fact attitude.

The suspense subplot was interesting, though I did immediately zero in on what exactly was going on. I'm guessing I must have remembered something from the first time I'd read this, years ago, because I don't think it was that obvious.

I don't know why this series isn't better known. While not as good as her best, I found it very satisfying.

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