3.5 star review

Review – Darkness by Karen Robards


New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?

It looks like after the paranormal crazysauce, we are back to some old skool Karen Robards. And by that I mean that this is very much a modernized retelling of her 1987 classic (and still one of my favorites) Night Magic.

Now don’t think this doesn’t have its own crazy sauce charms, because of course it does. It is just that it is old skool crazysauce rather than paranormal crazy sauce.

So we have a fundamentally broken heroine. The modernization leaves said heroine quite a bit more competent and independent than that older version, but the trade off isn’t a certain intrinsic reticence, it is a complete shattering of her life that leaves her so cut of from the world and from men. And we have a rough, tough, aggressive, world weary hero. He isn’t going to trust the heroine even as far as he can throw her at the start, which is par for the course with this cynic.

They meet, they have undeniable attraction, their mistrusts and different goals seperate them briefly, and then they are brought back together by the suspense/thriller plot arc. Danger, and madness, and smexing, and happily ever love ensues. The End!

And I could leave it at that, because this is the Karen Robards romantic suspense formula. But the devil is in the details, so to speak. For one thing, this is modernized, so if you want some of that sweet, sweet old skool “charm” without the dated feel, this is something of a winner. And consequently, with the updates, I think the heroine may be a little more relate-able, and the hero just ever so slightly less alpha-hole. I don’t know, maybe that is just me and it is a function of not having read Night Magic in a while (maybe an OpenLibrary foray is in my future?). Additionally the tech is much more current, so there isn’t the snickering that you get when you read an older romantic suspense because the technology is so dated.

This one may not be for everyone. Personally, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was action packed and adventure oriented, the suspense part was relatively plausible, as was the action. The main characters fairly sizzled, and while I don’t know that I necessarily buy the happily ever after, I definitely get the hot for right now feel. It was a good weekend read.

So whether you like this more or less than her most recent stuff is going to be a matter entirely of taste. But, if you had been feeling regretful or resentful of her most recent turn, and missed the old days, then this hearkens right back to the old Robards and you won’t want to wait to pick it up.



5 thoughts on “Review – Darkness by Karen Robards

  1. So…I found Night Magic in a 2nd-hand bookshop the other week…and your mention of it totally intrigued me…so I dug it back out and started reading it – just a bit you know – And then it was 4am and I was supposed to get up in like an hour. I am so tired right now, I am not sure if I should be thanking you or keeping you VERY VERY far from my TBR list. 🙂

    ZOMG!!!!! (*Valancy swoons*) It was SO good and Jack (although John McClain – Really???!!! as a character name?) was AMAZING and Clara was so sweet. I just wanted to smoosh their faces together and make a HEA for them already.

    And now I have borrowed another five of them from OpenLibrary.
    I am holding you directly responsible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh yes, my evil plot is already working muwahahaha. 😉

      Check your dates though kemosabe, if I’m not mistaken Robards had John McClain first 🙂

      That whole I hate cats, and roses etc gag, just freaking adorable.


      • Well maaaybe I will let the naming slide…BUT conspiracy theorist would posit that although Die Hard was released in ’88, it WAS in production for about 3yrs before that…and Robards released HER book in 87….so –da-da-dum (But I’m not a c-theorist – so I will put it down to an unfortunate zeitgeist sweeping the world at the time. 🙂

        Isn’t PUFF awesome??? Having cats, I always wondered it would be like to have a one on an adventure, rather than the prerequisite dog…And now I do: uncomfortable and extremely difficult!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Night Magic, Midnight & Wild Orchids, Karen Robards, (or my rare-magical-unicorn-author scale…) – Blue Castle Considerations

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