Bulletproof Bride

Midnight Hero by Diana Duncan
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1359, $4.99 PG) ISBN 0-373-274297
Midnight Hero is the leadoff story in a new series entitled “Forever in a Day.” Although the story proceeds at a frenetic pace, the concept of how much life can change in a day has real streaks of originality. Kudos to the author for this.

It is New Year’s Eve in Riverside, Oregon. The day had started badly for Bailey Chambers. Following her head not her heart, she spent breakfast breaking up with the love of her life, Conall O’Rourke. She was driven to do so by the realization that his SWAT Team job would never work with her need for safety, order and predictability. All of this may be a reaction to her early life when her firefighter father died in the line of duty, and her mother had reacted poorly.

Con, on the other hand, has just received a promotion and had planned to top it off with giving Bailey the engagement ring in his pocket. Coming from a family of risk takers, mostly involved in SWAT team jobs, he has little understanding with Bailey’s need for a well-programmed life.

Unable to make any headway toward resolution, they part and go to work.

Bailey works in a suburban mall bookstore and is closing it down for the holiday, chatting with her very pregnant friend Nan from the bank when Con drops by to try and talk her into changing her position. As they are talking, power surges seem to be occurring. Finally they realize the mall is empty, the power is off, and the bank in the mall is being held up.

Nan is among the hostages in the bank.

They discover their friend the security guard shot, administer what first aid they can and then focus on getting word to the police about the robbery. At the same time some of the thugs are looking for Bailey. She had talked with one of them inadvertently prior to closing and they realize she is loose in the mall. They don’t like loose ends.

This starts a twenty-four hour period of frantic planning, running and disabling the thieves one by one. Bailey is bright and well read, often supplying the ingredients for something really necessary, like taking silly putty from a toy store in the mall to use to fasten sheets to the windows.

These sheets advertise to the world there is a robbery in progress, and Con’s SWAT team responds.

The combination of brain and brawn is quite effectively done and like all situations of immediate peril, each learns from the other, as well as much about the other. They react to each crisis with innovation and cleverness, only to fall into another one.

Midnight Hero is a fun book and its uniqueness makes up for the unvaried pacing. The dialog is crisp and funny. New appreciation is gained for the wide range of products available in shopping malls, as they run and fight, store by store. And, as usual, Diana Duncan does romance superbly.

--Thea Davis

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