Beautiful Lies

Iron Lace

Once More With Feeling

Rising Tides

Twice Upon a Time

One Moment Past Midnight
by Emilie Richards
(Silh. Int. Mom. #949, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-07949-4
The greatest fear for any parent is that their child will disappear, stolen from home and possibly lost to them for ever. Hannah Blackstone, the heroine of Emilie Richards’ new SIM faces that terror. And she finds herself with no one to turn to except her new neighbor, Quinn McDermott. Thus begins the emotional roller coaster that is One Moment Past Midnight.

Hannah’s dilemma arises from the fact that the officer in charge of finding three year old Jolie is her ex-husband’s friend. She divorced Marsh because of the escalating violence in their marriage, violence that finally sent her to the hospital. Marsh lost his position with the Port Franklin, Ohio police department because of the beating and he vowed revenge. Hannah is convinced that Marsh has taken Jolie. But Detective Tony Chandler refuses to believe her. If she is to find Jolie before Marsh has time to disappear with her forever, she believes she will have to do it herself.

She finds an unexpected ally in Quinn McDermott, a recent arrival in Port Franklin. Quinn is something of a mystery. He inherited a house from his aunt and took up residence. Quinn had noticed his lovely blonde neighbor, but all his attempts to get better acquainted had been met with stony silence. Hannah is determined never again to place herself in a man’s power. But now she needs Quinn.

It turns out that Quinn has the expertise that will make their pursuit of Marsh possible. He was a reporter for the New York Times and knows how to ferret out the kind of information that will enable them to track Marsh. And so they travel from Port Franklin to Cleveland to western Pennsylvania and to West Virginia, trying to find a man who doesn’t want to be found.

And as they pursue their desperate quest, Hannah begins to believe again in trust and caring and love.

What really sets this book apart is Richards’ sure hand in portraying Hannah’s emotional state. Her fear that she will never find her beloved daughter is palpable and the reader shares her emotional roller coaster ride. Quinn has his own demons which come to life because of Jolie’s abduction. He’s been there before.

The relationship between Hannah and Quinn is quite believable. Quinn had already come to admire Hannah before the kidnapping. Their forced intimacy as they chase and are chased heightens his appreciation for and understanding of this woman who has been so terribly betrayed. Hannah is understandably distrustful of Quinn at the outset, but his caring behavior forces her to reevaluate her feelings.

Ultimately, my evaluation of a book rests on the simple issue of whether or not it kept me interested. One Moment Past Midnight certainly passed my put down test. I read it all in a single sitting, so engrossed was I in the story and the characters. If the ending caught me a bit by surprise, in retrospect, I have to admit that Richards mostly played fair in setting up her villain. The clues are there and so are the requisite red herrings.

One Moment Past Midnight is an emotionally intense book with both a good romance and a good mystery. A reader can hardly ask for more.

--Jean Mason

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