THE MIDNIGHT HOUR by Karen Robards


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Psychos lurking in the dark, steamy sex, and touches of the supernatural seem to be favored ingredients of romances these days, and Robards handles them better than most. Grace Hart, single mother and a judge in Ohio's juvenile and family-court system, has lost control of her teenage daughter Jessica, who's sneaking out at night, smoking marijuana, and getting drank--something especially ill-advised for a diabetic. Picked up by narcotics officers Dominick and Tony Marino as she goes into shock, Jessica is brought to the hospital by Grace and the two sexy cops. Especially irritating is Tony, a ""Mr. Macho"" who appears in the contemporary hero's uniform of flannel shirt, Levi's, and beat-up bomber jacket. He accuses Grace of negligence but sticks around to protect the pair when it seems that someone's stalking Jessica. Tony is a divorced guy whose own daughter Rachel died of cystic fibrosis (get out the handkerchiefs), and he has never recovered from the near-mortal blow of losing a child. Of course, the reader knows he hasn't really lost her, since her ghostly presence (in the form of a white moth) keeps sad watch over her mournful dad. At home, meanwhile, Grace keeps finding signs of another sort of ghostly presence: some nutcase has left invisible writing on a mirror, shifted a teddy bear from one place to another, and stuck bubble gum on a door. When the same unknown person drowns Godzilla the hamster, leaving him on Jessica's bed in a plastic bag, Tony moves in to look after ""his girls."" While Grace and he have hot sex during lunch breaks, they also share sorrows. Thus is a new family unit born to fight a sick teenager who graduates quickly to slaughtering people (and whose identity is never a mystery). Decently done work in the genre of the ""now"" romance.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1999
ISBN: 0440225043
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Delacorte