by Linda Howard

July 2001
ISBN: 0-6710-3442-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Daisy Minor wakes up on her thirty-fourth birthday with an epiphany - everything about her is boring. She has boring clothes, hasn't had a date in years and she lives with her mother and spinster aunt! Daisy is definitely due for a major overhaul in her life.

If it's by Linda Howard, I usually expect it to be three things: funny, sexy and funny! With a fairly good plot and a lot of romance, Ms. Howard can conjure up interesting characters and dialogue that kills. Open Season is no exception to Ms. Howard's excellent repertoire.

Daisy is considered to be a small town's stereotypical librarian. She lives in a small town and, well, she's stereotypical in that she never breaks any rules (an employee entrance is only for employee's - NO EXCEPTIONS!), and she always wears something marmy - her skirts are just a tad below her knees with the usual white blouse. But once she makes up her mind to bring about a new Daisy on her 34th birthday, her mother and aunt Joella were all for it - much to her surprise! Daisy is sassy and prim - the prim part she's working on, but it was a bit hard to imagine Daisy not being sassy all her life.

Chief of Police Jack Russo has never been Daisy's type - he's big with sloping shoulders and a thick neck. Besides his physical build, he is a Yankee - and to Daisy who was born and raised in Alabama, that is clearly not a preference in her qualities for a husband. But Jack isn't as thick as he looks - he thinks Daisy is cute, despite the gunnysack clothes that hide her figure. The only fun that Jack gets out of Daisy, however, is when he gets her irritated... then she's all sassy and sparky which pretty much makes Jack's day.

Daisy's in trouble and Jack's the only one who suspects that she is - even Daisy is unaware until it's almost too late. Jack's constant company however makes her rethink her goals - sure, Jack may not be husband material, but she can have at least a red-hot affair while she's husband hunting, can't she?

The only problem I had with Daisy is that it's hard to imagine her the plain, restrained librarian that she is before she decided to take charge of her life. It was also difficult to believe that she waited until she was thirty-four before she realized that she wasn't getting anywhere with her love life - not to mention life in general! Then there's Jack... for someone that big and good-looking, I wasn't convinced that it was that easy for Daisy (or any hot blooded female!) to overlook him all that time, especially when someone is husband hunting.

I've heard say that Open Season isn't as good as Ms. Howard's Mr. Perfect. While that may be true, Open Season still has all the elements that make any Ms. Howard's book a good read - funny, sexy and funny! While the murder mystery story is just okay, it is Daisy and Jack's interaction that makes this one fun. The secondary characters, while just as amusing and interesting, almost overrun the romance - I don't see Jack and Daisy as much as I'd like. But this book really deserves to be judged on its own so I highly recommend it - just TRY not to compare it to that other book or you might be a tad disappointed.

Reviewed in February 2002 by Veronica.

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