by S.K. McClafferty

May 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7298-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Kensington Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

To escape the tragedy and scandal that has befallen her, Dr. Abigail Youngblood returns to her hometown of Abundance, hoping to spend a few days of peace and quiet with her aunt at Gilead Manor. Sadly, things are not as she had left them. The beautiful manor of her childhood is in badly need of repairs, and the wealth she had always taken for granted is gone. To further complicate matters, Abby finds that the carriage-house/guesthouse now has a new tenant, one of the sexiest and most outrageous man ever, as well as being the infamous author, Matthew W. Monroe - a man who oozes sexuality out of every pore and whose favorite place in the world is the bedroom! Abby fully realizes that this guy is not for her and knows that she does not want to join the queue of women clamoring at his bedroom door. Yet she is honest enough to admit that, in face of his blatant good looks and a body to die for, all this matters not a whit.

Matt Monroe writes books for a living, all the while reveling in the publicity and adulation that his profession and the media heap upon him. Now he is in the backwater town of Abundance because he is suffering from writer’s block. When he sees Abby for the first time he thinks of her as being ‘haunted’, and this arouses his curiosity, while her classical good looks arouse him in an entirely different manner! He is a man with a troubled past and recognizes a kindred spirit in Abby. Together they create a blaze which can put Mount Vesuvius to shame. Hot lust, erotic longing, bedroom games – Abby and Matt can’t keep their hands off each other!!! But Abby, without meaning to, neatly turns the tables on this habitual womanizer and her love-him-then-leave-him attitude completely throws him off-stride!!

Close on the heels of their growing closeness comes danger. First, the body of one long-dead girl is recovered. Hardly has the furor died down than another murder takes place! As the body count increases, the clues all begin to point towards Matt as the serial killer. Has Abby made a mistake in him or is the killer from her own scandalous past? What is Matt running away from? Suspense mounts as the danger comes closer and closer. No woman is safe as the killer roams the streets of Abundance freely and his interest seems to be fixated on Abby. Are Abby’s lover and the killer, one and the same?!!

In As Night Falls, S.K. McClafferty has produced a finely crafted, tense and grisly tale of love, lust and danger. Abby and Matt are wonderful protagonists, full of contrasts and conflicts - clearly portrayed. Lots of great secondary characters, whom the author has fleshed out most convincingly, provide an authentic small-town atmosphere. The town of Abundance is portrayed realistically with its small-town mentality and closeness, where everybody knows everybody else and outsiders are always blamed for everything wrong. Hot is too tame a word for what’s there between Abby and Matt – explosive, sultry and mind-blowing are some of the words which spring to the mind! The suspense is truly chilling and the author has done a magnificent job of building it to a volatile crescendo. The ending seems a little rushed and is a little anti-climactic. With such a good story line and the great building up of suspense, this reviewer expected a little more of it even at the end. The convenient way in which the bodies are discovered also seems phony but as with all works of fiction, some leeway must be given.

Overall, the book makes for a wonderful and suspenseful read, with great characters and tense atmosphere. Chilling and thrilling at the same time!! Very Exciting!

Reviewed in August 2002 by Rashmi.

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