Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins

Synopsis:

12182154Outlaw. Preacher. Night Hawk. He’s had many names, but he can’t escape the past.

Since Ian Vance’s beloved wife was murdered years ago, the hardened bounty hunter knows he’ll never feel love or tenderness again, so he’s made it his mission to ensure others get their justice. But when he’s charged with delivering a sharp-eyed beauty to the law, Ian can’t help but feel he may still have something left to lose.

Orphaned at twelve, Maggie Freeman has always found her way out of trouble. But now there’s a vigilante mob at her back who would like nothing more than to see her hang for a crime she didn’t commit. Maggie may have to accept help for the first time in her life . . . even if it’s from the one man standing between her and freedom.

As the past closes in, the sassy prisoner and toughened lawman may just find a passion between them that could bring blinding happiness . . . if they’ll let it.

Review:

If you’re looking for romantic suspense with a single story arc including a big bad, this isn’t it. Night Hawk is more of a collection of adventures involving the hero, heroine, and a whole cast of shady characters.

The good:

  • This is unapologetically a western – there are saloons and people getting thrown off of moving trains and warning shots and vigilante justice (sorta). This isn’t a place and period I read in very much and the world is plain ol’ fun.
  • The hero and heroine have complicated back stories that are spooled out slowly and believably for the most part. (More about that later.)
  • The secondary characters are given their due and felt like people despite their limited time on the page. Charlie is a hoot, especially.
  • I learned a lot and am excited to read more novels set in the era.

The not-so-good:

  • Maggie is a little too perfect. I don’t think she had a single flaw other than speaking her mind, which never turned out badly for her. Her bag also seemed to have just what she needed, when she needed it.
  • The conflict comes in spurts, and sometimes there’s a chapter that has no conflict at all, just people moving from place to place. I read this book digitally and I had to keep checking the percentage left because it felt like there were three happily ever afters in there.
  • The history is fascinating, but in a couple of passages Jenkins starts listing tons of dates and… I could care less about dates. It also made me wonder how the character was able to pull all these dates out of their head so easily.

A fun book that’s great for spending some time in the Wild West, but maybe not the most gripping or immersive read.

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