Author: Christine Feehan
Page Count: 469 pages
Genre: paranormal romance, romantic suspense
50 words or less: Gator Fontenot is after Flame Johnson, another of Peter Whitney's experiment subjects. If you had any reservations about whether Peter is the bad guy in this series, you'll lose them here, as Peter gave Flame cancer- repeatedly. Let the battle begin!
Among the books in this series, Night Game stands out because of the sheer volume of Kleenex I go through reading it. The author grabs your emotions, throws them on the floor, stomps on them, then picks them up and jumbles them up to repeat the process, up until the last word on the last page. It's a very intense experience and right away earns this book a Scandalous Books designation- I can see Flame's battle with cancer and Gator's pursuit of her and trying to win her over being too intense or triggering for some. I was exhausted after I finished reading this book from the non-stop emotional roller coaster.
Flame (whose real name is Iris) and Gator (whose real name is Raoul) are attracted to each other pretty much from the beginning, but Flame, who's used to everyone abandoning her and who's nursing a serious grudge against Lily Whitney, doesn't want her life to be more complicated than it already is. When she and Gator are flung together by circumstance and by a mystery that needs solving, it seems like the world, yet again, is ganging up on her and dangling the things she wants so badly just out of reach.
One of the most heartbreaking things about this book is reading about how completely unworthy of friends, love and happiness Flame considers herself to be. The despair that she experiences, despite Gator's best efforts to convince her that he's in this for the long haul, is difficult and complex, and Flame certainly has issues that have to be overcome. She doesn't get a lot of support from the other Ghostwalkers, either- Flame and Lily have a history together and nobody really wants to see Flame's side, since Lily has done so much for them. It was kind of refreshing and unusual for the author to kind of knock Lily off her pedestal for awhile; even though what happened between Lily and Flame was, by and large, a misunderstanding stemming from a child's desire to keep people from suffering, it did show that Lily has, for a long time, had a tendency to think she knows what's best for everyone, which is definitely an honest assessment.
Gator is a horndog, pure and simple. From the moment he meets Flame he's thinking about how to get her into bed; naturally, he succeeds, although getting Flame to commit to a relationship or even to go on a real date is much more difficult and leaves him pretty stupefied. Ultimately, Gator has to make some choices that are difficult as well, and definitely leave him on the outs with the one woman he wants on his side no matter what; oh man, did I cry at the scene where he brings her back to the Whitney estate. This book isn't afraid to ask the question, how far would you go to ensure the safety and well-being of someone you love? What if the price is that they want nothing to do with you? Where's the line between respecting choices and independence and doing what's best for a person? Gator and Flame definitely don't have it easy when it comes to any of those issues, and whether they acted in a way that was right or proper is definitely for each reader to decide.
While there's isn't a lot of advancement in terms of the overall story here, there are some definite high points. We see another pair of characters get their happily-ever-after (so while you're sobbing into a Kleenex, just remember that things do end well,) we get another glimpse into the lives of the girls while they were being experimented on by Peter Whitney (shudder...) and you have the chance to get some really cathartic crying done if that's what you're into. I would rate this the highest of the books so far, just for the author's masterful manipulation of the reader's emotions. This is probably not a book to read at the beach, because the people on the blanket next to you will wonder what's wrong and want to talk.
Overall Grade: B