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Night Magic    by Karen Robards order for
Night Magic
by Karen Robards
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (1987)
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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though its action all takes place in the continental U.S., Karen Robards' Night Magic reminded me of Romancing the Stone. Tough action hero Jack McClain (a CIA agent who's uncovered the existence of a high level mole in the U.S. government, codename Bigfoot) and slightly overweight, blonde romance writer Clara Winston end up fleeing from both the KGB (in the form of arch villain Andrei Rostov and his minions) and U.S. authorities. Though originally written in 1987 this engrossing tale (aside from KGB involvement) stands the test of time well.

What makes this take on a familiar story a ton of fun is its real star, Clara's ten-year-old tomcat Puff, 'the gigantic ball of gray fur that ruled her with a rod of iron.' McClain hates cats and sneezes continually around Puff, who ends up being carted by Jack and Clara in turn as they run (or rather stagger at times) from their enemies. How does Clara get involved? After Jack escapes from Rostov the first time, the KGB Colonel finds his old codename of Magic Dragon in the title of her latest book, and invades Clara's home with his henchmen. Jack has followed the KGB there and rescues her. Soon afterwards, Jack, Clara - and Puff - are on the run, sought by the authorities for KGB killings, thanks to Bigfoot's influence.

They steal a police car, ride a raft downriver, and hijack a helicopter before finally catching the mole. Along the way they progress from intense dislike for each other to a fiery attraction. Their relationship is resolved, after the obligatory misunderstanding, at a chicken ranch in Tennessee. If you enjoy romantic suspense and missed Night Magic in the 80s, here's your chance to catch it now.

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