Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Monster in the Closet - Anne Stuart

It was Sebastian Brand's job to terrify people, and he did it very well--but only on the screen. Or so Emma Milsom hoped. Because someone was stalking her, someone who wanted her dead, and it was her heart's deepest desire to cast dangerously appealing Sebastian in the role of savior--and spend forever in his arms.

This is a short story in the Silhouette Shadows anthology; I was needing an Anne Stuart fix so I just grabbed her story and read it. I'll eventually tackle the other two someday. Stuart thrives on dark stories and this one is no exception starting with its setting and theme.

The action is set in the backstage of a theater play - a horror play is being rehearsed, the main star is a famous horror movie actor who is well known for his reclusive ways and mysterious past. The heroine, Emma, is the Director's assistant. She is smart and sensible but can't help being attracted to Sebastian, even though there are dark rumours about him and the actresses he works with. He also doesn't try to be particularly nice when they meet and the more attracted he feels towards her the ruder he becomes.

Basically the hero is a tortured character but for most of the story Emma, and the reader, wonder if he is truly a bad guy or just a tortured one. Bad things keep happening to those who work on the play and there is always the possibility that he may be behind it. Stuart is famous for her ambiguous heroes and this is one more to add to the list. Once we get to know his past it is easier to understand what is crossing his mind.

But the accidents keep happening and as Emma almost gets seriously injured she can't help doubt Sebastian one more time. I actually felt that guessing who was behind it all wasn't that difficult just because one of the characters was so annoying that you can't help wishing him as a villain. The why was a bit more surprising but totally in character.
I guess my complaint is that this plot deserved a longer story so the suspense could be fully developed and some things - like the attraction between them - didn't have to be rushed.

Grade: 4/5

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