It started out as the blind date from hell…and went downhill from there. Bonnie Cooper is in New York City looking for treasures at several architectural auctions that she can use in her plumbing business in Cooper's Corner, Mass. She isn't looking for a relationship, and when she meets columnist Jaron Darke, she is fairly confident she won't find one with him.

They are about as different as two people can be. Jaron savors expensive wines, world travel and art museums while Bonnie enjoys spaghetti and meatballs, hikes in the woods and flea markets. Both are more than ready for their date to end when they witness a mob hit on the streets of New York and Bonnie's sense of civic duty has them put into protective custody.

When even this proves not to be safe, the two run to Bonnie's home ground of Cooper's Corner to hide out from the people who would like to see them dead. And the more time the two spend together, the more they decide that common tastes might just be overrated.

Heather MacAllister mixes humor and excitement in both halves of this "fish out of water" story. With fully realized characters, an intriguing story and wonderfully playful banter, AFTER DARKE is an absolute joy to read. (Sep., 256 pp., $4.95)

Reviewed by: 
Debbie Richardson