source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of OUT AT NIGHT by Susan Arnout Smith (see her website)


    Minotaur, March 2009

    Crime scene technician Grace Descanso is on vacation with her daughter and her daughter's long-lost father when she gets a call from her uncle in the FBI summoning her to help investigate a murder. It seems that the victim had texted her as his dying act. Although she's nervous about allowing her daughter to spend time with the father, Grace abandons the young girl and heads to California where a conference on genetically modified plants is under way.

    Grace soon runs into a group of militant women who push the organic message and who have all been having miscarriages. With Grace's niece nearly at full-term, the anger and frustration among the other women runs high. Also running high is the threat of some sort of terrorist strike against the conference. Many, including those supporting organic farming, believe bioengineered food is a serious danger.

    Grace may have responded to her uncle's call but that doesn't mean she likes him. There is a lot of family history here and Grace is angry with just about everyone. It doesn't take too long before the one person in the world Grace trusts, her AA sponsor, proves to be a liar as well and Grace truly feels alone in the world.

    Author Susan Arnout Smith gives us a lot to like in this story. Genetically modified foodstuffs and the controversy over them are definitely today's-headline stuff. Despite our nation's focus on terrorists from abroad, there is still a very real threat of domestic terrorists...people who can easily blend in with the general population, making them a far greater threat. For me, though, there was just too much going on. Grace comes off as unlikable...she dumps her daughter with a man she doesn't really trust, dumps off her dog, is pissy with her uncle, and eventually becomes angry with her sponsor as well. Then there are the terrorist threats. It's not enough that someone is trying to poison the conference-goers with anthrax, there's also the deeper bio-engineered threat. And then there's Grace, who seems to be the epicenter of everything despite an FBI office which is, supposedly, looking into the whole thing.

    Despite its promise, I found OUT AT NIGHT a bit too hard to buy into.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 1/16/10

    Ready to buy it now? Click the buy now button.

    Visit to read more reviews or to purchase OUT AT NIGHT from

    Buy the eBook version from

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

    Check out the Alexa toolbar. It blocks pop-ups (you get to choose), it's free, and it tells you about what websites are popular and who owns them.