Frost Line by Linda Howard and Linda Jones follows Elijah, a sweet little 7-year-old boy, who just saw “Uncle Bobby” murder his mother. He’s alone and scared he’ll be next when Lenna Frost comes into his life in a strange way. Lenna is not from the human world. She is Strength, a manifestation of the Tarot card, and powerful beyond reckoning.
Caine, a Hunter of magical beings, is also not from the human world. He gets drawn into the dangerous mission of protecting Elijah and is blindsided by his growing feelings for his target, Lenna. But there is more than one enemy to contend with, and as the clock runs out, failure means not just the loss of an innocent life and the woman Caine has come to love, but the destruction of Lenna’s entire world. —Avon; 2016
The adventure opens strong with the child’s perspective of his mother’s murder. The child, Elijah, runs to a friend’s home to hide in a closet, that just happens to have a magical Tarot card deck that allows Lenna Frost to enter our world. If the fish-out-of-water plotline had been stretched out a bit longer, perhaps we could have been shown more world-building through the differences between our world and Lenna’s and the connection between them, but no. That is all pushed aside to build the romance between Lenna and Caine, the Hunter sent to bring her back home and maintain the balance of the universe.
Outside of the brief sexual tension between Lenna and Caine, that is sated off-camera, there is no real suspense throughout the story. We know who killed Elijah’s mother so no mystery there. There isn’t a fear of police involvement because, despite everyone looking for Elijah, no connects him with people fitting Lenna and Caine’s description. So they are all able to walk around Georgia, not bothering to disguise their appearance.
The only threat is a mustache-twirling, tie a woman to the railroad track, cartoon villain who sends his own Hunters to collect Lenna and the deck for his own master plan of creating chaos somewhere, anywhere, maybe over there. The henchmen sent to get the deck are either dealt with quickly by Caine or share an undefined connection with Lenna that stops them from attacking her.
Frost Line is full of missed opportunities to flesh out more interesting concepts like, how an ancient magical Tarot deck got in a closet in the suburbs? What effects would the Earth feel if Strength never returned? Could Lena really be replaced? What are the other worlds like? Instead, those ideas are passed by to focus on a cliche romance that has been done a million times already and was not impressive the first time it was done. —Borrow it.