Night Whispers

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Judith McNaught is skillful in designing characters in clear, nearly comic strip colors so there is never confusion about the roles each of them play. The hero of Night Whispers, policewoman Sloan Reynolds, is a spunky young woman who comes from a modest background on the eastern coast of Florida. Her mother works in a lovely dress shop, but ideas of fashion, material wealth and the “fancies” have never appealed to Sloan. Her friend from childhood, Sara, on the other hand, could be a model, redecorate any home and win prizes, and catch any man, although the last category is somewhat frustrating at the moment. Sloan is content with her pals at the police station, the excitement her work brings, and the succor she offers her community.

Then the summons arrives from her estranged father, following a heart attack, and the plot thickens. An FBI agent has been following her and now he will accompany her on this unwanted sojourn into an undesired wealthy world filled with an unknown sister, and father who is being investigated by the FBI. She has to create lies about her life to help out this agent, has come to the realization that she really likes her sister, and is seeming to be falling hopelessly in love with a neighbor who may just turn out to be a very shady person.

McNaught, as in most of her novels, paints vivid images of elegance, an overlay of evil, and restrained and not so restrained passion. The outcome of this great page-turner holds numerous surprises, all of them agreeable and a few of them totally popping out of the blue.