Picky Reader – 16

Picky Reader’s recently read books: 

Northern Lights by Nora Roberts.  How many books has Nora Roberts written?  A hundred?  A thousand?  So you expect her work to be good.  Great.  Although I’m not a fan of the shorter stuff she does for Harlequin or Silhouette or whoever it is she writes those for, give me one of her “big” books and I’m sold.  I loved Angels Fall, which is what got me back into reading her a few years ago after a hiatus that lasted a few years before that.  Also, the Born in series sticks out in my mind.  I devoured all four of those books as soon as they came out.  So good.

But back to Northern Lights.  There’s definitely romance and there’s definitely suspense.  Mystery.  This is written from the hero’s POV a lot of the time.  In fact, it’s more his story than any other character’s.  He’s a Baltimore cop with a past and a lot of baggage who takes a job as chief of police in a tiny, remote town in Alaska.  He falls hard for Meg, who’s a feisty bush pilot, used to her independence and doing things her way.  I loved the way Nate brings her around with the direct approach.  He then goes on to solve the mystery of who murdered her father sixteen years previously.  What woman wouldn’t swoon over that kind of guy? 

Nora Roberts does an excellent job of painting a picture of a small town and all the characters in it (and there are a lot of them).  This is a big story, (562 pages hardcover) but it’s an absorbing read.  Go get it.

Shattered by Karen Robards.  Although I suppose one could say the premise of this story is built on coincidence (not unusual for big-name, best-selling authors, btw) that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good story.  “Coincidence” happens all the time in real life, but every time I’ve attempted to use it in my own fiction I get called to the carpet.  At any rate, if you enjoy romantic suspense done well, read any of Karen Robards’ books because she’s one of the few who can pull it off extremely successfully.  Something I’ve noted before is Karen Robards always takes her time to tell the story.   Her love scenes are tantalizing and filled with detail and feeling.  I can almost always get some idea of “whodunit” but I never have it all quite figured out by “the end.”  Shattered is a foray into a woman’s past.  There are hints that she isn’t exactly who she always thought she was and finding out the truth about herself could be shattering.  But that doesn’t deter her from uncovering the secrets about herself even when there are those who will do anything to stop her.  The plot is rather unusual and expectedly complex, but Karen Robards can pull that off and tie it up so it all makes sense and you’ll enjoy the ride all the way to “the end.”

Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts.  A serial arsonist stalker who holds a twenty-year grudge against a woman who becomes a detective with the Baltimore Police Department’s arson unit because of him.  When editors tell you to tell a story with an innovative twist, this what they mean.  Like Northern Lights, Blue Smoke is filled with a cast of characters which in this case are mostly made up of Reena’s extended Italian Catholic clan.  There’s a lovely sub-plot going on before she meets the hero.  If you enjoy romance, suspense, a big story, you can’t go wrong with one of Nora Roberts’s novels.

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