Audie Award Nominee, Romance, 2013
Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.
The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn’t know what - and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.
Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.
©2012 Nora Roberts (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
That is actually a complex question when it comes to this book. My first "gut reaction" unvarnished by the fear that my 3 daughters would be deeply offended: This is an action thriller for women and it is more a romance fantasy than a thriller.
So, at the risk of being a jerk, which I likely already have covered, so what the hell, The best I can offer in review of this book is that it is a Harlequin Romance novel disguised and marketed as a thriller. No, it isn't in any way badly written. No, it isn't a conceptually flawed story line. To the opposite, the underlying story line is decent, if not somewhat cliche. Young girl sees mob crime, young girl goes to cops, young girls watches cops protecting her get killed, young girl flees leaving no traces sure that she is better able to provide for her own security and well being than the government. There are some twists to that plot line, such as being the product of artificial insemination with only a mother who "never bonded". There is also the predictable facets of the young heroin: having a huge trust fund, an eidetic memory coupled with perfect observational skills and an IQ north of 200 and she just happens to be indescribably beautiful. Imagine that... brains and beauty. Can you see the Harlequin developing? Again, all of that doesn't make it bad, but it also does not make it an action thriller.
A couple hours in (and that first couple hours was for me the most engaging) we get to where our girl is some period of age older (between 1 and 10 years) living in a small town where she lives in isolation. The handsome, rugged, fiercely loyal and honest town police chief takes an interest in the mystery woman who has lived in his town for a year and yet no one knows anything about her. Driven by the purest of intentions (clearly not sex) and worry for her well being (nope not her physical beauty at all), the chief befriends and beguiles her. Yes, he is the perfect son, with an adorable mother and father. He is patient and even tempered. Handsome and brave, willing to let a drunk wife abuser publicly punch him in the face so that he can arrest the suspect on Assaulting a Police Officer charges, preventing the abused woman from dropping the charges as she has done in the past. Oh, and his "hot hot hot" high school flame draws him into a naked ambush to rekindle a steamy sexual relationship they once had, but the mature and dare I say, perfect man the Chief is, orders her to get dressed and never call in a false complaint again just to get him to come see her. Riggggghhht... raise your hand if you are having a hard time seeing the Harlequin now.
In general, I just had to stop. I tried hitting fast forward (the real world version of skipping pages and chapters) to see if I could find some point where the romance and perfect sex subsided and the intrigue and action resumed. Skipping at random numerous times, I just could not land on anything that didn't sound like more of the same.
At the end of the day, this may be for you. It truly is not a bad concept or execution. It just is not for me in that I don't generally read (or listen to) a book so that I can come away feeling inferior to what is clearly the perfect man.
I haven't read tons of Nora Roberts books,but I enjoyed this one. My one critique was that It started to get a little boring towards the end. I loved the story from the young adult perspective.
Great story couple of plots opportunit great job telling the story at the right time with out too much stuff
The narrator was great. I would listen to another book narrated by Julia Whelan. I also like the main character. I like the detail that Nora Roberts used to develop the main character in the beginning of the book.
Ok, so you're the author of this book creating the main character, hiding from the Russian mafia. Her character, Elizabeth/Abigail has spent a significant amount of time, money and street smarts to stay under the radar and stay alive. Nora Roberts goes into detail developing her character and she does a really good job. Abigail is strange and she is appealing and she's smart.
So WHY does NR wreck the whole thing by introducing a boyfriend/cop Brooks? This guy never stops. From the time Abigail meets him, he works constantly to wear her down to be more sociable, and he constantly interrupts the systems she has implemented to stay safe. If the book were more realistic, the things he does would have gotten her killed eventually. He's supposed to be rescuing her I guess, but he's a needy mess.
It just doesn't stop. He shows up uninvited, (so does his mother) eats her food, pushes her to do things she doesn't want to do, takes advantage of her loneliness.... Nora Roberts meant him to be the good guy, but I think he's a manipulator. He doesn't take no for an answer. Just an epic fail on that character and irritated the heck out of me.
Book started off so well, but it trailed off into a small town drama. Mayberry on steroids.
She does a variety of voices and keeps the story moving.
I listened to this twice in a row, it was so good! Really hoping that Nora Roberts make this the beginning of a series, it could be taken so many directions and the two main characters are compelling.
It was hard to have it end, I wanted it to keep going.
St. Louis, Mo.
This book is among the best that I've listened to. And it's not just narrator Whelan. The plot and the writing are outstanding, and the best of any Robts' book that I've listened/read. And I'm including some of her best "In Death'' books as well. Love the sophisticated, surprise ending. One of Roberts' best..
The characters are well-developed, and not entirely predictable. Granted, Police Chief Brooks Gleason may be too good to be true, as far as his patience as he pursues Abigail. But it's a great story nonetheless. And Abigail is a TERRIFIC character, multi-faceted and deservedly paranoid and anxious, as well as just gosh-darn brilliant.
Whelan brings emotion and a uniqueness to each character. I am VERY picky about my narrators. And she is PERFECT for this book. I sometimes cringe at some narrators who are too young for their characters (such as poor decisions for recent Kathy Reichs' books when publisher/author switched from Rosenblat for Temperance Brennen, who is in her 40s and deserves a weathered voice, not a high-pitched one like some of the newer narrators in that series.) Whelan is perfect for The Witness. And her voice range for the various characters is very impressive.
This book moved me like few have done. Liz/Abigail is a survivor, and just one terrific character. I'm surprised this book hasn't been made into a movie..But they'd probably ruin it.
Perfect storyline, perfect narration, in an amazing ending. The only downfall was that the ending had to actually come. I would love to see "The Witness" hit the big screen!
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