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Publisher's Summary

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.

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Roberts version of Dragon Tattoo protagonist

Since the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo",strong intelligent tech/geek women have been the female protagonist do jour.... I guess it's no surprise that Roberts has her own entry...in the form of Lizzy ( aka Abagail), a young woman with Mensa level intelligence who, as a teen,accidentally connects with the Russian mob, goes into witness protection, escapes the bad guys and is on the run from everyone for a decade.` etc etc etc.

This same type of woman shows up in "The Informationist ",( Audibles listeners choice award) and "The Breach" a sci-fi trilogy with similar female lead. Each of these 4 female protagonists is quite similar, they all have amazing computer programming and hacking abilities, are Chuck Norris with martial arts and Jack Reacher with knowledge of firepower . I wonder how many more versions of this clone will appear in novels to come......
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The plot and character development are much improved over what Roberts has been phoning in the past several years--I've been picking them up at the used book store and have read just one book of the last 2 trilogy series due to negative reviews and personal experience with the initial book. I'm pleased that she put more effort into this book.

Roberts knows her readers, and knows what they want so even though this lead character is slightly different than her usual-still her writing remains the same. This time it's a more w take charge female protagonist and equally strong male protagonist who wants to take care of his little woman and bad guys who have chased after Lizzy (Abagail) since she was 17.

And while loyal readers will enjoy the better quality over the past couple of works, still this is a definite rip off of the Dragon Tattoo (minus the tattoo) main character. Still the writing is tight and crisp and plot is not quite predictable. It held my interest more than the last 2 trilogies did and worth the credit for those of us who appreciate Roberts when she's writing well.

Julia Whelan gives a very nice reading of the novel, bringing it to life and doing a good job of male characters voices...not overly dramatic or soapy.

All in all an above average listen to typical Roberts writing and plot.

79 of 92 people found this review helpful

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At the risk of being a chauvinist...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • andrea
  • Annandale, NJ, United States
  • 04-24-12

Great Book!!

This book is about courage, patients, and being a survivor. The heroin in this story is Elizabeth alias Abigale. She decides to rebel against her controlling mother. And her decision changes her life forever. Twelve years later she is still on the run and meets Sheriff Brooks. Who becomes her love interest. This book has a little bit of everything, suspense, love, action, and courage.
The narrator Julia Whelan did an awesome job. This is a great book to listen to. I would definitely recommend it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Touching and moving story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Witness to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the print version but really enjoyed the audio. Not sure I would have read Liz/Abagail as narrator but appreciated that point of view and think it did bring more to the experience.

What did you like best about this story?

Liz/Abagail's emotional journey

Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. At first, I didn't care for her narration so much. But it didn't take me long to lose myself into the story and enjoy the narration.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were multiple points of the story to wring tears from me. This is definitely more a contemporary romance vs. romance suspense but the character growth and interpersonal relationships were well fleshed out and delivered. I still wanted more when it ended.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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not great, not terrible

Would you try another book from Nora Roberts and/or Julia Whelan?

yes because every now and then, Nora Roberts produces an excellent one - but this was not one of them, in my view

If you???ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

This is one of Nora's average books, not great, not terrible.
it is similar to her other books in that she exaggerates how terrible one parent is (the heroine's mom) and how wonderful the other family is (the hero's parents and sisters).
It has an interesting plot outside of the romance itself, but it feels incomplete somehow.
The first few chapters are very well written (about the heroine in her teens) but the hero does not appear until much later and then their relationship develops quite fast. I actually dozed off in the middle of their first bedroom scene!!

This is better than some of her latest work (The Search, the last 3 books in the Bride Quartet) but nowhere near her very best work (e.g. The Chesapeake Bay saga, Montana Sky, the Stanislaski brothers and sisters)

Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

first time I listen to her. She is quite good - though her portrayal of Abigail made her sound a little bit cold/boring, I think it made sense for her character

Do you think The Witness needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no...

46 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 04-05-13

Not your average romance novel

The Witness came up on so many reading lists, I decided to give Nora Roberts a try. After the fact, I found out she writes romance novels, which is not really my thing, or so I thought. I really enjoyed The Witness. Actually, the romance part took a back seat to the surrounding drama unfolding.

Elizabeth, a young 16-year-old girl has grown up more like her mother’s science experiment, than a child. Elizabeth attempts to break out of her cocooned life for one night with her friend Julie. Sporting new clothes, hairstyles, and fake ID’s the two girls go to a nightclub owned by Russian mafia. Drunk and naive, the girls accompany these crime lords back to their place for some added enjoyment. Alcohol, guns and the mob don’t mix well, and Elizabeth witnesses a double homicide. In police protection her world is rocked again by crooked cops and Elizabeth is on the run – alone.

Fast forward 12 years and Abigail Lowery, AKA Elizabeth Fitch, is living a secluded life behind a cloak of security cameras, artillery and computers in a small town in the Ozarks. She spends her time using her brilliant mind to make money and stay one step ahead of the murders who have never given up looking for her.

Enter Brooks Gleason, the chief of police in her new town, who is intrigued by Abigail’s need to always be packing, her secluded lifestyle and her attack dog who takes orders in a number of foreign languages. He picks away at her hard facade until her finally breaks through her robotic-like existence. Slowly and patiently, he makes a little progress at showing Abigail she is capable of having real emotions and that not everything in her life has to come down to cause and effect. The duo team up to put an end to Abigail’s life on the run.

I really liked this book and definitely would not hesitate to read another Nora Roberts novel. Quirky protagonist, compelling story line and a little romance are all present in this entertaining novel.

Julia Whelan reads the part of Abigail perfectly and really brings this unusual protagonist to life.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy
  • Champaign, IL, United States
  • 04-24-12

Outstanding!

This book is quite a step up from Nora's last couple of trilogies and is worthy of her reputation. The story is original, the characters are well-developed and likable, and its nicely balanced with humor and heat. The narrator would not have been my first choice (Susan Ericksen would have rocked it!) but she did an adequate enough job that it didn't detract from the enjoyment of the story. Thanks, Nora, for giving the people (your fans) what they want!

43 of 52 people found this review helpful

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Very Good

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it months ago and still remember it well. The story was a bit - just a bit - unbelievable, but would like it to be possible. I enjoyed the small town and excentric life mixed with the big city knowledge of the world. Small town, and big city criminals.

I will listen again, and probably again after that. I recommend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ray
  • Rockhampton, Australia
  • 04-02-13

Right up there with the Best!

I had never experienced any of Nora Roberts'' work previously but I have to say that I absolutely loved this book!
The concept of the Designer Child, the structured upbringing and the incredible naivete that exposure to real life brought were, I thought, handled beautifully.
The literal way in which Elizabeth interpreted cliches & phrases made for some genuinely funny moments.
Her quest for anonymity & privacy are subjected to the almost glacial advances of the local Police Chief.
I found the descriptions of the interactions between them quite fascinating & at times, very poignant.
There was actually nothing about this book that I didn't like.
The inevitable confrontation was also a surprise and I won't spoil it by going any further!
Listen to this book, it is excellent!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock
  • DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain
  • 02-26-13

An enjoyable story to listen to

I REALLY enjoyed this book. It was an extremely well written story. I was reluctant to buy this book because I thought Roberts was only an author of romance books, but this was a great story with a lot of drama that kept pulling me through.

I also loved the narrator, Julia Whelan. I first heard her in Gone Girl, where I thought she was amazing as well.

I would highly recommend this book.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill
  • 05-26-12

Predictable and shallow

The characters in this book remained cardboard cut-outs for me, and I cared so little about their ultimate fate that I stopped listening at the end of the first part. Good looking man with whacky mother meets incredibly good looking girl with a past. Repetitive, turgid and hackneyed sex scenes (not that I generally mind sex scenes, just like at least a little originality in the vocabulary), no humour, no reality and generally BORING. Not for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • City girl in Cambs
  • 02-24-13

Fabulous read

Love the jd robb series and this was just as good. Human interest with suspense thrown in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Geoff Healey
  • 06-09-12

Excellent

An excellent narration with captivating characters and plot. The story had me engaged from beginning to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • P. M. Hooson
  • 12-21-17

Very enjoyable heartwarming story

I really appreciate a good story well written and performed. I thought the characters were believable and Abigail's naivety really made me smile.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-29-17

Lovely Story and Easy Listen

We join the story as Elizabeth an obedient and compliant daughter finds her the teenage rebel and in one day changes the whole of her life forever. Colouring her hair, going to a night club and unintentionally watching someone murdered.
The feelings of rebellion and fear are very well described.
The story continues a few years later when Elizabeth has become Abigail still on the run and we follow her as she finds love with police chief Brooks Gleason.
I enjoyed the fact that the story ended correctly, in my opinion, with the nastys' getting their just deserts
Good story worth its credit.

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  • dc
  • 10-16-17

too much detail and unbelievable characters

Over all the story was not a bad idea but it went from the Russian mafia (awful accents!) to some sort of Harlequin romance that ended up with a soppy and unrealistic police man spouting clichés.

I hope I never have to read anything like the cringe-worthy sex I had to wade through in this.

The awful accents, the clichés, the dead pan main character, the over explaining and long conversations that have nothing to do with the main story really took away from the enjoyment.

Shall not be buying another one of the author's or the narrator's.

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  • N. Fail
  • 10-10-17

Gripping stuff!

I’ve read all of Nora Roberts books including this one, the story is captivating and the characters likeable. The descriptions of both people and places make you feel that your there with them.

The performance of this book was fantastic! The narrator conveyed each character on there own platform, giving them an individuality that does not exist in all audio books. The pace of reading was perfect and the accents top notch! I will certainly be looking into more books narrated by her!

A engrossing thriller that encompasses a mystery and everyday life in small town America. Highly recommend

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  • Book Lover
  • 08-19-17

SIX STARS FOR THIS STORY !

Nora Roberts has created a wonderful story
with a Heroine to be proud of.

The narration was first class and made a gripping,
intense story come ALIVE.

WELL DONE and THANK YOU for this Fab Audio Book.

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  • simplyswing
  • 06-29-17

Brilliant

Wonderful wonderful book. Such a lovely story and with a narrative that brought the character's alive. Thanks Nora.

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  • Hilarymj
  • 05-31-17

Not quite a thriller

I bought this as I love thrillers. It turned about to be a romance , a love conquers all with large helpings of what I can only call Housewife porn. There are some thriller aspects but only as a plot device. However, having said that I actually enjoyed it though I don't think I'd read anymore Nora Roberts. I suspect one buys her books at supermarkets.

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  • Francesca
  • 07-15-15

Enjoyed this a lot!

I have become a Nora Roberts fan after discovering her books on Audible. Perfect books for listening to at night just before I go to sleep. I love that there is a lot of character build up before the action part of the book.

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  • Clifford S Hosking
  • 07-10-15

Good but not great

I enjoyed this book while listening. It was well read and it did get me in. In retrospect I think the author tried to cover too many genres - cyber crime, police corruption, Asbergers Syndrome (though not acknowledged in the book but clearly described in the heroine).
I would certainly be happy to listen to another book of this author/ reader combination.

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  • Natalie
  • 06-13-15

The witness

My favorite audio book I have listened to it many times. I hope others enjoy it as much as I have

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  • Jackie Morrell
  • 05-20-15

I LOVED IT!! Nora Roberts does it again!

Ms. Roberts paints such a great picture of the characters and settings. I hated putting this one down and wished there was more!

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  • Rosslyn
  • 04-04-15

Captivating

One of the best audio books I've enjoyed.
Brilliant performance.
This will be a treasure I will revisit.
A gem.

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  • Mari
  • 08-08-14

A Wonderful Romantic Thriller

I loved this book and have recommended to all my reading/listening friends. Nora Roberts has created a wonderful heroine in Elizabeth/Abigail who is strong, courageous, smart yet also very vulnerable. The blending of the thriller component with the romance is seamless. Narration by Julia Whelan is excellent. Overall a truly fantastic listening experience.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful