Saturday, October 06, 2007

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her calling at an early age when an unstable man broke into her family's home, trapping and terrorising them for hours. Now she's Savannah's top hostage negotiator, defusing powder-keg situations and has a talent for knowing when to give in - and when to jump in and take action. It's satisfying work - and sometimes those skills come in handy at home dealing with her precocious seven-year-old, Carly, and her agoraphobic mother, still traumatised by the break-in after all these years.

It's exactly that heady combination of steely courage and sensitivity that first attracts Duncan Swift to Phoebe. After watching her talk one of his employees off of a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life. She's used to working solo, but Phoebe's finding that no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm's length.

But not everyone is enamoured of Phoebe's charms. And when she's grabbed by an unseen assailant and brutally assaulted in her own police station, Phoebe can't help but be deeply shaken. Then threatening messages show up on her doorstep. Phoebe must discover just how this dangerous stalker is before he starts targeting her family to get to her...

I will start off this post by saying that I don't usually read Romantic Suspense on the whole. This is only my third book in this sub genre this year (if you don't count the In Death books because I can never really figure out what to classify them as!).

Phoebe MacNamara is the top hostage negotiator in the Savannah Police Department. She works hard, and when she isn't working, she is the glue that holds her family together. Not only is she a single mum to 7 year old Carly, but her household also includes her agoraphobic mother Essie, her surrogate aunt Ava and her brother and his wife. She doesn't have time for complications like relationships thank you very much.

When she meets Duncan Swift after talking a former employee of his from jumping off the roof, a relationship is exactly what she gets, but not without trying to complicate matters, for both valid and not necessarily quite so valid reasons. Duncan appears to just be a charming and handsome guy. He runs a couple of bars, used to be a cab driver, until he got lucky and won the lottery...big time. Initially he appears to just be floating around a little bit - playing at being a pub owner, driving a flash car, living a champagne lifestyle, but Duncan is someone who listens to people, who is always on the lookout for projects that can challenge him but also enrich the lives of others, especially those of his "adopted" family!

When Phoebe is assaulted at work, it is Duncan that she calls, only belatedly realising how nice it is to have someone she can rely on, as opposed to always being the person that other people rely on all the time. When strange things start happening to Phoebe, small things initially, she doesn't see the signs, but in the end she realises that there is something more sinister afoot, and her family is right in the firing line. Now she must scramble to try to figure out who it is that is targeting her before it is too late.

The relationship between Phoebe and Duncan (and Carly) was sweet, and totally believable. It was interesting that the author chose not to have a lot of conflict between the two of main characters, instead allowing the external events (which were tumultuous enough!) to provide the drama in the story. Very well done!

All of the characters were well developed and definitely three dimensional. No cookie cutter characters here! There are also some truly gruesome scenes included in this cookie cutter scenes either, but this is definitely a strength of the book.

Overall this was a good story! I still have a load of Nora Roberts' back list (both under that name and JD Robb) to work my way through as I wait for her next release in November!

Rating 4/5

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