Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book 45 - The Search

I love Nora Roberts, honestly I do, but I feel a little empty after finishing The Search.

All of the trademark skills are there - and make no mistake, the woman has mad writing skillz - but the story fell flat, and the chemistry lacked its typical Nora Roberts sparkle. The Search is a solid, well-written, romantic suspense novel.

But solid isn't good enough on the heels of intensely emotional books like Shiver, Heartsick, or Bitten.

Over the years, I've relied on Nora to sweep me off my feet, to give me - if even for a few hundred pages - that fairy tale romance, a strong heroine and even stronger hero. I'm looking for the quick adrenaline rush of falling in lust, because in many of Nora's books, that heady lovestruck emotion borders on addicting - she's simply that good. Usually.

Fiona and Simon's relationship in The Search is more like a slow burn rather than instant flame, and while that's more consistent with how most real-life love stories go, I never really felt their heat. I expect that from Nora.

Fiona Bristow is the sole survivor of a deranged serial killer. Though it was her quick thinking and determination that allowed her to escape - and put the man behind bars - her cop-fiancee was murdered in the process. Years later, she finds solace on an island where she lives with her three Labrador dogs and runs a Search and Rescue unit.

Fiona's newfound peace is drastically interrupted, first when she meets Simon (mysterious handsome man) and his adorable puppy, Jaws, and then again when a copycat killer uses a familiar - and terrifying - MO for a batch of new murders.

This isn't a small book (almost 500 pages), but I didn't feel either story line - Fiona and Simon's romance or the fresh killings - was particularly well flushed out. Not enough chemistry for the romance side, not enough character development of the killer.

In the 200+ Nora Roberts (JD Robb) books I've read, I'd be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of characters I didn't like. Unfortunately, neither Simon nor Fiona sparked more than a casual interest. Fiona's wit and independence kind of grew tiresome, and Simon's rugged indifference didn't spice up his sex appeal in the slightest.

As always, I remain in awe of Nora's writing skills and can pick out sentence after sentence of perfectly polished prose. But as I read The Search, Steve Berry's eight rules of writing craft filtered through my brain and technical skill aside, Nora breached a couple of those rules.

Dealbreakers for me, but I suspect many Nora fans will strongly disagree.

The Book In My Bag Today: Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris


  1. While I'm not a huge fan of hers, I bow to anyone that can crank out 200+ best sellers. Guess even she writes the occasional ho-hum novel.

  2. Donna - there is so much truth in that. Nora is prolific AND talented. Harumph :-) xo

  3. At times,the pressure must be immense to crank out her stand alones, her trilogies and her J.Robbs. I think I'm much more easily entertained as I don't have the knowledge of 'craft' and Steve's rules to guide me by.
    Having said this, however, I do sense when a writer's works is 'tired' or off, I'll let you know. :-)

  4. Jamie - I agree that the pressure is likely immense, and I've loved her Bride Quartet series books, as well as the latest JD Robb's. Her stand-alones have been a bit of an issue for me for a while now, though, so maybe I've moved off that kind of book. I'll be interested in your thoughts - as soon as I return your book to you ;-)

  5. I don't think I've ever read any of her books though I have certainly heard of her a lot.