First, an apology: when I originally talked about my win of books, I said this one wasn’t signed. I lied…the signature was on the cover page inside the book – not the inside cover of the ARC.
Secondly – I love it when an author does not disappoint.
I’ve been reading Nora Roberts for quite some time, and while I can usually predict some of the story lines (especially when she writes trilogies) I’m not always spot-on with the stand alones. I was thrilled that this new stand alone was part of my collection of books that I got. And, being who I am, I enjoy it when my fiction gives me a glimpse to some of the folks I work with — people I don’t come across in my daily life of office and theater and friends.
Black Hills takes place where the name suggests – the Black Hills of the Dakotas. We spend the first third of the book learning our two major characters – Lillian Chance and Cooper Sullivan. We watch them grow up, become best friends, fall in love. But it never can be that simple. Life intervenes – first in the form of a found dead hiker and then in the form of outside family pressures, dreams – both delayed and realized. Years pass and we meet a very different Lil and Coop – he’s come back to the only home he’s ever known and she’s hard at work in the refuge she has made. A killer stalks, best friends fall in love around them and we watch them both deal with the very real parts of life – family, work, money and each other.
One of the points I loved about this one is we find out who the killer is – both through deduction of our crack PI and his introduction as a character. We get to watch him work against Lil and Coop as they try very hard to live their lives while protecting those they love. And the fact that they didn’t put their lives on hold or run off into the wild with a madman chasing them is what really sold me on this book.
I lost most of my Sunday morning to this book. I had gotten through the first third while waiting for the Bald One to get home Friday night when I should have been sleeping. I picked it up a couple of times Saturday, but knew I couldn’t lose the hours that I’d want to when it got rolling. By Sunday, I had to read…and lost my morning and a small chunk of the afternoon.
There are moments that aren’t for the weak at heart…violence against animals, rather brutal violence at points and not to mention that much of this takes place on a (mainly large cat) wildlife refuge – a few of (meat) feedings. But there are tender moments as well – like slow dancing in a bar. I laughed out loud several times and will likely never look at where to store ammo the same way again.
Let me know what you think.