Nora Roberts does it again! Seriously, she had me hooked and kept me there long after I read the last page. With two exceptionally well developed and engaging main characters and four dogs who have personalities to rival the protagonists, we’re off and running on an adventure of romance, mystery, and murder.
The Search features Fiona Bristow, a dog trainer and head of a canine search and rescue group, and Simon, a wood artist/carpenter. As you may have guessed, it’s the dogs that bring Fiona and Simon together. Simon is desperate for his puppy to stop wreaking havoc on his life and asks Fiona to train him. It’s a ‘cute-meet’ and well done; they pretty much had me at ‘hello’.
Both Fiona and Simon live on beautiful and serene Orcas Island in Washington State. Simon lives his life according to his own plans and he doesn’t mince words. Fiona is strong and determined and after a tragic past that includes escaping a serial killer, her goal is to live a full and rich life amongst her family, friends, and three dogs. And here’s the setup Ms. Roberts does so well: amidst the quiet, serene, and beautiful backdrop of this almost idyllic island, murder comes a knocking. A copycat serial killer is stalking Fiona, and the juxtaposition between the beautiful and the terrifying is nicely played and keeps the tension taut and palatable throughout the book.
Roberts takes great care to introduce us to the world of dog training and canine search and rescue; whether or not you’re interested in dogs, you’ll find the in-depth and thorough descriptions fascinating. What makes this all the more captivating is how Roberts cleverly weaves Fiona’s comprehensive knowledge of dog training throughout the book. Her expertise and skills give her an almost intuitive sense about how and why dogs behave the way they do. She uses this knowledge to also interpret the behavior of animals of the two-legged variety, giving her almost a sixth sense about human behavior. Her ‘sixth sense’ plays an interesting role in how her relationship with Simon plays out, often to very humorous and very human results.
Ms. Roberts is a master at combining romance with mystery, and in The Search there are equal amounts of both. The mystery was creepy—in a good way, the way that keeps you wanting to find out what’s going to happen next. But it was the romance I was particularly enamored of. Why? Because Roberts does it so well. The interactions between Fiona and Simon are engaging and written with both a sense of humor but also with a sense of realism. Its trademark Roberts to create characters you want to invite to dinner—you want to know them. Fiona and Simon are no exception.
So, dear reader, The Search quickly became one of my favorite Nora Roberts books, and if you’re a fan, this one is definitely for you. If by some chance you’ve yet to read a book by Nora Roberts, might I suggest you pick this one up? It’s a taut romantic suspense with a picturesque setting, engaging characters (both of the two-legged and four-legged variety), witty and clever dialogue, and two serial killers. It’s a great read and if you’re looking for a book to read this summer, pack The Search in your beach bag, and don’t forget the sunscreen—once you start, you won't stop.
Until next Monday, remember, there’s a book waiting to be read.
Tell me, what’s your favorite Nora Roberts book?
Don’t forget to go to Romantic Reads on Wednesday (July 14th) at 2 p.m. (EST). Melanie Murray is hosting authors Cherry Adair, Gena Showalter, and Lorie O’Clare in a group chat. Find out about their new release The Bodyguard.
Marisa is an avid reader and television producer.