Thursday, January 29, 2009

High Noon, A Review

I'm fairly book-y today, especially since I just partied at Harlequin's 60 Year Celebration. Free books, people, free books! The dangerous thing is, the more time I spend blog-hopping and glomming books, realistically, the more damage I'm doing to my TBR. But today I need comfort, and my books -- yeah, they make me feel good.

So, about that review...

From the blurb:

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her calling at an early age, when a violently unstable man broke into her family's home, trapping and terrorizing them for hours. Now she's Savannah's top hostage negotiator, who puts her life on the line every day to defuse powder-keg situations. Phoebe knows when to reach out and when to pull back -- and when to jump in and take action, even if it means risking everything.

It's satisfying work -- and sometimes those skills come in handy at home when Phoebe deals with her agoraphobic mother, still traumatized by the break-in after all these years, and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Carly.

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 a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life. Phoebe's used to working solo, but she's finding that no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm's length.

When she's grabbed by a man who throws a hood over her head and brutally assaults her -- in her own precinct house -- Phoebe can't help being deeply shaken. And when threatening messages appear on her doorstep, she's not just alarmed but frustrated. How do you go face-to-face with an opponent who refuses to look you in the eye?

Now, with Duncan backing her up every step of the way, she must establish contact with the faceless tormentor who is determined to make her a hostage to fear -- before she becomes the final showdown.

First off, one or two cons:

  • Duncan's last name. Ok, a minor, simple simple thing, but I couldn't help but sing Duncan Sheik songs whenever Duncan is mentioned in HIGH NOON. "I know what you're thinking..." Yeah, yeah, I know -- Swift and Sheik, but my mind automatically reverted to Sheik whenever I saw it.

  • By reading the plot, I couldn't help but think that this sounded a lot like one of the "In Death" books. Tough, strong, cop heroine, and a hero who kind of stands back and watches her work. In both cases, the hero here is brutally rich. But that's where the similarities end and I think the blurb did not do the book justice.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, I can go on all day about why HIGH NOON just worked for me, right? I mean, what's not to love about a Nora Roberts book, eh? Phoebe was just one of those women that I want to be one day: sexy but doesn't know it, can tote a gun and wears casual clothes like glam and make both look good, and thinks that her kid hung the moon and stars. I may be behind my in my Roberts TBR books, but I saw a hint of many of her books combined into this one, and it still comes across as an original. Phoebe seriously reminded me of one of the oldest sister in her Concannon Sisters trilogy. When she's attacked at work, we get to see the weaker side of Phoebe, but she doesn't let a coward bastard dictate how she'll live her life. From there, it's Nora Roberts' intricate relationship building and plotting that allows Phoebe to bend a little bit and learn to count on someone other than herself for a while.

Duncan seemed like a sleepy hero at first, and not one I'd originally pick for Phoebe. From the first meeting, I couldn't quite get a feel for him, and it's not until after maybe a solid third of the book is down when I saw what truly makes up this guy. When his "adopted" family is brought in and we get to meet Ma Bee and his best friend Phin's family, this is where Duncan develops more substance. He became more than just a playboy with money to spend in my eyes. Not only does he show Phoebe that there is more than meets the eye to him, but he steps in and becomes not only part of her life, but a welcome addition to her own family. They immediately love him.

And that, I think, is where Nora Roberts books just work -- at the center of it all, there's the family, whether they're blood-related or a patchwork quilt variety. It certainly makes the reading more rich for me, despite whatever gruel she puts her characters through.

I've been a fan of this woman for years and I usually let a lot of time lapse in between her books for me, and I think I've finally figured out why. Other than the fact that my TBR pile is beginning to resemble the Chrysler Building, that is. I'm almost afraid that one day, if and when I finish all of Nora's books (is that possible?), that they'll just stop and I won't have anything new from her to read. And that's just wrong. So, the longer I space them out, the more each book is like Christmas to me.

Does this make me a fan-girl? *shudder*


Leya said...

I read it a while ago, and enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much, I bought my own copy for my keeper shelf.

Yvonne said...

Nora Roberts is an auto-buy author for me and this one is sitting in my towering TBR. I haven't read a book of hers in awhile though. Not for any other reason than having too many other books to read. However, I've heard so many good things about High Noon. I should really get to it soon. Excellent review!