Black Hills by Nora Roberts
Recently I haven’t been reading the new Nora Roberts romantic suspenses as soon as they came out. But I decided to get Black Hills when it was released last week. I was pleased to see I can use it in my 999 challenge, so started and finished it already. (I bought a signed copy, no less.)
I was hooked in the first chapter or two when we meet a resentful 11-year-old who has been sent to South Dakota to stay with his grandparents rather than staying in New York City for the summer with his friends.
The novel goes on to chronicle Cooper’s friendship with the “farm girl” Lil. Then he broke her heart. Now, 20 years after their first meeting, he’s returned to South Dakota to stay, finally leaving New York City behind.
Lil is a strong character who has built her own animal refuge there in the Black Hills. Roberts did her research to get the right tone for the refuge – where wild animals aren’t pets but are protected. Those that can be are released back to the wild. Those that can’t can live out their lives there.
There is a hunter who has settled in the mountains there whose prey is women. The current prey in his sights is Lil. She understand the land and the hunt. She should be worthy of his skills. The suspense part of the book with the hunter is edgy, keeping the reader caught right in.
The tension is high between Coop and Lil as well, but not as riveting to the reader. Often I felt that the romance is added in because that’s what Roberts writes, but that the real story is the refuge and the serial killer.
Since I’m still chipping away at my web site, this review won’t appear there soon. But I had to mention it because it is new and is Nora’s. The characters are good – including the background characters – Coop’s grandparents, Lil’s parents, her “brother” and her best friend.
Overall I’d say Black Hills is one of Nora Roberts stronger romantic suspense novels in the past few years, but it’s strength is in the suspense and refuge, not the romance.