Review – The Witness by Nora Roberts

Publisher: Putnam
Publish Date: April 17th
How I got this book: NetGalley

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems–and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something–and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller
author–and will leave people hungering for more.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I was a late-comer to the Nora Roberts fan club. I know this sounds crazy, but up until two years ago, I was a strictly paranormal, UF reader and Nora never even crossed my radar. Once I started branching out to contemporary romance I first picked up the Bride Quartet books. From that moment on, I’ve been a Nora fangirl.

Elizabeth is a child genius, and stuck under her mother’s oppressive thumb. But when one night of bad decisions leaves her witness to a double murder by a notorious crime family, she finds herself on the run. As Abigail, she lives in seclusion, away from people and town and with her huge, fierce guide dog. But when the local police chief, Brooks, enters her life, she finds she doesn’t want to run anymore. Together, Brooks and Abigail will take on not only the mob, but a rather large problem in their own town. With Brooks to watch her back, Abigail finds the strength to stand up and fight.

I absolutely adored this book. Let me start by saying that Elizabeth/Abigail reminds me so much of Brennan from the TV show BONES. She is super smart, very logical, and sure of her own intelligence and skills. She is socially awkward and yet has a heart of gold. I fell in love with her character almost instantly and wanted nothing more than to protect her from what I could tell was going to be a huge train wreck.

The book was broken into major sections, and I liked the way it flowed both together and in its own sections. The first portion of the book is with Elizabeth as a young girl. It follows the oppression by her mother, the thrill of doing something wrong for the first time, and her dealing with the consequences. I was so impressed with the maturity of her character, that at times it didn’t feel as if she was a teenager. Toward the end of the first section I had already broken into tears twice!

Once the book moves forward in years and follows the adult Abigail, the story slows down a bit and starts to focus more on the romance and the ways that Abigail has managed to stay hidden for so long. I like the way that we get to see Abigail come out of her shell a little, learn to trust people again. I especially adored the way Brooks and his mother bombarded her, forcing her to quit being a hermit.

It’s also during this time that we get to really know Brooks. We get to see the kind of man he is, honorable and alpha and sexy as hell. Getting to see Brooks in action in great as well, and we get to see the first stirrings of trouble in the small town when an entitled kid goes on a crime spree. Watching Brooks deal with the pressure of his job while trying to protect and care for Abigail was perfect.

The suspense portion of this book picked up a little toward the end, but never really gained the same intensity as the first few chapters. While I was worried that might bother me, I found that I liked the fact that there wasn’t some crazy involved mess to wrap the story up. I will admit though that I may have rolled my eyes once or twice at the way that Abigail brought down the Russian mob almost single handedly. While I never once doubted her mad computer/intelligence skills, I did think it was a little unreal that she would be able to achieve so much on her own, on the run. Not only that, but I found it a little silly that Brooks didn’t put a halt to her somewhat shady way of going about it. Sure, you might need to fight fire with fire, but for Brooks, the CHIEF OF POLICE to turn a blind eye, I was a little disappointed in him for that.

All in all I adored this book. It was exactly what I was hoping for the other day when I picked it up. It was full of emotion, a great romance and a fabulous read. I can always count on Roberts to deliver a strong story with characters that are easy to love in their own special ways. Despite the small problems I had with it, the book was a fabulous read!
I give The Witness an A-

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11 thoughts on “Review – The Witness by Nora Roberts”

  1. I just finished this book. Nora Roberts can always be relied upon to provide a good read. I thought the character of Elizabeth/Abigail was interesting. She reminded me of Lisbeth from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Both are computer hackers and unbelievably smart, both can handle themselves physically, both are terrible at relationships, and both have photographic memories.

    I also think Abigail was very lucky that Brooks was so patient. She was so hostile to him at first, but he kept on coming back. Now where can I find him in the real world?

  2. Pingback: Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts - Fiction Vixen Book Reviews

  3. @jm: It’s a good one!

    @Jane: I haven’t read the Dragon Tattoo books, but if the heroines are alike, I might have to check it out sooner! 🙂

  4. I won’t bother to repeat a plot summary since that is already available in other reviews and in the listing, but I will say this is the most enjoyable Nora Roberts book I have read in a very long time.

    The “socially awkward genius” schtick has been done many other times but Roberts seems to far surpass many of those efforts in creating a character with vocabulary, knowledge and actions that truly reflect the higher IQ. In other words, it is really easy to believe that Abigail is far smarter than me, probably you, and pretty much everybody else other than maybe Bill Gates. Okay, having her invent her own computer language before devising a way to meld a virus with a worm was perhaps a bit overkill – but with 500+ pages to play around in Roberts was clearly having some fun. The character of Brooks will be soundly familiar to fans as a modern affable guy who is steadfast in his support and admiration of Abigail, and progressive enough to never be threatened when her talents and skill in certain areas clearly outshine his own. The surrounding cast are standard small town “just good people” that populate most books about small towns with a couple of clearly rotten eggs thrown in for background drama.

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