Thursday, May 21, 2009

High Noon by Nora Roberts ****

Nora Roberts does stories with beta heroes and kickass heroines better than just about every romance writer, and High Noon is one! Phoebe MacNamara is a police hostage negotiator - a career she sought out after having spent some years as a child fearing her abusive alcoholic step-father, and then being held hostage by him. The negotiator in that hostage situation, Dave, is now her boss and a beloved mentor that she views as the closest thing she's had as a father figure.

Duncan Swift, the beta hero guy, is a multi-millionaire - he got that way from winning the lottery! He now owns a lot of properties and businesses - and one of his employees is talked out of jumping off the roof by Phoebe. He decides he wants to get to know more about this spitfire woman!

As they get to know each other, the reader learns about Phoebe's highly dysfunctional family - her agoraphobic mother, her deceased aunt Bess who left her house to Phoebe with some weird twists that make it impossible for Phoebe to live anywhere else (she hates this house). Plus, there's someone tormenting Phoebe - leaving dead animals on her doorstep. Could it be that misogynist cop Phoebe suspended from the force, or is there someone even more twisted out to sabotage Phoebe's career, her family, maybe even her life? Duncan is there for her - he stands behind her, supporting her decisions (with only a couple of well-written arguments during the course of their courtship over what his position is).

The suspense is well done, and there's some seriously gory moments - if you have a weak stomach for reading suspense and murder, you might want to stay away from High Noon. There are references to the movie High Noon - the suspect calls himself Cooper (Gary Cooper) and the final showdown happens at noon, plus he whistles the theme song as he watches Phoebe from afar.

Susan Ericksen is a good narrator - she manages to create good character voices (ok, her Carly voice was kinda whiny) and keep the story moving forward with a lot of excitement and interest. All in all, it was a solid 4 star listen.

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