Title: The Search
Author: Nora Roberts
No. of Pages: 496
Genre: Romance, Suspense
“To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescues. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare…
Several years ago, Fiona was the only survivor of the Red Scarf serial killer, who shot and killed Fiona’s cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.
On Orcas Island, Fiona found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. But all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He’s the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon’s house, and he’s at his wit’s end.
To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can’t handle. Simon, however, is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he’s a rugged and in-tensely private artist, known for the exquisite furniture he creates from wood. Simon never wanted a puppy-and he most definitely doesn’t want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to his hormones.
As Fiona embarks on training Jaws, and Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona’s life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the woman who slipped out of his hands…”
Thoughts: After almost 200 novels – she releases her 200th novel this year – fans of Nora Roberts have gotten very familiar with her formula for success. They know that they will always receive a kick-ass heroine, a gorgeous man who supports more than rescues, a suspenseful mystery, drop-dead scenery, and more than one pulse-racing scene. What sets The Search apart from the rest is the addition of four very goofy and absolutely lovable dogs.
In each of her novels, Ms. Roberts presents some little-known facet of society. She has showcased actresses, bush pilots, waitresses, homemakers, store owners, artists, and so many more. A reader always finishes one of her novels with a better understanding of the heroine’s chosen profession and another part of the country. In The Search, Ms. Roberts tackles dog training, canine search-and-rescue, and the mind of a serial killer. It is an unusual combination but one that works well. In fact, one may successfully argue that the dogs are the true stars of The Search. Jaws steals every scene he is in, while Fee’s three dogs charm their way into the reader’s heart with little more than an unwavering loyalty and fierce protective mode. Dog owners everywhere will be able to laugh the dogs’ antics and at Simon’s frustrations about Jaw’s destructive modes, his hyperactivity and the just-as-sudden need for a nap. Ms. Roberts captures the relationship between dog and owner perfectly, and the result is a truly heartwarming tale that helps one appreciate his or her own dogs.
Ms. Roberts’ novels are always a comforting pleasure. Her story formula very rarely wavers but it never fails to be successful. A reader knows what to expect but that never detracts from one’s enjoyment. In fact, it is a testament to her skill as an author that one is continually drawn into each book’s world, where the scenery comes to life and a reader feels that s/he unequivocally knows each character personally. The dialogue remains refreshingly honest and realistic. While the characters may be drop-dead gorgeous, they are comfortingly human. Therein lies Ms. Roberts’ power. The Search is yet another testament to why Ms. Roberts remains one of the most successful authors of all time.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.