Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts (audio)

The Witness by Nora Roberts
Read by Julia Whelan
Brilliance Audio
April 2012
Length: 16 hours 30 minutes
Source: Library

Elizabeth Fitch's short-lived teenage rebellion began with L'Oreal Pure Black, a pair of scissors, and a fake ID. It ended in blood...

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. 

Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. 

Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town. 

The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn't know what - and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed. 

Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.

My thoughts: I really enjoy Nora Roberts' romantic suspense books and felt she knocked it out of the park with this one! Listening to it, I got so involved in the storyline that I had a hard time thinking about anything else when I wasn't listening.

The pace of this book was all over the place. It was fast with a lot of tension in the beginning as we met young Elizabeth, but then when the book moved ahead in time, it slowed down, only to pick up again a bit later. There were a few twists and turns throughout the book and while you pretty much are able to predict how some things will turn out, it's more about the journey. Nora Roberts is able to take us on a great journey in this book, especially with the romance that develops between Abbie and Brooks. 

When Abbie moves to the small town in the Ozarks, she keeps to herself. She mainly has everything delivered to her house, but occasionally runs into town. Brooks has seen her from afar and knows there's more to her than meets the eye. As he gets to know her, he seems to fight an inner battle with himself. The cop in him realizes from the start that she's hiding something, but the man in him just wants to break through her tough exterior and love her.

I loved the character of Abbie. She clearly is not a sociable human being - she has trouble doing small talk and is extremely literal. She actually reminds me of Temperance Brennan from the tv show, Bones. I think it's all the literalness that makes her quite endearing. I loved her interactions with both Brooks and his mother - who is quite pushy, in my opinion. She does exactly what she wants when she wants, but lucky for her it works in her favor most of the time! I also loved Abbie's dog, Bert. A dog-lover myself, I love reading about the special bonds between dogs and their owners. I found it fascinating that Abbie was able to not only learn so many different languages herself, but to teach Bert different commands in all the languages.

Audio thoughts: I though Julia Whelan did a great job with this narration. Having to read for a teenage girl and then transition to the young woman is no easy feat, and yet she was able to make it work without going over the top. There are quite a few characters in this book and each was given their own distinct voice and Julia handled the Russian accent quite well, in my opinion. This is the first time I've listened to Julia Whelan and I will certainly be checking to see what else she narrates.

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  1. This was one I really enjoyed listening to as well. I think the audio enhanced the story on this one!

  2. Thanks for your review. I've been curious about The Witness.

  3. I read the print version of the story and I completely agree with you about the pacing. I really liked the suspenseful beginning but then things slowed down a little too much. I did prefer the suspense parts to the romance. I think it is because Abbie was so clinical even about her relationship with Brooks.

    I felt really bad for Abbie because of her relationship with her uncaring mom and it was nice to see her get a happy ending. I also really appreciated how smart and strong she was.

    I am not a big Nora Roberts fan but I definitely liked this one more than I thought I would and I think her romantic suspense must be better than her straightforward romance.

  4. I've heard such good things about this one I bought it in print, now I'm wishing I'd got the audio. I still haven't had a chance to pick it up though. Great review :)


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