Saturday, April 07, 2012

Review: Black Hills by Nora Roberts

First line: Cooper Sullivan's life, as he'd known it, was over.

From the inside cover: A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered  the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying  discovery of a hiker's body.

As the seasons change and the years roll by, Lil remains steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.

Coop recently left his fast-paced life as an investigator in New York to take care of his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something...or someone...has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, memories of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.

Lil and Coop know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

My thoughts: I have been reading Nora Roberts for a long time. I have read quite a lot of her series and trilogies as well as many of her stand-alones. This one is a stand-alone and has a nice blend of romance and suspense. I was hooked from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down - luckily I was reading it while in Aruba sitting on the beach, so I was able to devour it in a little over a day!

Black Hills takes place in South Dakota. Lil, who has a special love of cougars, runs a wildlife refuge on her family's land. She is being threatened for reasons that are at first unclear. Her childhood love, Coop, left South Dakota to make his home permanently in New York, but he comes back to take care of his grandparents. He soon gets involved with the investigation of the threat and before you know it, the sparks are once again flying between Lil and Coop. These two characters are at the heart of the story, but the cast of secondary characters add fun and depth, especially the romance brewing between Lil's college roommate Tansy and the helper, Farley. Even the villain, a lone killer seeking imaginary revenge, is a well-written and complex character.

This story is a marvelous blend of family relationships, suspense and love that just about everyone will be able to connect with. I particularly liked that there is an educational component to this book as we learn about the management of a wildlife refuge as well as the rescuing and taking care of exotic animals. I found this to be interesting as well as pretty informative. I look forward to reading more of Nora Roberts, especially her stand-alones. 

Have you read anything by Nora Roberts lately?

(I was given this book from a family member.)

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  1. I enjoyed this one too and I have Celebrity In Death up soon.

    1. I haven't read any of the In Death books - might have to look into them!


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