The Witness – Nora Roberts

Abigail Lowery is a reclusive young woman who has set up home in the quite, peaceful, small town of Bickford. She avoids social contact, and very much keeps herself to herself. Brooks Gleason, the chief of police, develops an interest in her. It starts as half-way professional, and quickly becomes an obsession.

Abigail’s problem is that she is hiding a secret past, and is fearful of being discovered. She has extensive home security, and more guns than the police department. She doesn’t want any relationship or involvement.

The book opens with Abigail’s secret, so we know what it is and can follow her concerns and her gradual move towards trusting Brooks.

This is a strange, unevenly paced book. First, the opening is violent, explosive, well written and sharp. After that, the story goes slow, slow, slow, and slower until the ending. And then it feels like it’s a rushed job because the author lost interest. Or was a chunk edited out?

Let’s stand back and see what we have here. The lead character is very interesting; sort of a different take on a Mallory type of a female action hero. And there are some funny and touching moments thrown up by her character and her interaction with the world. Brooks is a romantic character caught in the wrong genre, but he’ll do. The rest are fill ins.

The plot is straightforward, with little in the way of twist or surprise. The ending is flat, flat, flat. It was a real downer after the early promise.

Roberts is a best selling author who is famous, successful, and lauded as being a talented writer. On the basis of this book, some of these plaudits are overdone. In short, interesting but flawed. The interesting bits are very interesting. Unfortunately, the flawed bits are bloody awful.  (I’d love to have a chat with the editor. Was there an editor?)

Score: 5.5/10