Title: Shelter In Place
Author: Nora Roberts
Pages: 436; Price: Rs 699
I love romantic-suspenses. It gives me chance to indulge in two genres I love reading: Romance and suspense (or rather adds a dash of intrigue to my fave romance genre). Every summer, Nora Roberts comes out with at least one book (well, she does release several of them throughout the year, but the ones that come out in the summer are the ones I enjoy the most). Be it The Collector, Obsession, The Search, The Liar, The Witness, Come Sundown, or this year’s Shelter in Place – search and you will find most of them were released in summer or monsoon. I have always loved Nora’s romantic-suspenses, with several of them been re-read (The Villa, Carolina Moon, True Betrayals, to name a few). Though I would agree with the critque of her books that most of them have a similar plot line, but still, the way Nora unfolds the story is what makes me pick up her new novels as soon as they are out.
Shelter in Place opens with the DownEast Mall massacre, where three young boys open fire at the visitor to the mall and the theatres it houses, killing and injuring hundreds – A la 26/11 in Mumbai. Reed Quartmine (a waiter at one of the cafes in the mall) and Simone Knox are among two of the survivors. After the massacre, Simone gives up her law career to become an artist (her true calling), and Reed, having been affected by the massacre with the help of Officer Essie McVee (later detective), becomes a cop.
The three boys might have been the ones to pull the triggers, but the mastermind behind it (and we are introduced to the person quite early on in the book) is someone else. The revelation sent chills down my spine: How can a young teenager think about killing people just because you hate the society you live in? The mastermind (or rather the psychopath) over the span of 10 years (the story takes a leap immediately after the massacre), goes on to kill the survivors from the massacre. The mastermind has a hit list of sorts of the ones who received either fame or money after the massacre and on the top of her list are Simone (the first one to call 911 when the shootout started) and Reed, both had received a lot of publicity for their bravery and courage. Simone and Reed actually meet halfway in the book when Reed becomes the Cheif of Police of Tranquillity Island (a small island near Maine), where Simone stays with her grandmother.
The plot is nicely woven and the other characters in the book make quite a good supporting cast. I liked this book more than her last year’s offering, Come Sundown – at least in terms of plot and characterisation. I have little to complain here, except for the fact that a few pages where Nora gets too descriptive of either places of situations could have been edited out. For a change, love (and sex) between the protagonists don’t really rule the entire storytelling, rather, the plot does. How the suspense unfolds, the killing spree that the mastermind goes on and the climax is what I will leave for the readers to find out. Without revealing much, I would just say this is a must read for those who love romantic-suspenses.