The Col­lec­tor – Nora Roberts

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BOOK REVIEW - By Christie Ridg­way

In The Col­lec­tor—the lat­est from pow­er­house au­thor Nora Roberts—writer and pro­fes­sional house-sit­ter Lila Emer­son en­joys the root­less qual­ity of her life since it al­lows her to ex­plore dif­fer­ent places and ob­serve dif­fer­ent peo­ple. As a mat­ter of fact, peoplewatching is her hobby of sorts. One night, as Lila set­tles in à la Jimmy Ste­wart in Hitch­cock’s Rear Win­dow to watch the ac­tiv­ity in a nearby New York City high-rise, she wit­nesses an as­sault that ends with a woman fall­ing from her apart­ment to her death. Lila’s emer­gency call brings the po­lice, but there are no clear-cut leads, since she didn’t see the per­pe­tra­tor. The next day, Lila vis­its the po­lice sta­tion, where she runs into Ash­ton Archer, the half brother of a man found dead in the apart­ment from which the woman fell. An artist from a wealthy, com­pli­cated fam­ily, the griev­ing Ash turns to Lila. He’s con­vinced it wasn’t a mur­der­sui­cide and is hop­ing she might be able to aid the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ash is moved by Lila’s kind­ness and com­pas­sion, and a visit to the apart­ment where she’s stay­ing—to see her van­tage point of wit­ness­ing the crime— makes him even more aware of her charms.

It’s not long be­fore Lila is drawn fur­ther into the mys­tery . . . and drawn to Ash. The tal­ented and suc­cess­ful painter is used to get­ting what he wants—and while he wants to un­cover the truth about the un­timely deaths, he also wants to ex­plore his feel­ings for the fas­ci­nat­ing Lila. The two en­joy their sim­mer­ing at­trac­tion, even though Lila fears it’s most likely just a byprod­uct of the in­tense sit­u­a­tion. Ash has fewer qualms, de­spite the fact that his fa­ther ac­cuses Lila of in­volve­ment in the crime and that the po­lice seem sus­pi­cious of their quick con­nec­tion. Af­ter an­other mur­der, Lila and Ash at­tempt to fer­ret out what’s go­ing on around them. Ash wor­ries about hav­ing dragged her into the dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, but Lila re­fuses to back away from him. Though it’s against her na­ture to hold onto things, Ash is prov­ing too tempt­ing to re­lease.

Ash and Lila are de­ter­mined to stop the killer be­fore more blood is shed, but their fer­ret­ing has made them the tar­get of the so­cio­pathic as­sas­sin. Afraid that if they re­treat the vil­lain will only hide and wait, Ash and Lila come up with a scheme that even the au­thor­i­ties feel is worth the risk to end the killings.

Rich his­tor­i­cal de­tails of Rus­sian trea­sure, a trip to vine­yards of Tus­cany and an in­de­pen­dent woman who must learn to rely on the gor­geous man who wants her both on his can­vases and in his life com­bine to make The Col­lec­tor a juicy, sus­pense­ful tale to snug­gle in with and sa­vor.

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