Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Title Fifty: Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Black Hills is just what you expect from a Nora Roberts book. Falling under the category of "romantic suspense," you've got Lil and Cooper, childhood pals who become teen lovers before going their separate ways. Lil fulfills her dream of opening a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota, while Coop makes his own way first as a New York cop and then as a private investigator before returning to South Dakota to care for his aging grandparents and taking over the family farm and horse business. Lil is still angry with Cooper for leaving her behind all those years ago and refusing her love, and she doesn't buy his excuse that he had to become his own person before he could be anything to her. Lil, for her part, doesn't want to admit that if Cooper had stayed she would probably have given up her dreams of being a world-renowned big-cat expert. When a series of grisly crimes leads to a connection to a string of missing and murdered persons, Lil decides she'll let Cooper take care of her after all, at least in bed. The bad guy turns out to be a whack job pseudo-Indian with a grudge against Lil for "desecrating the land" or some shit, since he thinks she, as someone with Native American blood, should be building shrines to Crazy Horse instead of running a refuge. Eventually Lil and Cooper fall back in love, the bad dude gets caught after almost killing Lil, and everyone is happy. That's how these things go.

The good: a lot of solid and interesting detail and description of Lil's field, likeable characters and loveable animals, and a decent backstory for Cooper, who is the son of a wealthy NYC lawyer who cut off his son when the latter refused to follow in his footsteps.

The bad: it's predictable as hell, everything ends in love and marriage (my GOD, does everyone have to rush to the altar these days?), and I tend to prefer Roberts novels where the villain isn't revealed until the end, because I enjoy trying to figure out who it is and prefer a surprise ending.

I'll read it again, and I've already lent it to my mom, who is solely responsible for getting me hooked on Nora in the first place when I was a teen. Blame her for my mass-market tendencies.

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