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Summary: The only surviving victim of a now-jailed serial killer is haunted by a copycat while enjoying her new relationship with an artist.
When a formula works, many authors stick with it. Here's Nora Roberts' formula. One sexy heroine, who is an expert in her field, -archeology, photography, gardening, glass-blowing, magic (yes, I know), baking, hostage negotiation (yeah, it sound silly)- meets a man and has instant heat with him. They spar verbally, and then have explosive sex. Then the woman analyzes the relationship out loud, usually while shoe shopping or having spa time with her close girlfriend(s) but accepts that if the man doesn't feel the same way, she's okay with that, because she's an independent woman with a career and good friends, and she's just enjoying the sex too much. Then some minor thing occurs - the woman fixes his coffee just right, or rescues a cat - and then the man realizes he's in love too. Oh, and don't forget the moisturizer! Roberts' heroines always use moisturizer, even if they don't always use condoms.
Roberts' books are simplistic, predictable, and usually very enjoyable (Try Vision in White.) But The Search is Nora Roberts' attempt to get her readers to accept the more violent side of her writing, which she had already done in her many futuristic Eve Dallas books, written by her pseudonym J.D. Robb.
Here, Roberts takes her basic formula and adds a copycat serial killer to the mix. Fiona is the only surviving victim of a now-jailed serial killer. Fiona lives on an island now and is a search-and-rescue team leader and dog trainer. She is now being stalked by an acolyte of the killer. She also is having lots of (dining room table) sex with an wood-working artist who is grumpy and untidy. Instead of being heart-poundingly scary, the book felt like too many elements (along with the typical ones) were crammed into one book. I get that people's lives are complicated, but Roberts' books work best when her readers can identify with the main characters, at least a little bit. I imagine that the pool of surviving victims of serial killers is relatively small, and that they may not want to read modern romance novels about themselves. Disappointing read, compared with early Tami Hoag.