Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Angels Fall by Nora Roberts

Met every expectation. All good.


Reece Gilmore has come a long way to see the stunning view below her. As the sole survivor of a brutal crime back East, she has been on the run, desperately fighting the nightmares and panic attacks that haunt her. Reece settles in Angel's Fist, Wyoming-temporarily, at least-and takes a job at a local diner. And now she's hiked this mountain all by herself. It was glorious, she thought, as she peered through her binoculars at the Snake River churning below.

Then Reece saw the man and woman on the opposite bank. Arguing. Fighting. And suddenly, the man was on top of the woman, his hands around her throat . . .

Enjoying a moment of solitude a bit farther down the trail is a gruff loner named Brody. But by the time Reece reaches him and brings him to the scene, the pair has vanished. When authorities comb the area where she saw the attack, they find nothing. No signs of struggle. No freshly turned earth. Not even a tire track.

And no one in Angel's Fist seems to believe her. After all, she's a newcomer in town, with a reputation for being jumpy and jittery-maybe even a little fragile. Maybe it's time to run again, to move on . . .

Reece Gilmore knows there's a killer in Angel's Fist, even if Brody, despite his seeming impatience and desire to keep her at arm's length, is the only one willing to believe her. When a series of menacing events makes it clear that someone wants her out of the way, Reece must put her trust in Brody-and herself-to find out if there is a killer in Angel's Fist before it's too late.

What struck me most about this standalone novel from Roberts was its pace. It moved slowly, almost carefully. Roberts literally puts us in the mind of Reece Gilmore, a woman suffering a need for caution that tips to paranoia and a compulsion—for everything—that bends her to the neurotic. She is filled with trepidation and every step; every move she makes requires a lot of energy. Roberts immediately puts the reader in the same rhythm and lets us go forward at Reece’s pace.

The hero is muted as well. Not overbearing, just there. Smart, competent and masculine. Again, Roberts draws readers to him at Reece’s pace, instilling in us the same reluctance and doubt. And to make him more interesting than your average romance hero, Roberts gives Brody an air of boredom instead of patience. This is not a man who decides he wants the heroine and then patiently waits for her acquiescence. For him, at least on the surface, it appears that he could go either way. This only adds to the reader’s curiosity. And caution.

Despite the carefully measured pace however, we do get to see these two come together relatively early and enjoy each other throughout the remainder of the book. I like this about Roberts’ books—Roarke and Eve being her prime example. We can count on watching more than just the chase. Roberts goes further by giving us a window seat as the relationship grows.

The book’s setting—its location and supporting characters--also contributes to the tempo of the story. It takes place in a small town in Wyoming, where the Grand Teton loom yet comfort; where the town folk charm yet intrude. All at the small town pace. Roberts gives us a fully developed cast of characters and describes their physical surroundings in poetic detail. We see a good deal of this through Reece’s eyes, experiencing the same raw appreciation for nature’s beauty and power and the comfort found in the simpler things.

The mystery unfolds slowly as well. For most of the book, it is secondary to character development. Near the end, Roberts steps up the action and gives us an unexpected villain. I did figure it out with the first real clue—just a step ahead of Reece. But that didn’t bother me. Roberts tied it up quickly from there, without too much clutter (those innocent secondary characters she wanted readers to suspect).

Like I said, all good. Seems there are two covers though. Which I can't show you because Blogger won't let me.


  1. Great review, Jennifer! I just finished this one, and I agree with everything you say. I especially like what you say about the pacing. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right!

  2. Hey Rosario. Nice to see you back! I really did like how Roberts gave the reader the same sense of unease as her lead character. The last time I carried the same "feeling" or "sensation" around as I read a book it was with Robin Schone's The Lover and Gabriel's Woman.

  3. Another good review Jen, I haven't gotten round to reading any of the NR books that I got ages ago yet, I'm still reluctant to for whatever reason, although I must admit, I totally devour Eve and Roarke's books!

    By the way, do you realise it was a review that you wrote that prompted me to take Judgment In Death, into the Doctors surgery with me? I'd had some of those In Death books on my TBR list for months.

    The review wasn't even an NR or Robb book, but it was the reference you made about Roarke carrying around Eve's button, that made me try it out.

  4. Fabulous review!

    I'm a little leery myself on reading this now, I love NR but there's nothing that turns me off faster than an ambivalent hero. She did this with Logan in Blue Dahlia and it drove me insane.

  5. I absolutely agree with your review. I loved this book! The characters were wonderful, the story line great. I was a little hesitant to read it because I haven't loved her last couple of hardbacks (for instance, "Blue Smoke" did nothing for me). This book restored my faith in Nora. A must read!

  6. Karen - I didn't know that...but am happy that you (and Anne too) are enjoying the In Death series. Once I discovered them (a year or so ago), I consumed them. Straight up. No other reading while I tossed back over 20 In Death books. Probably shouldn't admit to that kind of obsessiveness...

    Hi Valeen - I wouldn't exactly call the hero in Angels Fall ambivalent. I just meant to say that he doesn't aggressively chase the heroine or assume that she will pick him. And he's adult enough to deal with the outcome, wherever it leads him. It doesn't detract from his masculinity at all.

    Hi Marianne - Of late, the only NR titles that haven't lived up to expectations were the flower trilogy (for lack of a better description). The last one was good, the first mediocre and the middle one just plain disappointed. I did like Blue Smoke, but agree that Angels Fall was better. I wonder how the new trilogy (coming this fall) will be? I believe she steps up the paranormal elements...

  7. Nice review and how true :D I'm happy that she came out with a good one. Blue Smoke wasn't so bad, but this one was definitively better :D

    I also wonder how is her new trilogy going to be. (thanx god it's one every month tho)Somehow, I can imagine how it's going to turn out to be. She's done gods and witches/psychics a number of time, but besides that... so I'm holding my breath.

  8. Man, I've got this one on my shelf right now and it's calling to me... it will be next, after I finish reading about Eve, Roarke, Peabody, McNab, Mavis, Leonardo, Feeney, and Summerset in Visions In Death. I'm down to 4 books in the In Death series *GASP* Then what? I'm going to have to actually chance finding a good book. *WAIL*

    WAIT! N. Roberts has a trilogy coming out soon... Neener, neener... seems I'm set for a while longer. *G*

    You are sooooo fabulous at writing reviews, Jen. You have a fabulous way with words. If you ever wrote a book, it would make me weep... guaranteed.

  9. Hi Nath - I guess overall, I just plain trust Roberts. I always enjoy her voice, regardless of setting, character or plot. Given that I'm not a huge fan of paranormals, it will be interesting to see what she brings to the table.

    Anne, you crack me up! But you are right, once you read the last published In Death book, there is a little period of uncertainty and mourning. LOL Don't buy that "what will I read?" stuff though cuz I KNOW you have a gazillion books lined up. Ahem.

    Start the Crazy books next. You'll love them.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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