Saturday, July 14, 2018

Book Review: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Shelter in Place
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication: St. Martin's Press (May 29, 2018)

Description: From Nora Roberts, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Year One (December 2017), comes Shelter in Place— a powerful tale of heart, heroism . . . and propulsive suspense.

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at video game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies' room, helplessly clutching her cell phone--until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn't satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait--and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

My Thoughts: This standalone thriller begins at the DownEast Mall outside Portland, Maine, on a July evening in 2005. Two girls take their friend to the latest science fiction movie to help her get over being dumped on social media by her boyfriend of seven months only to find out that he, and the girl he threw her over for, are at the same showing. A college sophomore takes his break from the restaurant where he works to chat up the girl he liked to date at the sunglasses kiosk and then stops off at the gaming store to get his buddy to ride shotgun for him. A perfectly normal evening at hundreds of malls across the country...until the shooters arrive.

Simone, our heartbroken girl, is in the restroom when the shots begin in the theater she just left. She's the first to call 911. Then she stays hiding until the police come to find her. Reed, our boy looking for a date, hears the shots on the way back to his job, rescues a small boy looking for his mother, and hides in the sunglasses kiosk next to the body of the girl he wanted to date. The first cops on the scene were outside in the parking lot dealing with a fender bender when the call came in. Officer Essie McVee rushes into the mall along with her partner. Backup is three minutes out.

In eight minutes, the whole thing is over. Three 16 and 17-year-olds are dead as are their 80-some victims. Hundreds are wounded and, wounded or not, no one there is unaffected.

Thirteen years later, Patricia, the younger sister of the boy Essie killed, is ready to get revenge for those people she blames for killing her brother. She's a psychopath, sure she's smarter than anyone else, and she is motivated to right what she sees as the injustice of her brother's death. In fact, she is the one who planned the whole mall shooting but her brother moved up the timeline before she was ready.

Reed has become a cop who has been investigating the shooting and aftermath in his spare time for his whole career. He and Essie are partners both in the police force and in the investigation. Patricia tracks him down and shoots him and he wounds her too. As part of his recovery, he goes to Tranquility Island which he remembers fondly from childhood family vacations and where he meets CiCi who is a free-spirited artist who happens to be the grandmother of Simone. Simone has also become an artist after going through her own tough time after the shooting.

Reed becomes the new Chief of Police and he and Simone fall in love. However, Patricia needs to be caught before they can finally move on. Tensions mount as Patricia claims more and more victims and both Reed and Simone know that they are on her hit list.

This book has all the elements that Nora Roberts is known for. The characters have strong support systems and strong networks of friends. Both Reed and Simone are strong, caring people who don't need a relationship to fill gaps in their lives. Though they are very different people, the cop and the artist enrich each other's lives.

This was a fast-paced story filled with suspense and love. I couldn't put it down.

Favorite Quote:
"Isn't the world a fascinating place, Reed: How it intersects, crosses, separates, pulls back? That boy destroyed that sweet girl, and she was a sweet girl. He destroyed all hper potential. Simone brought her back, triumphantly, with er talent and the love she had for our Tish. This police officer responds because fate put her right there, and stops that sick boy from taking even more lives than he had, and helped Simone through the start of the awful aftermath."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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