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Nora Roberts, Blue Smoke - Fire, Romance and Suspense
Blue Smoke - Nora Roberts
Member Name: charlie_bravo
Blue Smoke - Nora Roberts
Advantages: An easy yet compelling read, I couldn't put down...
Disadvantages: Plot was a little predictable at times.
From the prolific romance writer Nora Roberts Blue Smoke was one of those books that I found myself reading way into the night because I just couldn't bring myself to put it down. Not being a big fan of romance novels myself I was surprised to discover Nora's books when not having anything to read one day, I borrowed one and loved it. Blue Smoke is not merely a romance although I'm sure that any keen reader of the genre would appreciate it but also a thriller. This book is a great example of how Roberts is able to combine the two styles through her writing ability and characterisations that draw you into the story and keep you hooked.
The book begins by providing the reader with a back-story to the main character Reena. Reena Hale's history begins when a young neighbour attacks her as a child and the confrontation between their fathers leads to the arson of her families restaurant Sirico's. That night was to shape the rest of Reena's life and the woman she would become. Stood in the dark watching as the restaurant that was so integral to her family's life burnt to the ground Reena was fascinated by the flames. The contradiction between the beauty and power of the fire and the destruction and sadness that it brings was intriguing to the 11 year old girl. Encouraged and inspired by a lifelong bond with the fire investigator she met that day, an adult Reena would become a police fire investigator herself.
Bo Goodnight, who is introduced as Reena's next-door neighbour provides the romance element of the book. I hated the name given to this character as I felt it was a shame to give such a well-written book such a cheesy, cringe worthy named central character. A small element of the book maybe, but it was a reminder for me of all the things I usually hate about romance novels. However this was a personal annoyance and as criticism goes it is only a small one. Bo pursues Reena having had a couple of near misses where he has almost met her in the past and experiences a feeling of love at first sight. This feeling develops for Bo when the girl whose image has stuck in his memory, their paths having crossed only fleetingly, moves in next door.
As Reena's life is looking settled with potential love interest Bo events start to turn sinister as a string of anonymous calls and suspicious fires begin and she must employ every skill and strength she has learnt professionally and personally to protect herself and the people she cares about. As the plot develops it becomes clear that Reena is the key to the events happening around her. Roberts' ability to make you feel invested in her characters makes the fire fighting scenes all the more suspenseful and carries you along with the story. Although not the most sophisticated of plots I found the telling of it entertaining.
I would without a doubt recommend this book and would suggest that if romance novels are not your cup of tea it is still worth giving it a try. This book cannot be judged as purely a romance or as a crime thriller as it is a combination of these things. Being based on neither one genre nor the other may deter some crime or romance readers but it is this combination that I found appealing. Although a little predictable in plot as I find with most thrillers the romantic element serves to make it a lighter read.
Summary: Enjoyable read. Recommended, romance with a twist