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River's End is not the first book I have read by this author, Nora Roberts. I am not against reading a good romance novel. Especially one with the twists and turns of a good crime story. Which is what Nora Roberts does so well. But reader beware, this is a romance novel and if you don't like that kind of thing - this book is not for you. But if you love a good love story with more, read on. The book opens with little Olivia Turner, only 4 years old. She seems to have the perfect life with her parents who are hollywood stars. Living in a beautiful house with her mother and father who dote on their little angel. But things start to go bad when her father, Sam Turner, starts to see his career go downhill and he turns to drugs to ease the pain and jealousy of his wife's rising career. As drugs take over his life, Olivia's mother, Julie Turner, is forced to throw her husband out of the house until he gets treatment. Olivia is lost and confused by her parent's problems. But things go from bad to worse when one night Olivia wakes from a nightmare and goes looking for her mother. Hearing lovely music, her search takes Oliva downstairs where she finds her mother covered in blood with her father standing over her mother, also covered in blood with a pair of scissors in his hands. Scared to death, Olivia runs and hides in her closet with her stuffed animals. This is where detective Frank Brady finds her, in shock and unable to move. She is convinced the monster is going to get her. But Brady coaxes her out of the closet where she then clings to him and cries for him to protect her from the monster. The case haunts Brady long after he has locked Sam Turner away. It also comes to haunt his 8 year old son, Noah, when Noah sees Olivia's four year old face crying on the television when the press swooped down on her. Noah is never able to push that image out of his mind. In typical Hollywood fashion, the media is unable to let go of the sensational tragedy of the two stars. So Olivia's family decides it is best to keep Olivia out of the spot light and send her to live with her grandparents in the beautiful Olympic rain forest on the Washington coast. Olivia grows up and comes to love the forest as her mother and her twin, Olivia's aunt, did. But the monster never really goes away. Noah grows up, never quite forgetting Olivia. He becomes a real crime writer, to his father's disappointment. Noah is surprised when convicted murderer Sam Turner contacts him and asks him to write the real story of what happened that night. Noah, who has been haunted by the story since he was 8, agrees to it. But will the story he wants to write destroy all who are involved or will it finally heal a wound that has been covered, not healed. As this book goes on to follow the lives of these people who the murder had touched, I found myself caring about them and losing myself in Robert's beautiful descriptions of the rain forest and the life Olivia came to live. While the romance part of the book is very strong, I have to say that the crime thriller aspect of the book has a very strong showing too, the book never lets you forget that it is also a crime story. I can see this book not appealing to everyone. After all, romance novels are a particular taste. If you don't like that type of book, then you will not have read anything by Nora Roberts and this should be missed. As for the crime aspect of this book, I thought it was very well done. The violence is descriptive enough to get your attention, but far from graphic. The plot of the crime aspect may be surprising to some, others may have it figured out before half the book is read. Upon deciding to write this op for here, I went to several other sites to read what other people had to say about this book. I found it got very mixed reviews. Some said it was a real page turner and they loved it. Some said that it was not Robert's best work and a few even said that it was boring and the plot was obvious. My opinion of it was that it was excellent. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down until the end. But like all things, it is an opinion. If this is your kind of thing - I would say most definetly give it a go. I will enjoy reading this book over again and am glad I own it. For those of you who can't stomach romance - you don't know what you are missing.
I love the starting of River's End. The book takes its time to get to the love story. It begins by telling the tale of Olivia's mother's murder and its aftermath. Then the story speeds forward and describes Olivia as a 12 year-old, first coming to terms with what she witnessed 8 years earlier, and meeting Noah, the investigator's son. Again the book speeds forward and shows us Olivia as a 19 year-old, and describes an encounter she has with Noah, who now wants to write a true crime book about her mother's murder. Finally the book speed forward again to present time and gets into Noah's life 6 years later when he finally decides to write the book about the McBride murder, and his ensuing entanglement with Olivia. I respect Nora's ability to tell a riveting story that not only lets you see love and fairy tales but also the gritty, real side of life. I understand not every one sees murder and mayhem in their own family every day, but how many people grow up to be cinderella? The ending was good although slighty short but I was never real sure just who the killer was until the end. I guess I'm no Nancy Drew. Overall a good read.