Divine Evil

( 231 )

Overview

Bestselling author Nora Roberts dazzles once again with a powerful tale of passion, murder, and small-town scandal. In this classic novel, a woman returns to the home she left behind, to a past that is waiting to kill her....

A decade ago, sculptor Clare Kimball fled Emmitsboro, Maryland, to take the art world by storm. Now she’s celebrated as the artist of her generation. But no amount of success can eclipse the nightmares that haunt her—or the memories of her father’s suicide....

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Divine Evil

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Overview

Bestselling author Nora Roberts dazzles once again with a powerful tale of passion, murder, and small-town scandal. In this classic novel, a woman returns to the home she left behind, to a past that is waiting to kill her....

A decade ago, sculptor Clare Kimball fled Emmitsboro, Maryland, to take the art world by storm. Now she’s celebrated as the artist of her generation. But no amount of success can eclipse the nightmares that haunt her—or the memories of her father’s suicide. Just as her star is shining brighter than ever, Clare leaves it all behind to face her demons.

Emmitsboro sheriff Cameron Rafferty loved Clare from afar all through high school. Now that she’s back, they form a bond that grows stronger each day—fueled by an attraction that’s been simmering for years. But Clare’s past soon rises up with a vengeance, rocking the town with a sinister murder that is clearly linked to her return. As an investigation gets under way, Clare and Cameron will learn that evil can linger anywhere—even in those you love and trust the most. But it’s a discovery that may come too late to save them.…

The New York Times bestselling author of Carnal Innocence and Honest Illusions unveils a white-hot love story driven by chilling suspense. Sculptor Clare Kimball's dynamic, individualistic style has set the New York art scene on its ear. But when Clare travels back to her tiny home town, she must confront her father's suicide, her half-remembered childhood fears, and an untimely romance. Original.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Roberts] can make romance seem fresh and hopeful every time.”—Time

“The undisputed queen of romance.”—New York Post
 
“A consistently entertaining writer.”—USA Today

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clare Kimball, an accomplished sculptor, is troubled by depression and the return of childhood nightmares. So she takes a break from New York City and heads for her sleepy hometown in Maryland, despite its association with her beloved father's violent but apparently accidental death. Cameron Rafferty, formerly the town hellion, is now the sheriff and faced with a puzzle: the century-old grave of an infant has been dug up. In fact, the grave was robbed by Satan worshipers; Clare's dreams date from the night in her childhood when she saw them performing a coven ceremony--and they know she saw them. Cam's problems are compounded when the mutilated corpse of his hated stepfather is discovered in a field after the two have a public fistfight. Cam and Clare are an engaging couple, but by relying on the most obvious plot complications, Roberts has made her latest romantic mystery a virtually no-thrills thriller. (Is there a single reader who won't prediet that Clare will end up in the coven's clutches?) Also, while this tale is about ritual murders instead of a serial killer, the work's marked similarities to last year's Carnal Innocence give it the feeling of being a rerun. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553294903
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 583,420
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts was the first writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. The New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Sweet Revenge and Divine Evil, she has become one of today's most successful and best-loved writers. Nora Roberts lives with her family in Maryland.

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The rite began an hour after sunset. The circle had been prepared long ago, a perfect nine feet, by the clearing of trees and young saplings. The ground had been sprinkled with consecrated earth.

Clouds, dark and secretive, danced over the pale moon.

Thirteen figures, in black cowls and cloaks, stood inside the protective circle. In the woods beyond, a lone owl began to scream, in lament or in sympathy. When the gong sounded, even he was silenced. For a moment, there was only the murmur of the wind through the early spring leaves.

In the pit at the left side of the circle, the fire already smoldered. Soon the flames would rise up, called by that same wind or other forces.

It was May Day Eve, the Sabbat of Roodmas. On this night of high spring, both celebration and sacrifice would be given for the fertility of crops and for the power of men.

Two women dressed in red robes stepped into the circle. Their faces were not hooded and were very white, with a slash of scarlet over their lips. Like vampires who had already feasted.

One, following the careful instructions she had been given, shed her robe and stood naked in the light of a dozen black candles, then draped herself over a raised slab of polished wood.

She would be their altar of living flesh, the virgin on which they would worship. The fact that she was a prostitute and far from pure disturbed some of them. Others simply relished her lush curves and generously spread thighs.

The high priest, having donned his mask of the Goat of Mendes, began to chant in bastardized Latin. When he had finished his recitation, he raised his arms high toward the inverted pentagram above the altar. A bell was rung to purify the air.

From her hiding place in the brush, a young girl watched, her eyes wide with curiosity. There was a burning smell coming from the pit where flames crackled, sending sparks shooting high. Odd shapes had been carved in the trunks of the circling trees.

The young girl began wondering where her father was. She had hidden in his car, giggling to herself at the trick she was playing on him. When she had followed him through the woods, she hadn't been afraid of the dark. She'd never been afraid. She had hidden, waiting for the right time to jump out and into his arms.

But he had put on a long, dark coat, like the others, and now she wasn't sure which one was Daddy. Though the naked woman both embarrassed and fascinated her, what the grown-ups were doing no longer seemed like a game.

She felt her heart beating in her throat when the man in the mask began to chant again.

"We call on Ammon, the god of life and reproduction. On Pan, the god of lust."

After the calling of each name, the others repeated it. The list was long.

The group was swaying now, a deep hum rising up among them while the high priest drank from a silver chalice. Finished, he set the cup down between the breasts of the altar.

He took up a sword and pointing it south, east, north, and west, called up the four princes of hell.

Satan, lord of fire

Lucifer, bringer of light

Belial, who has no master

Leviathan, serpent of the deep

In the brush, the young girl shuddered and was afraid.

"Ave, Satan."

"I call upon you, Master, Prince of Darkness, King of the Night, throw wide the Gates of Hell and hear us." The high priest shouted the words, not like a prayer, but a demand. As his voice rang out, he held up a parchment. The lights from the greedy flames washed through it like blood. "We ask that our crops be bountiful, our cattle fruitful. Destroy our enemies, bring sickness and pain to those who would harm us. We, your faithful, demand fortune and pleasure." He placed a hand on the breast of the altar. "We take what we wish, in your name, Lord of the Flies. In your name, we speak: Death to the weak. Wealth to the strong. The rods of our sex grow hard, our blood hot. Let our women burn for us. Let them receive us lustfully." He stroked down the altar's torso and between the thighs as the prostitute, well-schooled, moaned and began to move under his hand.

His voice rose as he continued his requests. He thrust the sword's point through the parchment and held it over the flame of a black candle until all that remained of it was the stink of smoke. The chant of the circle of twelve swelled behind him.

At some signal, two of the cloaked figures pulled a young goat into the circle. As its eyes rolled in fright, they chanted over it, nearly screaming now. The athamas was drawn, the ceremonial knife whose freshly whetted blade glimmered under the rising moon.

When the girl saw the blade slice across the white goat's throat, she tried to scream, but no sound passed her lips. She wanted to run, but her legs seemed rooted to the ground. She covered her face with her hands, weeping and wanting to call for her father.

When at last she looked again, the ground ran with blood. It dripped over the sides of a shallow silver bowl. The voices of the men were a roaring buzz in her ears as she watched them throw the headless carcass of the goat into the fire pit.

Now the stink of roasting flesh hung sickeningly in the air.

With a ululant cry, the man in the goat mask tore off his cloak. Beneath he was naked, his white, white skin glimmering with sweat, though the night was cool. Glinting on his chest was a silver amulet inscribed with old and secret symbols.

He straddled the altar, then drove himself hard between her thighs. With a howling scream, a second man fell on the other woman, dragging her to the ground, while the others tore off their cloaks to dance naked around the pit of fire.

She saw her father, her own father, dip his hands into the sacrificial blood. As he capered with the others, it dripped from his fingers. . . .

Clare woke, screaming.

Breathless, chilled with sweat, she huddled under the blankets. With one trembling hand, she fumbled for the switch on the bedside lamp. When that wasn't enough, she rose to flip on others until the small room was flooded with light. Her hands were still unsteady when she drew a cigarette from a pack and struck a match.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, she smoked in silence.

Why had the dream come back now?

Her therapist would say it was a knee-jerk reaction to her mother's recent marriage--subconsciously she felt her father had been betrayed.

That was bull.

Clare blew out a defiant stream of smoke. Her mother had been windowed for over twelve years. Any sane, loving daughter would want her mother's happiness. And she was a loving daughter. She just wasn't so sure about the sane part.

She remembered the first time she'd had the dream. She'd been six and had wakened screaming in her bed. Just as she had tonight. But then, her parents had rushed in to gather her up and soothe. Even her brother, Blair, had come in, wide-eyed and wailing. Her mother had carried him off while her father stayed with her, crooning in his calm, quiet voice, promising her over and over that it was only a dream, a bad dream that she would soon forget.

And she had, for long stretches of time. Then it would creep up on her, a grinning assassin, when she was tense or exhausted or vulnerable.

She stabbed out the cigarette and pressed her fingers to her eyes. Well, she was tense now. Her one-woman show was less than a week away, and though she had personally chosen each piece of sculpture that would be shown, she was plagued with doubts.

Perhaps it was because the critics had been so enthusiastic two years before, at her debut. Now that she was enjoying success, there was so much more to lose. And she knew the work that would be shown was her best. If it was found to be mediocre, then she, as an artist, was mediocre.

Was there any label more damning?

Because she felt better having something tangible to worry about, she rose and opened the draperies. The sun was just coming up, giving the streets and sidewalks of downtown Manhattan an almost rosy hue. Pushing open the window, she shivered once in the chill of the spring morning.

It was almost quiet. From a few blocks up, she could hear the grind of a garbage truck finishing its rounds. Near the corner of Canal and Greene, she saw a bag lady pulling a cart with all her worldly possessions. The wheels squeaked and echoed hollowly.

There was a light in the bakery directly across and three stories down. Clare caught the faint strains of Rigoletto and the good yeasty scent of baking bread. A cab rumbled past, valves knocking. Then there was silence again. She might have been alone in the city.

Was that what she wanted? she wondered. To be alone, to find some spot and dig into solitude? There were times when she felt so terribly disconnected, yet unable to make a place just for herself.

Wasn't that why her marriage had failed? She had loved Rob, but she had never felt connected to him. When it was over, she'd felt regret but not remorse.

Or perhaps Dr. Janowski was right, and she was burying her remorse, all of it, every ounce of grief she had felt since her father died. Channeling it out through her art.

And what was wrong with that? She started to stuff her hands into the pockets of her robe when she discovered she wasn't wearing it. A woman had to be crazy to stand in an open window in SoHo wearing nothing but a flimsy Bill the Cat T-shirt. The hell with it, she thought and leaned out farther. Maybe she was crazy.

She stood, her bright red hair disheveled from restless sleep, her face pale and tired, watching the light grow and listening to the noise begin as the city woke.

Then she turned away, ready for work.

It was after two when Clare heard the buzzer. It sounded like an annoying bee over the hiss of the torch in her hand and the crash of Mozart booming from the stereo. She considered ignoring it, but the new piece wasn't going very well, and the interruption was a good excuse to stop. She turned off her torch. As she crossed her studio, she pulled off her safety gloves. Still wearing her goggles, skullcap, and apron, she flicked on the intercom.

"Yes?"

"Clare? Angie."

"Come on up." Clare punched in the security code and released the elevator. After pulling off her cap and goggles, she walked back to circle the half-formed sculpture.

It stood on her welding table in the rear of the loft, surrounded by tools--pliers, hammers, chisels, extra torch tips. Her tanks of acetylene and oxygen rested in their sturdy steel cart. Beneath it all was a twenty-foot square of sheet metal, to keep sparks and hot drippings off the floor.

Most of the loft space was taken over by Clare's work--chunks of granite, slabs of cherrywood and ash, hunks and tubes of steel. Tools for hacking, prying, sanding, welding. She'd always enjoyed living with her work.

Now she approached her current project, eyes narrowed, lips pursed. It was holding out on her, she thought, and she didn't bother to look around when the doors of the elevator slid open.

"I should have known." Angie LeBeau tossed back her mane of black, corkscrew curls and tapped one scarlet Italian pump on the hardwood floor. "I've been calling you for over an hour."

"I turned off the bell. Machine's picking it up. What do you get from this, Angie?"

Blowing out a long breath, Angie studied the sculpture on the worktable. "Chaos."

"Yeah." With a nod, Clare stooped lower. "Yeah, you're right. I've been going at this the wrong way."

"Don't you dare pick up that torch." Tired of shouting, she stomped across the floor and switched off the stereo. "Damn it, Clare, we had a date for lunch at the Russian Tea Room at twelve-thirty."

Clare straightened and focused on her friend for the first time. Angie was, as always, the picture of elegance. Her toffee-colored skin and exotic features were set off to perfection by the navy Adolfo suit and oversize pearls.

Her handbag and shoes were identical shades of scarlet leather. Angie liked everything to match, everything to be in its place. In her closet, her shoes were neatly stacked in clear plastic boxes. Her blouses were arranged by color and fabric. Her handbags--a legendary collection--were tucked into individual slots on custom-built shelves.

As for herself, Clare was lucky if she could find both shoes of a pair in the black hole of her closet. Her handbag collection consisted of one good black evening bag and a huge canvas tote. More than once Clare had wondered how she and Angie had ever become, and remained, friends.

Right at the moment, that friendship seemed to be on the line, she noted. Angie's dark eyes were hot, and her long scarlet fingernails were tapping on her bag in time with her foot.

"Stand just like that." Clare bounded across the room to search through the confusion on the sofa for a sketch pad. She tossed aside a sweatshirt, a silk blouse, unopened mail, an empty bag of Fritos, a couple of paperback novels, and a plastic water pistol.

"Damn it, Clare--"

"No, don't move." Pad in hand, she heaved a cushion aside and found a chalk pencil. "You're beautiful when you're angry." Clare grinned.

"Bitch," Angie said and struggled with a laugh.

"That's it, that's it." Clare's pencil flew across the pad. "Christ, what cheekbones! Who would have thought if you mixed Cherokee, African, and French, you'd get such bone structure? Snarl a little bit, would you?"

"Put that stupid thing down. You're not going to flatter your way out of this. I sat in RTR for an hour drinking Perrier and gnawing on the tablecloth."

"Sorry. I forgot."

"What else is new?"

Clare set the sketch aside, knowing Angie would look at it the minute her back was turned. "Want some lunch?"

"I had a hot dog in the cab."

"Then I'll grab something, and you can tell me what we were supposed to talk about."

"The show, you imbecile!" Angie eyed the sketch and smothered a smile. Clare had drawn her with flames shooting out of her ears. Refusing to be amused, she glanced around for a clear spot to sit and finally settled on the arm of the sofa. God knew what else lurked under the cushions. "Are you ever going to hire somebody to shovel this place out?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 231 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(129)

4 Star

(40)

3 Star

(35)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 232 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Great Book

    This is a great book and ended differently than i expected. DO NOT read the editorial reviews. Major spoiler alert. Loved the book cover to cover.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    Recommend

    Nora Roberts is a really good writer. I enjoy her books. This book was published by Bantam Books in 1992. It would have been nice to know that it is a reprinted book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    A good read.. not your typibal NR Book

    It started out a little slow for me.. I've read a lot of more recent NR books.. so I got a little lost on how 'aged' this book was. It was good.. but NOTHING like what I'm used to reading from Nora Roberts. There was prevalent violence.. a lot of rape.. and very explicit sex scenes and killings..

    I just didn't expect all that from her.. I was half expecting this to be from a ghost writer or have a co-writer.. yes; it was that different. 3/4 of the way through.. i was hooked; of course and really glad i finished it.. had a good end but left you hanging for a sequel that doesn't exist.

    I will always be a huge fan of Nora Roberts.. after all; you can't loves everthing she writes!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    Crazy Good

    I read this book years ago and own it...its truly captivating!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Great Read!

    The storyline was really interesting and kept me reading! The ending ended a little too quick for me but other than that i loved the book! A+ BOOK!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2012

    loved this page turner

    loved this page turner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    The kite runner

    Great book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Another Good One!

    Nora Roberts is one of the best romance/mystery/suspense writers I recently can think of. This book keeps your attention and you hate to put it down because the action takes place page upon page - no stop. I printer out her list and am definitely reading the many, many books listed there. Try is - you will definitely like it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Better Ending

    Good book, but ending to wrap up Cam & Clare could of been better, considering there was not one

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Just OK

    This was my first Nora Roberts book. I downloaded the audio version to my Nook Color, based off the reviews and stars. First of all, the narrator was really annoying and had little skills in doing men's voices. I liked the mini-love story part of it, but the whole satanistic secret society stuff was a bit out there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    dgklfdfjljffnmvfdrgjkkgdsglkmcctejpl dwehhjk. cxx.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    It's must read

    Nora Roberts have a reputation for writing stories full of emotions, creating plots full of twists and making the most unlikely pair of characters fall in love. But in Divine Evil she outdid herself.The whole novel is surrounded in a mist of suspense.Claire Kimble and Cameron Rafferty have been depicted in their most human form and one feel their hurt, anger, love and passion.The other characters have got an amazing ability to balance out the story.This book give a lot of respect to working, independent women.Do read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Could not put the book down

    I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I lost a lot of sleep since I could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    great read!

    I was surprised to read some poor reviews of this book and decided to take a chance. I'm glad I did; this book is among my favorite NR writings. Suspense, love interest without the drama, a different area (Santanism) explored without a history lesson. I had a hard time putting the book down and couldn't wait to pick it up again. Definately not a waste of money or time!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Divine Evil

    This was a re-read while waiting for the new NR or JDR to come out-I am going through all of her old novels and have introduced them to my daughter. She likes them because they are not mushy-which is exactly what first drew me to NR. Any Nora Roberts book is worth reading once-and then again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2009

    confusing character names

    Love the book. Although i prefer to end it talking about the main characters instead of somebody else. And i know Nora Robert is a good writer but come on!! she confuse me with to much characters and with the names that sound to close to each other like, Angie, Alice and Annie or Bud and Bob or MIck and Mike or Clare and Carly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    A Disappointment

    I could barely bring myself to finish this book. The main character, Clare, is naive. She is the stereotypical"I believe everyone is good" kind of girl, and refuses to hear about anything contrary to her beliefs. Her love interest, Cam, is a cop who is overall pretty sensible. This is not one of Nora Roberts` best works. I doubt I will ever read this book again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2009

    A page turner

    Romance & suspense all in one. Kept me guessing, so it was hard to put the book down. Ending brought chills

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2009

    Good Read

    Good characters and plot. Entertaining and interesting. I always seem to enjoy Nora Roberts' books. Recommended to Roberts' readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2014

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