Roberts is among the best popular novelists currently at work, and this novel displays her considerable talent. The setting is economically but beautifully evoked, the spare style balancing the breathtaking grandeur of Alaska. Pace, dialogue and scenes are cunningly shaped, and the the police procedural skillfully dovetails with the romance. Wit abounds.
The Washington Post
Northern Lights is yet another feather in the cap of Nora Roberts. Ms. Roberts leads us. by means of her main character, Ignatious ("Nate") Burke, through the dark twists of fate that have landed Burke in the middle of an Alaskan winter to take on the job of Chief of Police for aptly named Lunacy, Alaska.. To do his job well, Burke must overcome his debilitating depression, the result of a shoot-out during a police action in his old home town of Baltimore, which cost him his partner and months of rehabilitation from his own wounds.
She has once again assembled a cast of characters that runs the gamut from a man of God to a godless individual, one of whom is guilty of murder, but hiding behind the façade of anyone's next-door-neighbor. Of course, we have the a romantic pairing of Nate with Meg, a free-spirited girl of the north, who takes it upon herself to help Nate find his way back, while enjoying the fruits of her labor, so to speak. The love scenes are tastefully, albeit erotically, done, which puts this story in the mature audience category.
The Alaskan scenery and the incredible aurora borealis are meticulously described by Ms. Roberts, which leaves you as breathless as Nate must have been experiencing it in person.
I dare you to unequivocally decide who the killer is before the end of the book. Now, no peeking at the end first.
Roberts shines again with a nuanced tale of the Alaskan wilderness and the appealing eccentrics who cluster there. Former Baltimore cop Nate Burke accepts the unlikely post of police chief of Lunacy, Alaska (pop. 506), to stave off the depression caused by divorce and the traumatic death of his partner, for which he holds himself partly responsible. His early days in the close-knit town are quiet except for minor disturbances and a dalliance with a feisty bush pilot, Meg Galloway. Then Meg's father, who disappeared 16 years before, is found frozen in a remote mountain cave, an ice ax in his chest. The discovery that Pat Galloway was murdered most likely by a local shakes up the town and drives his murderer to commit a second, cover-up killing. Though state authorities dismiss that death as suicide, Nate pursues it as a crime a decision that puts him at odds with many outspoken Lunatics, as the townspeople call themselves. With quiet inexorability he fields the flak, uncovers long-forgotten events and finds a tough but loving balance with the fiercely independent Meg. Though billed as romantic suspense, the novel forsakes artificial genre conventions in favor of a wry, affectionate look at community bonds, generational wounds and soul-testing landscapes. The result is a richly textured novel that captures the intimacy of smalltown police work, the prickliness of the pioneer spirit and the paradox of a setting at once intimate and expansive, welcoming and hostile, indisputably American and yet profoundly exotic to those in the Lower 48. Agent, Amy Berkower at Writers House. (Oct. 12) Forecast: Roberts keeps her lock on bestseller lists with her uncanny ability to balance high-quality work and high-frequency publication. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The amazingly prolific Roberts (Key of Valor) continues to entertain and entice readers with good old-fashioned storytelling. Set in the quirky Alaskan hamlet of Lunacy, her latest revolves around Nate Burke, a retired Baltimore cop who has taken the job of police chief to escape the haunting memories of his partner's death. Readers are gradually introduced to an interesting cast of secondary characters, including a young pilot named Meg who has lived in Alaska all her life and embraced the solitude and independence of her job. When Nate learns that a couple of college students are missing, he teams up with Meg to search for them, and in the process they discover the frozen body of Meg's father, who had disappeared years before. Roberts does a nice job of combining a multitude of engaging secondary characters with just the right touches of humor and suspense to sustain the reader's interest throughout this rather lengthy novel; longtime fans won't be a bit disappointed. Absolutely essential for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04.]-Margaret Hanes, Sterling Heights P.L., MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Jack London, move over. The Queen of Romance has you in her sights. Amazingly, Roberts (a.k.a. J.D. Robb, p. 601) doesn't miss in this wild and woolly tale of love and murder in Alaska. Nate Burke, the new chief of police in the little town of Lunacy, had a few qualms about living in the moose-infested end of nowhere, but there's something about the place-a man can breathe, if he doesn't mind having icicles for a mustache. The locals? They call themselves the Lunatics, of course: back-to-nature survivalists, native Inuit, former hippies, and oddballs of every stripe. A newcomer like Nate gets a lot of attention, but does he ever wish that Charlene, hip-swinging, heavily made-up, middle-aged mantrap, would leave him alone. Peach, the motherly town gossip, warned him about the brassy boardinghouse owner in no uncertain terms. Nate's got a lot on his mind: between the death of his partner at the Baltimore PD, who left a grieving widow and three kids, and a divorce Nate didn't want, he's emotionally numb. Just so happens that Charlene's daughter is a knockout: beautiful, athletic, black-haired Meg has ice-blue eyes that can undress a man in a flash. She's a bush pilot, lives alone and likes it, takes her pleasure where she finds it-and rolling around with Nate is a very pleasurable experience indeed. But she's hiding her own heartbreak: her ne'er-do-well, adventurous father disappeared 16 years ago during a dangerous climb. And when Patrick Galloway's frozen corpse is found in an ice cave with an ax through the chest-and it's clear that the long-ago killer is still on the loose-all hell breaks loose in Lunacy. Original characterization, brisk pace, and a great feel for the grandeur of thesetting-not to mention a fabulously tough young heroine who puts her vapid chick-lit sisters to shame-add up to a wonderful read. Romance will never die as long as the megaselling Roberts keeps writing it. First printing of 750,000; literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour. Agent: Amy Berkower/Writers House. Agent: Amy Berkower/Writer's House
“While Alaska is an unfamiliar setting for a Roberts novel, the song she sings here remains—happily for fans of the romantic suspense genre—the same.”—The New York Times
“[An] engaging mix of suspense and romance.”—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“The characters in Northern Lights…come alive on the pages…It’s well written, has intriguing characters, a tantalizing plot, wit and romance.”—The Times Union (Albany, NY)
“The setting is economically but beautifully evoked, the spare style balancing the breathtaking grandeur of Alaska. Pace, dialogue and scenes are cunningly shaped, and the police procedural skillfully dovetails with romance.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A richly textured novel that captures the intimacy of smalltown police work, the prickliness of the pioneer spirit and the paradox of a setting at once intimate and expansive, welcoming and hostile, indisputably American and yet profoundly exotic to those in the Lower 48.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Jack London, move over. The Queen of Romance has you in her sights...Roberts doesn’t miss in this wild and woolly tale of love and murder in Alaska.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The amazingly prolific Roberts continues to entertain and entice readers with good old-fashioned storytelling.”—Library Journal
“Roberts beautifully captures the rugged splendor of Alaska, and her cast of uniquely endearing secondary characters adds just the right touch of quirky humor to her splendidly entertaining, sexy, and suspenseful romance about two tough yet vulnerable people.”—Booklist