Monday, September 23, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Witness

The Witness
The Witness by Nora Roberts
April 17, 2012
Putnam Adult publishing
488 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary Suspenseful Romance
(contains mature language, sexual scenes)
Source: Audible personal purchase
Book Blurb:
Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security  systems—and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller
author—and will leave people hungering for more.
My Review:

I bought this on a whim via Audible during one of their daily deals. This was my first Nora Roberts read and this isn't my usual genre, but I thought I'd give it a whirl for the great price. Well I'm so glad that I did. I was thoroughly impressed by this story. I was swept right into it from the beginning and it held my attention throughout. I'm so glad I grabbed this gem.

Storyline: We follow the story of Elizabeth, controlled teenage prodigy, to Abigail, witness in hiding from the men who want her dead for what she witnessed. We first get a view of how Elizabeth was raised by her controlling, unloving mother. Then we see Liz's act of rebellion, which couldn't have been timed worse, and she witnesses a horrible crime. The entire build up of the first portion of the book was brilliant and kept me on the edge of my seat, my stomach twisted in anticipation. I knew something bad was going to happen, and yet I still did not know the extent to what it would be. My heart broke along with Liz, not only for her upbringing, but truly for how things played out and how she was left. This was really well-written.

Fast forward twelve years to enigmatic Abigail, the small town mystery, and the story picks up as her life of hiding slowly unravels as police chief Gleason enters her life. The way Abigail is portrayed as her very slow transformation comes about was, again, really well done. Though, honestly, at certain points I really just wanted to know how things were going to end, but the interactions between Abigail and Brooks made it worth the wait. The length of the book could probably been cut down a bit, or the pace sped up in the middle, though it still held my attention. But along with the Abigail/Elizabeth storyline, we also get the Abigail/Brooks romantic storyline, and then we have Brooks professional dealings as chief of police and the community trouble-makers he has to deal with. This is a very well-rounded story, with multiple plotlines, but they all tie into each other really well. I was impressed by how Ms. Roberts held it all together and paralleled everything. Down to the very end, I was engaged in the story and continued to be impressed by the continuity and anticipation of the final outcome.

Heartache and Humor: When you think about witnessing a brutal crime, heartache is certainly a relevant outcome. This story is no exception. I felt teary eyed several times throughout the story by the tragic circumstances that happened. But along with the sadness, I found myself smiling and snickering at the humor laced throughout. With the quirky characters, there was no shortage of lightheartedness to go along with the drama.

Characters: Multi-dimensional characters are a must for me to enjoy a book thoroughly. Nora Roberts created a fabulous group of characters with so much appeal I felt like I wanted to sit down to tea and have a chat right alongside them. Elizabeth/Abigail reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, without the fear of coitus, and slightly better at social interaction. She was a hoot without even trying. She was also extremely endearing, a mix of deep intelligence and social naïveté, and I loved her. I can see why Brooks fell for her. As for Brooks, he was such a mix of sweet, tough, gentle, kind, persistent, and also a big ole gossip. I loved how he was with Abigail and the way he treated those around him. He oozed his way into Abigail's life the way no one else would have been able to. They were quite perfect together. The side characters were also a treat and interspersed throughout the story to give it just the right amount of well-roundedness.

Audio Narration: Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous narrating. I honestly don't know if I would have enjoyed this nearly as much as I did if it weren't for Julia Whelan's narrating. This was a lengthy book, but somehow Ms. Whelan's ability to bring it to life kept me engaged and interested. I can see on Audible that she has narrated several other books, and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another book she's narrated.

Bottomline: I thoroughly enjoyed THE WITNESS. It is a well-written, engaging, and exciting story with quirky, endearing characters. The audiobook narration is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. The story felt a bit slow in the middle, but despite my tendencies to be easily distracted, I still felt pulled in and loved how things continued throughout the story. Really well done!

4-1/2 STARS (Book)
5 STARS (Audiobook Narration)
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