Sunday 5 March 2023

Book ~ "The Witness" (2012) Nora Roberts

From Goodreads ~ 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 defences hide a story that must be revealed.

In 2000, Elizabeth was on the verge of turning 17. She was the daughter of a single mother who controlled everything she did. She was also extremely intelligent and excelled in school, about to enter medical school. After an argument with her mother, Elizabeth rebels ... she heads to the mall and runs into a former schoolmate. They go shopping and make plans to go to a night club the next night with the fake IDs Elizabeth makes. At the club, they meet a couple of older guys, who turn out to be in the Russian mafia, and the night ends up with with murders. Elizabeth sees it all happen and ends up in witness protection, which doesn't end up being so safe after all.

Twelve years later, Elizabeth is now Abigail and working as a freelance securities systems developer. She lives outside a small town in the Ozarks with her big guard dog, Bert, and many guns. She keeps to herself which attracts the interest of the town and especially the local police chief, Brooks. Brooks starts approaching her and becomes attracted to and intrigued by her. He eventually breaks down her defences and against her better judgment, they begin dating and fall in love .... but she is always ready to disappear again if she has to.

I found the first part of the book (the Elizabeth part) interesting. When she became Abigail, it was unrealistic and less interesting and draggy. When I was reading the things she was saying and thinking, she seemed like a female Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory ... brilliant but lacking social skills and real world knowledge. Plus I wasn't buying that at 17, she went on the run with $15,000 and managed to buy cars and stay in motels/hotels by paying cash, changed her identity many times but is a master hacker so is able to create her new identities, and is now a very rich woman. She was resistant when Brooks started basically stalking her but it didn't take much for her to accept him into her world and they are in love within a couple of months.

It's a long book that could have been so much shorter. There were side stories that included local townsfolk that had nothing to do with Abigail ... these could have been chopped out and put into another book or two where they would have worked better since they could have been the focal point rather than filler in this book.

It's written in third personal perspective from Elizabeth/Abigail and Brooks' point of view. As a head's up, there is swearing, violence and adult activity.

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