Monday, July 30, 2018

Reviewing Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

Reviewing Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
I enjoy books written by Nora Roberts, specifically the romantic suspense books that she writes. Northern Lights is at the top of my list of my favorite books. Recently, I've been so tired that it has been difficult to concentrate on new material and find myself stuck reading the same paragraphs night after night. I decided to read something familiar and that wouldn't require so much concentration but couldn't find my print copy of Northern Lights. I looked to the internet for a digital copy. Because Nora Roberts is a prolific writer, with well over 200 titles published, I found that this book may be lost among them so I decided to highlight one of my favorite stories by this author.


Northern Lights in Lunacy, Alaska


Ignatious Burke (Nate) is a Baltimore cop who accepts a job in Lunacy, Alaska. The baggage he brings, that doesn't fit in his carry-on bags, includes the trauma of watching his partner die on the street in Baltimore. Nate can't shake those feelings of guilt. So he accepts a job in a tiny, remote Alaskan town. So remote that he arrives by small plane.


"Strapped into the quivering soup can laughingly called a plane, bouncing his way on the pummeling air through the stingy window of light that was winter, through the gaps and breaks in snow-sheathed mountains toward a town called Lunacy, Ignatious Burke had an epiphany.
He wasn't nearly as prepared to die as he had believed." - excerpt from Northern Lights 

As you would expect, in Lunacy, there is a cast of eccentric characters. To be expected as the 500+ residents of Lunacy refer to themselves as Lunatics. Nate's job duties include, but are not limited to, Moose versus vehicle incidents, taking care of drunks, and watching over his quiet little town. Quiet until the remains of a body - clearly murdered - is found preserved in an ice cave.

The murder victim is Meg's father. 

Meg was born and raised in Lunacy, is a bush pilot, and is quite able to fend for herself. She lives with her dogs, outside of town. Meg is described by some reviewers as unlikable and cold. I describe her as efficient. She is not needy or clingy. Meg begins in a casual physical relationship with Nate but over time it begins to become a more meaningful connection. 

Like small town life, the story line is in no rush. Other reviewers refer to the story line as a "gradual climb" and a "slow burn". I agree and I would add that it is comfortable. When Meg's father's body is found the story begins to become more tense and we begin to find reason take a closer and more suspicious look at the many eccentric residents of Lunacy.  

Who has killed Mr. Galloway - keeping the secret for all these years and walking the snowy streets with the unsuspecting Lunatics of Lunacy, Alaska? And now that the body has been found, who will the killer go after next in order to cover his/her/their tracks?


Additional things to consider about Northern Lights  


Because I am recommending a book that won't be everyone's cup of tea, I feel I should add a few side notes and warnings.  

  • There is a bit of "gore" (there's been a couple of murders after all - one in Alaska and one on Baltimore). 
  • There is profanity. 
  • There are a couple of sex scenes (4 sex scenes for a total of 10 pages is what another reviewer counted). 
  • This novel was written years ago, about a setting years before that (published in 2004, with a journal entry in the book dated February 12, 1988). It is not PC by some standards today.
  • There is also a review that reports a dislike for how the Alaskan residents are portrayed. 
This story will not be everyone's style. It is mine. I like gritty and a bit of gore. Swearing typically doesn't bother me. I tend to like my fiction slightly caricaturized - after all, why read a story if the character is as mundane and boring as I am? And finally, I am very familiar with people who talk, think, and behave just like the people of Lunacy. So this level of alleged political incorrectness was not shocking to me. But I have read a couple of reviews (out of hundreds) in which readers seemed to be significantly triggered so I felt I should give this bit of information in the interest of full disclosure.

If you are curious, but not sure about the story, Amazon provides a sizable "look inside" sample. If the story sounds intriguing but you aren't quite sure, take a peek at the Northern Lights free sample. 

I enjoyed this story, characters, and setting very much. I have read this book multiple times and have it downloaded to begin again. In my opinion, reading about snowy Alaska during the tired, heat-wave days of summer is a great escape. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

9 comments:

  1. Ahhhhh Nora Roberts is certainly a household name here. I have read many of her books as well and enjoyed each one. I don't think I have read this one though. So another book added to my must read Summer Book List. And if it makes me feel cool on these hot days, so much the better. Thanks Dawn Rae for a great review. Sometimes I just need a slow and easy read.

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  2. Interesting book review of Northern Lights, Dawn Rae. I am a big fan of murder mysteries, so a bit of gore doesn't bother me; nor does swearing. What I like are true-to-life characters and plots. This sounds like a book I would enjoy.

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  3. I used to love to read Nora Roberts but haven't in many years, this book Northern Lights looks like one that I would enjoy. Thank you for the recommendation.

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  4. My sister loves Nora Roberts. I will have to put this one on my gift list.

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  5. I too used to read Nora Roberts. Your review has made this one sound like a book I should try

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  6. I've read several books by Nora Roberts and this one sounds very familiar, which leads me to believe I have read it in years past. It doesn't surprise me that we would both have selected this book. We seem to like the same authors and styles. I have learned, out of necessity, to skim over the sex scenes, which I find completely unnecessary. I do the same with anything that gets too gory for me to handle. Clearly, I need to read this book again. I think I remember who the killer was, but some of the actual plot escapes me this morning. It would certainly be worth reading again. Thanks for the reminder of a good book, and the review!

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  7. So far I've liked most of what I've read by Nora Roberts. She wrote one of my favorite series, the In Death series, as J. D. Robb. I wish some of the sex scenes in that weren't so explicit, but they aren't the main focus of the books. She does develop her characters well. I have more trouble with gore, but can tolerate some. I'm with Cynthia on both sex and gore. It's hard to find mysteries by secular authors without them these days. I might give this book a chance. Great review.

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  8. I've seen books by Nora Roberts in my moms collections of books, so if she hasn't read this one, I'll have to remember it for her. She reads everyday, so I'll bet she's read this one already. Sounds like a good book to read and get lost in.

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