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Many Nora Roberts fans worry that she writes her many books following a repetitive formula that have been overused - the romantic formula in her Harlequin type books, romantic suspense in more recent books like THE WITNESS and detective thrillers when she writes the In Death series as J D Robb. In THE COLLECTOR Roberts has mixed up the formulas to make a pretty entertaining, somewhat different, romantic suspense thriller which even throws in an attractive Asian female sociopathic killer and some torture to spice up the mixture.
Lila Emerson loves her nomadic life as a house-sitter for wealthy clients. She stays in some fantastic homes throughout the world looking after the home, the pets and anything else to make her clients' happy. She spends her spare time writing successful YA Werewolf style novels. In between house sits she stays with her twice divorced best friend Julie. Many of the houses have great views and she always takes binoculars in her pared down luggage.
Her latest housesitting is a luxury apartment in central NYC which has great views of apartments across the way. Late one evening Lila is looking through her binoculars at a nearby apartment when she sees an attractive woman being attacked by an unidentifiable person. Within seconds the woman is pushed through the window and falls many floors to her death. Her male partner is found dead in the apartment by the police, with signs of apparent suicide, which quickly turns out to be an execution..
Through the police investigation the male victim's brother, Ashley Archer, a handsome successful artist from a very wealthy family, seeks out Lila for more information. There is immediate attraction especially when he asks her to pose for him. As they get together personally they also start to work out what is happening. Things get worse when another member of Ash's family is murdered and Ash and Lila are stalked by a paid female assassin Jai Maddock, who is wanted by INTERPOL for several murders. Jai is working as a mercenary for an unknown unscrupulous very wealthy "Collector" of antique objects d'art. A fascinating thing about her character is her practice to take something valuable or fashionable from anywhere she goes or breaks into - shoes, jewelry, and even lipstick and perfume.
What follows has something for everyone's tastes. Two romances, family stresses and an increasing body count as the cold blooded killer tracks down people associated with a valuable and historic piece of missing international jewelry. While the police are involved, Lila and Ash and her friends need to get together to plan how to flush out "The Collector".
As the book cover says "Either way Lila will never watch from the sidelines again...." This book has a bit of everything for Nora Roberts' fans which may, or may not, subdue the comments about overuse of the Robert's formula. Whatever people think I am sure that it will be this year's bestseller for Nora Roberts.
My thanks to The Reading Room and the publisher for providing an Advance Reading Copy of this book. I requested the book for my wife, who really enjoyed it, but as usual I finished up reading it myself.