Other Nora Roberts' reviews are available in the Archives.

The Witness
by Nora Roberts
(Putnam, $27.95, PG-13)  ISBN 978-0-39915-912-1
By far the best she's put out in years even if the romance strand of the story is lame, The Witness by Nora Roberts will remind readers why the author is one of the premier romance authors on the market today.

After being raised virtually as an automaton, Elizabeth Fitch implements her first teenage rebellion. The night leads to betrayal, blood, and the loss of both innocence and freedom. On the run since that time, Liz is now Abigail Rowland, recently settled in a small Ozark town that she'd like to keep for her own.

The man, Brooks Gleason, she'd like to keep as well, but being the chief of police means that Brooks is just the kind of man she shouldn't have digging around in her secrets. After more than a decade, she's still a person of interest in the case that destroyed her young life.  Abigail knows that, with his subtle but hardheaded persuasiveness, Brooks will get to the bottom of her story one way or the other - which will not only lead the Russian mafia to her much-protected doorstep, but also to his friends, family, and community.

She wants her life. Not just any life, but this life as Abigail Rowland.mTo have it and Brooks, however, Abigail must put into motion a plan that's been simmering in her head for several years but that may ultimately be impossible. All of the running, planning, and suffering has brought her to this place and perhaps this purpose, but doing what she knows is right is very likely to kill them both.

Back in her romantic suspense groove, Roberts' ability to string along the suspense in a novel that really doesn't have much action (fighting or romantic) is impressive to say the least. Both Abigail and Brooks are the kinds of characters you can sink your teeth into, and Brooks' family will endear readers even if Abigail's somewhat standoffish characters does not. The Witness will give fans renewed hope for future novels that titles such as Chasing Fire and Tribute may have sapped.

--Sarrah Knight

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