Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: High Noon by Nora Roberts

Savannah-Chatham police lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara is one of the best hostage negotiators in the business, and her latest mission involves talking down a suicidal jumper from a building owned by Duncan Smith. Impressed by her cool, courageous actions and intrigued by the sexy woman herself, Duncan charms Phoebe into meeting him for a drink. As a single mother with family demands and a career woman working in a testosterone-dominated field, Phoebe doesn't think there is any time in her busy schedule for romance, but all of her famed negotiating skills can't convince Duncan to give up on a chance for a future with her. When Phoebe becomes the target of a psychopathic killer out to destroy her professionally and personally, Duncan turns out to be just the person Phoebe wants by her side.
I finally read High Noon by Nora Roberts and I'm glad it was a library read. This is one of those books that engaged me throughout, but that in the end left me with a flat feeling that I could not shake. Why?

In Phoebe McNamara, Roberts comes up with a strong, intelligent heroine who is both a great cop and a wonderful woman. She is surrounded by a supportive family that turn out to be a great responsibility as well. Phoebe is a single mother and sole supporter to her child and an agoraphobic mother. After having experienced violence in her childhood and a loveless marriage, in Duncan Phoebe finally finds a man who is both interesting and interested; just in time for someone to become fixated on her and threaten her life and the life of those she loves.

Roberts not only writes a great heroine, but in her inimitable way she makes us care about Phoebe's friends and family and we become involved in all their lives. The suspense is well executed and it develops slowly, as well as the investigation and the romance between Duncan and Phoebe, a romance that was well integrated with the suspense.

So why did I have a problem with this book? The end.  Yes, the suspense was resolved satisfactorily, and Duncan and Phoebe have their "happily ever after" moment, but... but...what happens to the rest of those characters we come to love? What happens to the rest of the situations that were presented in the book as obstacles or conflicts between Duncan and Phoebe? Or Phoebe's personal problems, the ones that were presented throughout the book as personal conflicts? Did they go away simply because Duncan and Phoebe said "I love you?"

The end felt rushed and I had so many questions by the end of this book that in a way it felt incomplete; a dissatisfied feeling. The happily ever after did not do it for me in this case. It did not resolve all the conflicts that were presented because obviously it was not the answer to all the problems. In this case, a book that was well executed throughout fell flat in the end and all those unanswered questions diminished a highly enjoyable read for me.

Genre: Suspense Romance
Series: None
Release Date: May 27, 2008
Grade: B-

Visit Nora Roberts here.


  1. I read this and only remember it vaguely. Your comments about unresolved conflicts really strike a chord with me. I have found as I've read more and more romance that the books I like best show the couple coming together before the very end of the book and solving the remaining problems together. It makes for a more convincing HEA.

    Nora Roberts and Anne Stuart are just 2 examples of authors who seem to prefer a more abrupt ending. And sometimes, like you, I feel as if the whole book falls flat because of it.

  2. I agree with what Phyl said about abrupt HEA and preferring the H/H to come together before the end. I think it's always nice to have an epilogue or something like that.

    I'm so sorry the book fell flat for you at the end. It's unfortunate, because the book was so well-written and engaging.

    I remember really enjoying this book and I just checked - gave it a high grade, so I guess the ending didn't bother me as much :D However, I've just realized that I've never picked up High Noon again as a re-read... I prefer Angel Falls :D

  3. I agree that there were quite a few loose ends but my overall enjoyment of the story over-ridden the abrupt ending. If only there was an epilogue of some sort. But then again, Phoebe's mother's fear is not so easily resolved and would be an easy way out if the epilogue had covered it.

  4. Ohw I have this from Mariana. Why didn't I read this one yet? I even have this in hard cover. Hmmmm...It sounds like a good read even if there are some issues toward the ending. NR does make this kind of ending most of the time and though there are satisfactions in some level, I am always left being rushed that is why she's well suited writing in series. Anyhow... it's fine by me as long as I get the ending I want.

  5. And YES with the typical heroine Roberts use in most of her novels -- strong, intelligent heroine, impulsive and somtimes aggressive. (it reminds me of Eve Dallas). I think this is one of the many reasons I fell inlove with her books, the characters speak to me where I can feel and hear their thoughts and dream of becoming just like them. Even just in dreams I get to be one of those portrayed heroines ;-)

  6. I read this... but only remember little bits and pieces. And the Lifetime movie that had that blonde girl from Lost as Phoebe. She seemed way too young.

  7. Phyl, you're so right. Tying up all those loose ends really make the HEA a satisfying one in the end. I love you is great, but it can't always be the end of a story. Roberts loves the abrupt ending and sometimes it works and other times, like in this case it doesn't work for me.

    Nath, High Noon engaged me from the beginning, but you know I hate having too many unresolved or hanging questions at the end of a story.

    Tabitha, I'm glad you enjoyed this book. It's such a good story! For me just a few more pages or a couple of conversations would have done it.

    Natalie, I think you're going to really like characters in this book. I've been following your Nora Roberts reading marathon and I think you'll love Phoebe. This book is set in the South and both the setting and the characters are wonderful. I'll be reading your thoughts on it after you read it. :)

    Leslie, I never saw the Lifetime movie! I kept missing them... maybe I'll catch it sometime. But, hmm... that girl IS young to play Phoebe... :(

  8. Ugh. That's SUCH a disappointment when you're loving a book and then a rushed ending leaves you wanting more resolution like that.

    Off topic... I see that you finished Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. I'm curious to know your impressions. I'm emailing you...

  9. Christine, yes... it takes away some of the enjoyment.

    RE: Santa Olivia... yes! I'll definitely let you know my thoughts. :D

  10. Great review Hils. Hmmmm. I'm not a fan of the abrupt ending and I'm definitely not a fan of the 'love conquers all' scenario. I'd rather the book was spread out over a longer time period so I can see the characters working towards their HEA. But that's just me :)

  11. This book is amazing !

    I could not wait to get home from work every day just to dive back into it.....IMPOSSIBLE to put down like everything else by her.
    Thank you Nora Roberts for another fabulous story.

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