Lila Emerson moves into an apartment in New York City temporarily because of her job. In addition to being a YA writer, Lila is also a successful house sitter. She doesn’t have a place of her own and lives with her best friend when she needs a few weeks between jobs.
Her current job brings her great satisfaction and gives Lila the opportunity to spy a little on her neighbours. She regularly looks at an attractive young couple in the flat across from her, and although there isn’t any violence, they do quarrel a lot. Lila is thus horrified when she witnesses the murder of the beautiful blonde woman. After calling the police and giving her information, Lila learns that the male inhabitant of the flat, Oliver Archer, was found dead in an apparent overdose.
Establishing that life really does suck, she moves on, and after a final visit to the police she plans to put it behind her. That is until she meets Ashton Archer, brother of the deceased and famous artist. Ashton is grieving for his brother and unable to reconcile either death of the doomed flatmates. After meeting for coffee, Ashton asks to see the flat his brother lived in from Lila’s flat, and although initially suspicious, Ashton later gets the go-ahead from Lila.
In the flat Ashton gets Lila to see what he is saying: that his brother’s deceased girlfriend would have been dwarfed by Oliver’s size, even in heels, and that means the killer was shorter and that rules Oliver out. The police also later establish that the drugs didn’t kill Oliver, and Ashton starts searching for answers.
Ashton receives intriguing mail from Oliver, sent shortly before his death, and Ashton finds a priceless treasure that is likely the reason his brother is dead. As more bodies turn up and Ashton and Lila becomes the target of a mad assassin, they can only trust each other and try to find the killer. Will they both be able to survive? Can the Faberge egg be kept from the reclusive Collector and his killing employee?
Ah, a new book by Nora Roberts. It is probably the best news someone could give me as she is one of my favourite authors. Her writing and storytelling has increased exponentially over the decades. In her empire of published works, The Collector is a great addition. I wouldn’t classify this even maybe in my top ten favourite reads by her, but it is definitely something I would read again.
I really enjoyed Lila and Ashton, but the love story was completely implausible once again. You have to wonder about the sanity of people who try and catch a killer instead of leaving it to the police, even if they are factionary.
Lila’s gypsy lifestyle is fascinating and I adored her outgoing character (completely the opposite of myself) and a lad that is genuinely interested in other people. I did wonder how she would keep up her housesitting, something she clearly enjoyed, adMaking her an author of teenage books was funny and it somehow made me more forgiving to authors that actually write those books – every author probably puts their heart and soul into their literature, no matter the questionable quality.
The antagonist was once again obvious from the start, having whole sections devoted to it (I am keeping the gender neutral, clever me), and while it takes away the who-did-it? question, it builds suspense and fear as you get to know the ruthless killer behind Oliver’s death. It is NOT the scariest of killers Nora Roberts ever created, but the cold-minded cruelty was freaky in some parts.
Cellphones, laptops and Facebook all worked themselves into the book to make sure you understand that this book was actually released the other day, in the 21st century*. Is it idiotic of me to be slightly bleak about it all? I really like reading books that seem a little old, without the constant social networking presence we already experience.
Recommendation: A definite read for established fans, but don’t try this as your first Nora Roberts book, because it isn’t even close to her best.
*Confession bear: I had to Google what century we are in. I am slightly ashamed.