As I’ve gotten accustomed to at this point, Nora Roberts turns in a decently entertaining and suspenseful little story with Black Hills, one of her most recent works. There’s nothing here that’s particularly unusual compared to all of her other works; she certainly utilizes a lot of her familiar tropes here, such as the hero being a former cop, and focusing less on surprising you with the identity of the killer and more upon the suspense involved with setting up where and how he will strike next and how the good guys will finally track him down.
This time around, what makes the story work for me is the fact that she takes the time to show us the childhoods of Lil and Cooper, following them from when they first met as youngsters, up through when they first consummate their blossoming affections as young adults, and on up through to the current day–when Lil has established a wildlife refuge and Coop is coming back to the Black Hills to look after his aging grandparents and to put his past as a cop behind him. There’s nice character development between him and Lil through the whole book, as the two of them strive to deal with the emotional weight of their past and the simple fact that they’re still in love with each other.
Since this is of course a Nora Roberts novel, there’s a killer on the loose to spice things up. And after all the romantic suspense novels of hers I’ve read, she’s pretty much got the formula down. Again, nothing terribly unusual in this book’s particular psychopath du jour, how he perceives our heroine, and what ultimately happens to bring about his downfall… but it’s all competently executed and an engaging read. Three stars.