The Witness by Nora Roberts

read by Julia Whelan

Nora Roberts is so prolific, it is astonishing how she manages to turn out bestselling novels at such a rate. And such good ones too!

The Witness is no exception. The opening pulls you right in instantly, with a heartless, domineering, ambitious mother trying to coral her daughter Elizabeth into the pattern of life the sixteen-year-old simply no longer wants to conform to. Following a chance meeting with a former school acquaintance in a shopping mall and left to her own devices, Elizabeth sets about changing her image – buying makeup for the first time, wearing casual clothes and cutting her long hair short – and needs little persuasion to try out the hottest club in town. Mellowed by alcohol and throwing all caution to the winds, she and her new friend go to the home of one of the two Russian men who have picked them up and who, alarmingly, appear to run the club they have been dancing at. Elizabeth, having been violently sick and having passed out, comes round to witnesses her friend with her new boyfriend summarily executed before her very eyes by intruders. She realises very quickly that she has unwittingly become part of something very dangerous, very ugly and very serious that will change her life for ever.

The story picks up twelve years later: Elizabeth has escaped execution by the Russian mafia even while under the protection of the witness protection scheme and has been forced to adopt an entirely new identity, to cut herself off from her past completely, to live independently and securely and to trust no one. Police chief Brooks Gleason in the small town where she finally settles, however, seems determined to find out as much as he can about the beautiful recluse.

The cynical amongst us might be spurring on Abigail (as Elizabeth is now known) to use one of the many firearms she keeps on her ranch to persuade Brooks to clear off – permanently. But, coming from the pen of a romantic novelist, you will have guessed correctly that in The Witness love will conquer all. And, as the  well-paced plot unfolds, all ends happily ever after.

Such an intriguing and electrifying yarn simply cannot fail. This is sheer and glorious entertainment, peerlessly read by Julia Whelan, and is definitely a rewarding listen.

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