Written by Nora Roberts — For many years, Nora Roberts has been my guilty pleasure and I’ve read her romances with relish. She also writes science fiction and crime crossover books under the pseudonym of JD Robb, but they hold no appeal for me, and I’ve never really classed any of her romances as crime novels. So I had to recalibrate my thinking as I set forth on a journey to Whiskey Beach – and I’m afraid I was left feeling decidedly disappointed.
Eli Landon arrives at the palatial Bluff House on Whiskey Beach a broken man. Wrongly accused of the murder of his estranged wife, Lindsay, Eli has returned to the Landon family home with his life in tatters. He is hoping to escape the accusing looks of so-called friends and colleagues in the legal profession, find peace, and write a novel.
He is looking after Bluff House for his grandmother, who is being cared for by his parents after a fall, but any thoughts of brooding in solitude are dashed when he meets Abra Walsh, the human whirlwind who is employed by his grandmother as a cleaner. The wildly attractive Abra is also a yoga teacher, masseuse, jewellery maker and epic cook – and the perfect person to bring Eli out of his depression.
From their first meeting, it is obvious these two are going to create a happy ending, so no surprise in that direction. Romance aside, there is crime aplenty scattered through the plot like daisies in a lawn. On top of the aforementioned murder of Eli’s wife, there is the death of a private investigator hired by a mysterious client to check up on Eli. And did granny fall, or was she pushed? Oh, and let’s not forget the legend of the missing treasure which has intrigued residents and visitors to Whiskey Beach for centuries. When Eli finds a newly excavated trench in the cellars at Bluff House, it appears someone thinks the lost treasure is more than a fairy story.
Nora Roberts is one of the world’s most popular authors, has sold more than 450 million books worldwide and has had numerous top five bestsellers in the UK – including two consecutive number ones for The Perfect Hope and The Witness. Fans of romantic fiction will be well satisfied with Whiskey Beach. Roberts’ trademark cute and quirky couple get embroiled in a will-they-won’t-they love story and some steamy sex scenes. Sadly, crime fans won’t be so happy with the scattergun style of a plot that is littered with loose ends – and the ‘spooky house with buried treasure associated with pirates and hidden passages’ strand in particular bears more than a passing resemblance to an episode of Scooby Doo, Where Are You.
On this showing, I’m filing my Nora Roberts books under romance. Coming at Whiskey Beach from a crime perspective, it is underwhelming unless you like your crime extra cosy and comfortable. Otherwise, I’d suggest you leave it on the shelf – it’s not really for crime fiction lovers.
CFL Rating: 2 Stars