- Author: Nora Roberts
- Published: May 2017 by Piatkus
- Category: Contemporary, Romance, Psychological, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Book Review, Books, Reading.
Love. Lies. Murder. A lot can happen… COME SUNDOWN.
Bodine Longbow loves to rise with the dawn. As the manager of her family’s resort in Western Montana, there just aren’t enough hours in the day – for life, for work, for loved ones. She certainly doesn’t have time for love, not even in the gorgeous shape of her childhood crush Callen Skinner, all grown up and returned to the ranch. Then again, maybe Callen can change her mind, given time…
But when a young woman’s body is discovered on resort land, everything changes. Callen falls under the suspicion of a deputy sheriff with a grudge. And for Bodine’s family, the murder is a shocking reminder of an old loss. Twenty-five years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice vanished, never to be heard of again. Could this new tragedy be connected to Alice’s mysterious disappearance?
As events take a dramatic and deadly turn, Bodine and Callen must race to uncover the truth – before the sun sets on their future together.
The story opens with a flashback to 1991. At twenty-one years old Alice Bodine was on her way back home after up and leaving suddenly three years earlier. She had not contacted her family apart from a few postcards when she first left. With not much farther to go before she reaches the ranch, a split second decision altered the course of her life and thrust her into a living nightmare.
Fast forward to the present and the Bodine/Longbow family ranch and resort, run by several generations, in a beautiful Montana setting, offering the ultimate in cowboy experiences. The two plot lines run concurrently, with flashbacks from Alice’s perspective and her dire situation, until the time they merge later in the story. This gives the book a darker, more sinister tone than the usual standalone, romantic suspense reads from Nora Roberts, exploring harsh emotional and physical torture and its effects.
Bodine Longbow’s aunt Alice left home before Bodine was born. She didn’t return. Bodine and her brothers assume she’s dead. For the older members of the family Alice is still a raw and distressing subject to talk about, but the thought of her is always there, in the background as they get on with their lives.
The first part of the book introduces the characters, quite a lot of them, and highlights the workings of the ranch/resort with details of everyday life. After that the pace and suspense pick up. Nora Roberts’ strength lies in her character portrayals and development, the build up and depth of family dynamics and loving, close knit relationships, which are always the central focus. I very much enjoy her turn of phrase, the realistic, snappy dialogue and banter.
The romance between Bo and Cal, and two other lesser romances, take a back seat although the characters themselves are very much to the fore. Cal, the boy Bo had a childish crush on, and her brother’s best friend, recently returned to the ranch after several years in Hollywood, making his name working with horses. Cal is an expert horseman and becomes part of the ranch family, with his own amazing horse, Sundown. When two shocking murders occur on resort land, one on the heels of the other, a sense of danger and dread is brought to the normally peaceful area.
There are various viewpoints throughout the narrative, giving an all round picture as the story progresses. The flashback chapters from Alice’s perspective are particularly well written and powerful – chilling, sad and graphic.
She thought of her mother, her sister, her grandparents, her uncles and aunts and cousins. She thought of the ranch, how it would look like a postcard in the January snow.
They wouldn’t look for her, she reminded herself. She’d locked that door herself, burned that bridge, cut that line.
And they’d never find her in this rat hole.
She wished she could tell them she was sorry she’d lit out the way she had. So angry, so full of herself that she hadn’t cared about how they’d feel. Hadn’t believed they’d care.
She wished she could tell them she’d been coming home.
Spanning twenty five years, this is a story of heartbreak and survival, of family ties, pain and secrets, touching on the psychological. The plot is multi layered and peopled with well defined, likeable characters. I enjoyed the setting and loved Sundown and his tricks.
It’s been a while since I read one of Nora Roberts’ books (discounting the In Death series.) I’m so glad this one came my way, thanks to Clara Diaz from Little, Brown Book Group and NetGalley.
I chose to read and review Come Sundown based on an advance reader copy supplied by the author/publisher.
Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.