Book review: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

For over 300 years, Bluff House has loomed large over Whiskey Beach, facing the cold, turbulent Atlantic as if it was a challenge.

By Pam Norfolk
Wednesday, 8th May 2013, 10:00 am
Whiskey Beach
Whiskey Beach

Within its stony walls, generations of the Landon family have lived and died, celebrated and mourned, schemed, thrived, triumphed and languished, so where else would Eli Landon flee for sanctuary from a life that has all but been destroyed?

Nora Roberts, the extraordinarily successful author of over 200 novels and one of the world’s most popular writers, is in territory she knows best in this beautifully-paced suspense mystery which has both a murder and a romance jostling at its heart.

True to form, she crafts an intriguing and beguiling story, this time featuring a young lawyer who became prime suspect wife when his wife was murdered and has never cleared his name despite the case being dropped.

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His journey through suspicion, despair and hope is complex and absorbing and as we travel with him, we become acquainted with emotive human themes like friendship, trust, love and loyalty.

Boston criminal attorney Eli Landon seemed to have the perfect life. He had a beautiful wife Lindsay, a wonderful home and a dazzling legal career but when Lindsay was brutally murdered after confessing to an affair with another man, Eli was named prime suspect – without a shred of evidence.

After a year-long ordeal, the case against him has finally been dropped but Eli’s world is in tatters. Abandoned by his friends, still hounded by the media and a police detective with a grudge, Eli retreats to the small-town sanctuary of Whiskey Beach and Bluff House, his beloved grandmother Hester’s home by the sea.

Bluff House has belonged to the Landons for generations and is the perfect place for Eli to regain his strength and rediscover his first love – writing. He is helped in his recovery by Abra Walsh who is looking after Hester’s home while the old lady recovers from a fall.

The beautiful, energising Abra is nurturing, courageous and herself a survivor of a broken marriage and as Eli heals both mentally and physically, he begins to open his heart to her.

For the first time, Eli dares to dream of a new future but as Abra and Eli take their first steps towards each other, a dangerous enemy is watching from the shadows, an enemy determined to make sure that Eli Landon will never have that new life... whatever the cost.

Roberts weaves a warm, sexy and character-driven story but threads it through with a frisson of hidden danger which adds an air of compelling mystery and keeps the pages turning.

A traditional and stylish thriller with a soft, seductive centre...

(Piatkus, hardback, £16.99)