Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

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Piatkus, 2018. ISBN 9780349417820
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Themes: Mass shooting. Mystery and suspense. Romance. The best-selling author Roberts has tackled a very timely and difficult topic in "Shelter in Place". The book opens with a very gripping and horrifying chapter in Part one, Innocence Lost, where Roberts introduces her main character, 16 year old Simone, who is the witness to the terrible carnage of a mass shooting at DownEast Mall, outside Portland, Maine. She is the first responder, after seeing what was happening in the cinema, managed to hide and contact police. Because of this there was a quick response and although the massacre lasted only eight minutes there were many deaths. The actions of other survivors were also described, including that of Reed Quartermaine and his friend the manager of a video store, and Essie a police woman.
In Part 2 of the book, Roberts follows the effects that the shootings had on the survivors, describing how each managed to live with the memories as they grew into adults. Reed became a detective dedicated to the law, Simone found an outlet in her art and Essie continued to mentor young police, while yet another survivor lived in anger. But there is one person who wanted all the survivors to die, and this person is plotting to bring them all down. Part 3 concentrates more on the growing romance between Simone and Reed, but there are many tense moments there as well. The villain of the story is drawn as a chilling, heartless person, and her intelligence and cunning make it very difficult to hide from her.
Roberts is a master of romantic suspense and this is another of her novels that can't be put down. She builds up the tension to fever pitch and she gives the reader a thorough idea of what it would be like to live through a massacre and then endure the after effects of it.
Pat Pledger