Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Putnam 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspence
Lila Emerson is an interesting and likable young woman. For one thing, she loves people. Within minutes of meeting a person they will find themselves telling Lila all about themselves. Lila isn’t nosey, she has a strong sense of curiosity. She really likes and understands people.
Lila writes young-adult fiction. Her writing career hasn’t quite taken off yet so, to pay the bills, she house-sits. Clients love her and she has many repeat customers. She takes care of their pets, plants and whatever else they need. She’s located primarily in New York City, but she’s taken jobs in Italy and a few other special places.
As the story opens, Lila is on a job in a New York high-rise. One of Lila’s foibles is her love of spying on the neighbors. She carries binoculars with her for that purpose. One night she witnesses a couple arguing in an apartment across the way. The next thing she knows the woman is launched through the window and falls fourteen floors to her death. Lila immediately calls 911.
Lila is interviewed by the police and she helps them figure out which apartment the woman fell from. When the police find the apartment, they also find a dead man. The police ask her to come down to the police station to help them further. It’s there that she meets “Ash”, Asher Archer, the older brother of the dead man.
From this point on the story is a non-stopper. Although the police believe it was a murder/suicide, Ash knows his brother would never hurt a woman and he was too egocentric to commit suicide. He asks Lila to help him.
Ash is a strong and caring man. (Of course, he’s good-looking and wealthy too. After all, this is a romance novel.) He’s the head of his complicated family even though his father is still alive. He’s also a well known artist. It takes some persistence, but Ash finally gets Lila to agree that he can paint her. They spend lots of time together and get to know each other.
Spending time together is what makes the killer put two and two together and, before the reader knows it, Lila’s life is in danger and then also Ash’s. The police look at things differently too and soon they all figure out the two murders have something to do with Ash’s brother’s job at an antique shop. Ash’s brother was always looking for the big score and they believe he found a valuable antique.
I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you what the big find was or who the killer is. I will say that the hunt for these things takes us to some great places around Manhattan as well as a trip to Tuscany. There are additional characters well worth knowing like Lila’s best friend and a friend of Ash’s. There are a couple of not-so-nice people too. The conclusion is pretty dramatic, to say the least.
2014 has been an amazing book year for me. I’ve read so many excellent novels. I will say that this story is up there with the best of them. Nora Roberts is an exception to the run-of-the-mill romance novelists. She is a first-rate storyteller
The Collector has romance, humor, a little bit of New York City, some scary parts, and an interesting mystery. There are a couple of short sex scenes that are easy to skip over if that bothers you. The best thing is meeting Lila Emerson. I loved her and her “I can take good care of myself” attitude.