Book Critique - Shelter in Place

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Nora Roberts in her original self again, with a thriller that has all shades of human mind giving chills, at the same time tinged with colors of romance and psychology.

Shelter in Place is the 79th stand-alone book by Nora Roberts, published in May of 2018. The central plot revolves around three people who had gone through a shooting massacre and how that life-threatening experience changed their lives and paths.

For some reason whenever I looked at the title of this book it reminded me of Shutter Island title. And made me worried that this might be closer to horror theme plot which I don’t read often. Finally I overcame the fear and read it a year after it was published. 

But again I should have realized that the title "Shelter in Place" means finding a safe location indoors in a crisis situation until "all clear" signal is given and that the central plot would be around a crime that is occurring way to common now in the western world. Well, anyways, finally here is my review.

It was a normal day for Reed Quartermaine, Simone Knox and Mi-Hi Jung when they were lounging at the mall in Rockpoint, Maine, in their respective activities, just having simple fun. Until three armed teenagers cause a massacre that changes their lives forever. Now years after the incident, as the survivors continue their lives, someone from the past is intervening in their paths causing pain and damage for pure pleasure, making their paths more dangerous than ever. Secret obsessions, psychopathic mind and down-right evil manipulate the emotions of normal human mind and heart leading the readers to a spine-chilling thriller by Nora Roberts.

Recently most of Nora's books have been split into sections almost giving the feeling of a series but all bundled in a single book. This time she divides this book into three parts - Part One titled "Innocence Lost", Part Two titled "Passion of Purpose", and Part Three titled "Proof of Life". The titles sometimes gives away jist of what could be expected in that part of the book. 

I believe, in her 190+ books that Nora has written, she has touched several occupations that are out there that she has her hero and heroines working and earning. This plot has, along-side medical and police field, she has one of the characters excelling in clay sculpting. It is very obvious that Nora does a lot of research on each of those occupations that she highlights. And we see the same in this plot where she goes in finite details on clay sculpting and how the art works.

When the book opens the key protagonists all plan on watching the then hit film The Island starring Ewan McGregor which is apt to the time period the book was set in. I never related the last name "McGregor" of this actor to the McGregor series that Nora Roberts had written between 1985 and 1999, although that series was completely romantic as opposed to her other books. 

As I read this book, Virginia Beach has a shooting incident where 12 people were killed, a mindless killing by a disgruntled employee. It never makes sense to me how human mind can break and create havoc for everyone around them. Anyways, it scared the hell out of me when I heard this news. Almost made me stop reading the book, cause I was worried if by reading had I made an incident come true. But then I shook my feelings and went on to complete the book.

Nora Roberts weaves into the plot the benefits of Physical Therapy combined with Yoga and Breathing Exercises (Pranayama). I absolutely agree with her after what I have been through past two years and how first-hand I have seen it benefitting me.

Usually Nora hasn't been having thrillers heavily loaded around the psychology of human mind. I remember her books from 1987 and 1988 - The Sacred Sins and Brazen Virtue respectively - that gave me shudders and shivers when I had read. She brought in the same kind of chills with this plot.

However, in this we already know who the antagonist(s) was/were and also know who the potential victims would be well-ahead of the time. How they travel the path that Nora paves for and eventually meet the protagonist that will cause the end of their rampage, is what kept the plot interesting. At times it was a like a laundry list of things and mundane musings, yet they all connected well in the end.

Definitely Nora Roberts is back in her originality giving the readers the jolts and shocks of romance, love, psychology and human relationship in general. A thriller with a minor note of chillness and heavier note of human mind and heart, is a good book to read for any of those days.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. One particular episode in the plot reminded me of Stephen King's psychological thriller Misery. That film scared me shit when I saw it. Kathy Bates to date gives me shivers.

2) Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a.  On Pg. 87, Line 3, it should be "…said his name was…"


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