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The Search    by Nora Roberts order for
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After surviving a nightmarish abduction by the Red Scarf Killer, Fiona Bristow begins a new life on the quiet and isolated Orcas Island, determined to honour her fiancé's memory by continuing to train canine search and rescue dogs. Enter Simon Doyle, a crusty and blunt carpenter who'd recently moved to the island from Seattle and whose patience with his destructive puppy Jaws is fast running out.

Fiona soon finds herself warming to both man and dog. But as their tentative relationship begins to heat up, young women show up dead once again with red scarves tied around their necks. Fiona and the FBI quickly reach identical conclusions: there's either a copycat killer on the loose or the man who'd almost killed Fiona eight years ago has somehow managed to train a protégé while behind bars. It's no secret that he harbours a great deal of suppressed anger toward Fiona for outwitting him. As more young women die and the press swoops in to dredge up dark memories from Fiona's past, she and Simon vow that this time, nothing will get in the way of their newfound happiness.

Roberts' characterizations are spot on and the chapters describing Fiona and her canine unit out on actual search and rescues missions are riveting. However, an overabundance of scenes showing her training dogs (and their people) out of unwanted behaviours soon had me feeling as if I was reading a dog training manual. Unfortunately, the plotline is also clichéd, with far too much build up to Fiona's final confrontation with the killer. The conclusion of The Search ends with a whimper and not Roberts' usual bang.

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