REMEMBER WHEN
Nora Roberts & J.D. Robb


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Putnam, Nov 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

REMEMBER WHEN is divided into two parts, combining the writing styles of Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb. Part One is written in the style and voice of best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts, and Part Two is written in the futuristic mystery style of J.D. Robb, Ms. Roberts' pseudonym. It isn't often a best-selling writer can make another name for herself in a different genre, but Ms Roberts accomplished that in 1995 with the publication of her futuristic crime series. Now she is breaking new ground by joining her two styles together in one story.

Laine Tavish, aka Elaine O'Hara, has escaped her checkered past and built a good life for herself in Angel's Gap, Maryland. Her antique shop, Remember When, and lovely home are far removed from her early life on the lam with her con artist father, Jack O'Hara. Until one rainy day, when Uncle Willy visits. Uncle Willy, her father's closest friend and partner, acts mysteriously, leaving his card for Laine with an alias asking her to call him later. However when Uncle Willy dashes from her store, he is run over on the rainy street outside her shop. As Laine kneels over the dying man, he whispers a cryptic message, mumbling he must have been followed and "to keep it safe." Laine doesn't want the past intruding on the life she has built for herself, but will she be able to keep the past buried?

Max Gannon, insurance investigator, is on the trail of a team of jewel thieves who stole millions in diamonds and left one partner dead. He's good at his job and knows when Willy winds up dead in Angel Gap, Laine's got to be a link to finding Jack O'Hara and Alex Crew. But when he meets the beautiful redhead, he finds he wants more from her than the information that will lead him to her father and the diamonds. He's walking a fine line, balancing the diamond investigation and his feelings for Laine Tavish.

Fast forward to 2059 and meet Samantha Gannon, an author living in NYC. Samantha is on a national book tour for her new release HOT ROCKS, a true crime novel of the famous diamond heist her grandparents played a key role in solving. Upon return from her book tour Samantha steps into her trendy futuristic apartment to find it ransacked and her close friend and apartment sitter, Andrea Jacobs, dead.

Lt. Eve Dallas, NYSPD detective, pulls the case assignment. Eve and her new partner, Peabody, uncover the connection between Samantha's new book and the murder. Someone thinks Samantha is the key to locating the lost portion of the diamonds that were never recovered.

REMEMBER WHEN is a fascinating, one-of-a-kind writing concept. Part One gives you an exciting romantic suspense story written by an author who is at the top of her game. Roberts consistently writes stories with wonderful characters and snappy dialogue. This one is no exception. Max Gannon and Laine Tavish are both strong, vital characters, instantly attracted to the one person who could bring serious complications into their lives. The path to happiness and safety demands risks for both of them. Great suspense, fascinating characters and topnotch writing: with this combination Nora Roberts just can't miss.

Add to that mix the clever writing of J.D. Robb. This was my first time to read a novel under her Robb pseudonym. I had to do a little research of the already well established relationship of the main characters, Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, in order to understand the context of Part Two. It appears the relationship between these two has developed over the span of sixteen novels. I suggest checking out THE OFFICIAL NORA ROBERTS COMPANION just released October 2003. Any reader who starts with this J.D. Robb novel will be missing a great deal of information. It is this missing history of who the characters are that made the transition from Part One to Part Two a little confusing. The plot moves at a fast pace but I was hindered by my need to understand the characters and the times they are living in. However, the focus of Part Two is not on the main characters. The main event is murder and missing diamonds. While I enjoyed the unique concept of REMEMBER WHEN, the motivation of murder and missing diamonds in Part Two was not enough to make this the spectacular novel it could have been.

 

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