Dear Ms. Roberts:
Most readers say the same thing about you and that is you consistently deliver good, solid reads. But as with all authors, particularly those with ginormous backlists (and yes, ginormous is now an official word), some books are better than others. When I started this book, I was a little apprehensive wondering if this was Eve Dallas redone. While I saw hints of Eve Dallas, mostly in language idiosyncracies, Lt. Phoebe MacNamara is a character all her own and High Noon is one of the best Roberts books I’ve read.
Phoebe MacNamara is a negotiator whose life has been marred by tragedy. You wouldn’t know it to see her in action, talking jumpers off the edge and hostage takers into the light. While Phoebe is out saving strangers everyday, she can’t seem to save her own family. When Phoebe was a young girl, she and her family were taken hostage. She was able to prevent physical harm to her family but her mother became agoraphobic and has not left the house for decades. Phoebe’s daughter has an absentee father. A close family friend hasn’t been able to shake off the vicious verbal abuse Phoebe’s grandmother heaped on her for years.
Duncan Swift first meets Phoebe when she is called in to talk one of his employees out of jumping off the side of a building. He’s impressed with the way she handles herself and wants to get to know her better. Phoebe isn’t interested at first, but Duncan is persistent. He’s intrigued and believes that given the chance, she’ll return his interest. In order to convince Phoebe that they could have a life together, Duncan must make every woman in Phoebe’s life fall in love with him too. It’s a negotiation of the heart and the mind for him.
What made High Noon so memorable for me was that the entirety of the story was about saving lives, those of the hostages and Phoebe’s family and that emotions and fear can hold you hostage more effectively than a man with a gun. It’s a story of how Phoebe saves and is saved herself. The central romance was very strong and nicely balanced against the action. My one complaint was that it did seem similar to the Eve / Roarke dynamic in some ways. Duncan is a caretaker much like Roarke is. I suppose with a backlist of 170+ novels, its hard not to have one compared to another. This story, regardless of some similarities, goes on the keeper shelf. A-