Title: Black Hills
Author: Nora Roberts
Published: July 7, 2009
Number of Pages: 472
A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body.
As the seasons change and the years roll by, Lil remains steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold dear need them most.
When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, memories of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.
Lil and Coop know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.
"We're the smart girls, even when we're idiots." - Tansy
"Run, rabbit, run..." - Ethan
Where do I start? It's a bit strange to do a review for Nora Roberts - after all, it's an adult book through and through ... but jeez, I need something to post. I wasn't planning on reading this but my mom insisted. I really, really, really enjoyed this. Nora Roberts does such an amazing job of making her characters so diverse, so interesting, so fun to listen to. You sympathize with all of them, get angry with them, but ... she just does a really good job.
The plot itself was intoxicating - especially for an animal lover like me. It's basically about this couple, as seen in the synopsis, who are being hunted. The man hunting them is some guy who thinks he's descended from Crazy Horse, and that all civilization in the Black Hills are stealing his land. He wants to claim it back, and Lil is the one who does the most because she has the refuge. He views it as a prison—so he wants to kill her and make a statement, and try and rid the Black Hills of civilization.
The book has a really great balance between love and murder, of the plot between the hunt and the love lives of Coop and Lil. One of the characters, though not mentioned very much, is a cougar named Baby who kept coming back to Lil since he was a baby, even though they kept trying to release him into the wild. He ends up playing a crucial role at the end of the book, one that almost made me cream out loud! Teehee.
Aside from Coop and Lil, she puts another relationship in there: Lil's best friend Tansy, and one of the interns named Farley. Tansy's thirty and dark-skinned, Farley's 24 and white, so she's confused as heck about this relationship when he doesn't have any doubts. Farley has a heart of gold. If only guys like him really could exist... haha. :D
The only downside I saw to the book was the fact that there was so much sex. I know, it's to be expected in a Nora Roberts book, but it seemed like there was more than usual... but oh well. You can't have it all. Otherwise, this book was perfect. A lot of the people that died in the book—you don't have a clue who they are because they died prior to the book's events, but you still feel for them. It's a really unique skill.
Nora Roberts is an expert at making you think and feel however the characters do, regardless of what's going on. Even the murderer! You get in his head and you're wondering how he's going to do whatever it is he's going to do next, even if you're not rooting for him (which, if you are... whaaaat?).
In all, great book. Great characters, great plot, great sideplots, just great. Love it!
Reading: Eldest - Christopher Paolini
Watching: Er... paid programming? I guess... need to change the channel...
Listening to: Tristesse de Xion (Reversed) - Yoko Shimomura
Quote: "Make yourself at home. Jesus." - Lil | Black Hills, Nora Roberts