Lila Emerson prides herself on her no-ties lifestyle as a house sitter and writer of teen werewolf fiction. Moving from place to place as she accepts each new assignment to watch the homes of others while they're away, she travels light and doesn't look back. One night, while at her latest abode in a fancy Chelsea apartment in New York City, Lila uses her binoculars to observe the lives of others in nearby buildings as she so often does. In her opinion, if you don't pull down your blinds, your activities are fair game. And besides, she's not really a voyeur --- she's simply a student of human behavior. After all, it helps with her writing.
"THE COLLECTOR is a thrilling read from start to finish. With appealing characters, an intensely engaging murder mystery, numerous plot twists and non-stop action, the novel will surely appeal to readers who love a grand adventure, but who prefer to experience it from a safe, cozy armchair at home."
While at the apartment of the Kilderbrands, who are vacationing in the south of France, Lila sees a couple she labels Blondie and Mr. Slick, a noticeably attractive pair who often argue passionately and then spend their time having makeup sex. On this particular night, however, things go horribly awry. To Lila's horrified amazement, it appears that Mr. Slick has pushed Blondie through the window to her ultimate death in the street below. She immediately calls 911.
When the police arrive to take her statement, Lila learns that the woman who plunged several stories was model and commercial star Sage Kendall, and the man who she believes killed her and then shot himself is playboy and arts and antiquities dealer Oliver Archer, brother of famous artist Ashton Archer. While still in shock over the scene she witnessed, Lila runs into Ashton at the local police station and accepts his request to sit down with him and tell him what she knows about the tragedy. Ashton, it turns out, is firmly convinced that his brother never would have killed his girlfriend and taken his own life.
At first, Lila believes Ashton is simply mired in grief and denial, but as he presents his case to her, she comes to believe that he may be right. The two pair up to see if they can discover whether or not there is more to this story than meets the eye. While Lila wouldn't normally take up with a stranger, there's something compelling about this inordinately attractive man who paints pictures of beautiful women in whimsical settings for a living.
As Lila and Ash delve deeper into the mystery of the demise of Sage and Oliver, they uncover startling truths that reveal a deeper level of activity behind the scenes. The more they learn, the more they are in danger from a killer who took great pains to stage the scene of the couple's death and make it appear as something it isn't. What is the killer after, and how far will he go to get it?
While their investigation of the murder takes priority, neither Lila nor Ash can deny the immense attraction that's growing between them. Will they live to explore the possibly idyllic relationship that can be theirs if they only try? Or will a ruthless killer end their lives before they can fully connect with one another?
THE COLLECTOR is a thrilling read from start to finish. With appealing characters, an intensely engaging murder mystery, numerous plot twists and non-stop action, the novel will surely appeal to readers who love a grand adventure, but who prefer to experience it from a safe, cozy armchair at home. Once again, Nora Roberts reminds us why she remains a top-notch author who provides sure-to-please reads on a regular basis.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on April 19, 2014