Olivia's parents were one of Hollywood's golden couples-until the night her father destroyed their home and took her mother away forever. Now, years later, Olivia is forced to recall those horrifying events and discover the truth about her childhood.
Her signature florid style again serving a suspenseful mystery combined with a fated romance, bestselling Roberts (Hot Ice) tells a Helter Skelter-type Hollywood horror story lurid with murder, drugs and insanity. One summer night in 1979, four-year-old Olivia Tanner finds her doped-up father, Sam, bloodied shears in hand, poised over the dead body of her movie-star mom. Haunted by the image of "the monster" pursuing her, Olivia is sent to live with her grandparents in the Pacific Northwest, where she is sheltered from her memories by towering Douglas firs. Two decades later, the specter of the "monster" returns. From prison, her father urges young investigative reporter Noah Brady son of the police detective who discovered Olivia after the murder to research the crime. Noah accepts this task eagerly, heedless of Olivia's rebuffs and undeterred by violence and danger, especially after Olivia begins to remember the crime. The denouement brings both of them into a bloody confrontation with the past. Roberts's careful research, particularly into the ecosystems of the forests of the Pacific Northwest, makes for vibrant background detail. Her artful manipulation of the plot, contrived so that amour and horror escalate in tandem, reaffirms her ability to deliver entertaining fiction. 275,000 first printing; 300,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour. (Mar.) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 30, 2000
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Excerpt from River's End by Nora Roberts
The monster was back. The smell of him was blood. The sound of him was terror.
She had no choice but to run, and this time to run toward him.
The lush wonder of forest that had once been her haven, that had always been her sanctuary, spun into a nightmare. The towering majesty of the trees was no longer a grand testament to nature's vigor, but a living cage that could trap her, conceal him. The luminous carpet of moss was a bubbling bog that sucked at her boots. She ripped through ferns, rending their sodden fans to slimy tatters, skidded over a rotted log and destroyed the burgeoning life it nursed.
Green shadows slipped in front of her, beside her, behind her, seemed to whisper her name.
Livvy, my love. Let me tell you a story.
Breath sobbed out of her lungs, set to grieving by fear and loss. The blood that still stained her fingertips had gone ice-cold.
Rain fell, a steady drumming against the windswept canopy, a sly trickle over lichen-draped bark. It soaked into the greedy ground until the whole world was wet and ripe and somehow hungry.
She forgot whether she was hunter or hunted, only knew through some deep primal instinct that movement was survival.
She would find him, or he would find her. And somehow it would be finished. She would not end as a coward. And if there was any light in the world, she would find the man she loved. Alive.
She curled the blood she knew was his into the palm of her hand and held it like hope.
Fog snaked around her boots, broke apart at her long, reckless strides. Her heartbeat battered her ribs, her temples, her fingertips in a feral, pulsing rhythm.
She heard the crack overhead, the thunder snap of it, and leaped aside as a branch, weighed down by water and wind and time, crashed to the forest floor.