by Nora Roberts

October 2004
ISBN: 0-399-15205-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Putnam

Ex-Baltimore cop Nate Burke has gone through a divorce and watched his partner die in his arms within the past year. Feeling guilty for his partnerís death because he feels responsible, Nate canít seem to get over the deep depression that has settled over him. Hoping that a change of scenery will help he accepts the position of Chief of Police in the small town of Lunacy Alaska population 506.

Upon his arrivial in the small Alaska town he will call home for the next year Nate begins to meet the locals and learn his way around. Although he finds all the residents of Lunacy quite interesting he is most infatuated with bush pilot Meg Galloway. After movie night in town Meg takes Nate outside to see the Northern Lights and the two share an unexpected kiss that turns their world upside down.

Meg is a local and she has grown up in Lunacy. She lives at the edge of town with her huskey dogs and has made a success of her bush pilot business. Meg is a loner and she likes it that way. She is attracted to Nate but is not looking for a long-term permanent relationship. A casual fling is fine with her and she lets Nate know this. She is too independent to settle down with anyone no matter how sexy they are.

Soon it is discovered that some local teenage boys have decided to go mountain climbing. Something you donít do in the winter as it can mean death. Nate and Meg set off to find the missing boys. In addition to the boys they find something else, a crime that was committed years ago. After the discovery of the crime, several strange things begin to happen and Nate suspects that the person who commited the years old crime is still in town and will do anything to avoid being found out. Nate may be from the lower 48 and considered an outsider but he intends to protect what he has come to think of as his town and his people.

As always Nora Roberts takes her readers on an incredible journey, this time to the great state of Alaska. Readers will fill the chill in the air as they land in this frigid land with Nate begin their first winter in this forgotten wilderness. Ms. Roberts has a give for transporting readers into her stories and taking them on an incredible journey and this is the feeling that comes across in this book as well.

The thing that made this book for me though was the feisty character of Meg Galloway. She is by far the best character Ms. Roberts has come up with in some time. I loved her outlook on life and her no nonsense attitude about things. Readers of Ms. Robertís writing as J.D. Robb will fall in love with Meg as well because I see definite similarities in Meg and Eve Dallas. They are both really strong women who know what they want and will do everything within their power to get it.

The secondary cast fills out the story nicely and offer a few laughs as well. I hope Ms. Roberts might chose to set future stories in Lunacy because itís a wonderful place to visit and I was a bit sad to leave. Another winner from a magnificent author, Northern Lights will have you longing to visit Alaska for yourself.

Reviewed in September 2004 by Barbara.

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