Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Identity by Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 23, 2023
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan's job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who'd been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.
Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. "Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.
What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn't his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan's nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother's home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn't flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn't forgotten the one who got away.
I was thrilled to be offered the chance to read this latest romantic suspense stand-alone from Nora Roberts. I’m a huge fan of her JD Robb books and the small number of her books I have read. I am slowly working on her backlist for me.
The style and tone of this book felt familiar to the JD Robb books. Morgan was easy to like. She worked hard for her goals, was compassionate with others. She exhibited one of my standards – expect nothing, be grateful for everything. Even when she did excellent work for her employers she didn’t expect them to like her or anything beyond a paycheck. But she built a group of real friends in Baltimore, a sort of found family. Until her identity was stolen.
Not only was her close friend murdered, but all her accounts were drained with loans being taken out in her name, against her house, new credit cards opened in her name with huge charges. Morgan works hard to pay the debts through her 2 jobs, but finally has to sell her house and move to Vermont to live with her mother and grandmother to start over financially. I don’t think I would handle things as well or calmly as Morgan.
So the middle portion of the story finds Morgan working in a new job, a very good job, which is fulfilling. She is living with her Mom and Grams and getting to know them. They are not who she thought and it’s a blessing for all three to have this time together. She also finds a romantic relationship. During this time, she gets chilling updates from the FBI periodically. This middle, large portion of the book, was inspiring in her work and character growth, but not much in the way of action. Even the romance was relaxed, friendly and comfortable.
The serial killer, Gavin, has been devolving, blaming Morgan for his bad luck. It’s inevitable he will come for her. This caused tension for me throughout the book. The actual attack near the end was bad enough, but I was proud of how Morgan handled herself, as she was prepared. The story feels more like the development of Morgan as she learns to know herself and her family, a bit more than romance. I really enjoyed and recommend Identity.
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