Usually, Nora Roberts is a safe bank when it comes to buying and reading a book blind. This time not. I am so disappointed. Only the characters were able to keep this novel from absolute reading failure. And I have no idea why she failed here so wholly. The author knows how to write great books. She knows how to create tension and figures that bring a story to life. So why didn´t you do it here, too? In the end, the single characters saved this story from a total disaster. So, no. Nightwork isn´t what I had hoped for.

Im Schutz Der Nacht*
by Nora Roberts
Translation Margarethe van Pée
Original Title Nightwork
Publisher Blanvalet on March 1, 2023
Genre Novel
Pages 606
Format Hardcover
Source Blanvalet

Harry Booth was just a child when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. In order to be able to pay the horrendous medical bills, he resorts to unusual means: he breaks into vacant houses under cover of night. When his beloved mother dies years later, Harry begins an unsteady wandering life. He has long seen himself as a thief with fixed rules: never attract attention, never stay long, only take from those who can afford it. Until he meets Miranda Emerson and forgets all caution about his love for her. Just then, Carter LaPorte, a former client, and his greatest enemy, tracks him down. Harry knows how little time he and Miranda have before LaPorte ruthlessly hunts them down. He makes a lonely decision...
When Harry Booth must learn that no matter how fair his mother plays in life and no matter how hard she works to make ends meet, things just don´t play out the way they want them he decides that sometimes you must give it a little twist too. But one day, one man is a bit too much in need of his help, and within no time, Harry’s life changes again. Not in the way he wanted it but in a way, he can live with. Well, at first at least.

The incredibly atmospheric note, which was particularly captivating at the beginning of the story, is used up after just a few chapters. The author shows the ordeal of a woman suffering from cancer, whose son starts a more than unusual career as a thief in order to be able to pay the bills. What worked wonderfully in another of the author's novels goes completely wrong here. Sure, the story has a certain charm, and the humor is not neglected either and the characters show the typical loyalty and family love. And so far, everything is good. But the evil is too defiant, too vain and the plot just seems too much sunshine here.

No question, the writing style is clearly that of Nora Roberts. The structure, the design, everything fits. Unfortunately, the story between the pages didn't convince me at all this time. This book only shows sophistication in the thieves that the main character plans and carries out. Otherwise, it is only a pale habit of presenting details, landscapes, and scenes.

The individual characters are ultimately the reason that saved the novel from the rating crash. Strength and willpower are shown that are simply convincing. Well, Nora Roberts doesn't omit a cliché that I don't usually see her do, but it seems to work here. While it doesn't elevate the story above average, that's better than a zero number.

Unfortunately, not a novel that I can recommend without hesitation. The plot is far too predictable, the characters have little depth despite all the tragedy, and that certain something is completely missing. For a Nora Roberts book, this story is surprisingly bland and uneventful. A pity. Despite the humorous components, this novel is disappointing and this time remains only average for me.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Blanvalet in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Die unglaublich stimmungsvolle Note, die besonders zu Anfang der Geschichte gefesselt hat, ist schon nach wenigen Kapiteln aufgebraucht. Die Autorin zeigt den Leidensweg einer krebskranken Frau, deren Sohn eine mehr als ungewöhnliche Karriere als Dieb startet, um die Rechnungen bezahlen zu können. Was in einem anderen Roman der Autorin wunderbar funktioniert hat, geht hier komplett daneben. Sicher, die Geschichte hat einen gewissen Charme und der Humor kommt auch nicht zu kurz und die Figuren zeigen die typische Loyalität und Familienliebe. Und so weit ist auch alles gut. Aber das Böse ist zu trotzig, zu eitel und auch der Plot wirkt hier einfach nur zu alles eitel Sonnenschein.

Keine Frage, der Schreibstil ist klar der von Nora Roberts. Der Aufbau, die Gestaltung, es passt alles. Die Geschichte zwischen den Seiten konnte mich nur leider diesmal gar nicht überzeugen. Raffinesse zeigt dieses Buch nur bei den Diebeszügen, die die Hauptfigur plant und durchführt. Ansonsten ist es nur blasse Gewohnheit im Präsentieren von Details, Landschaften und Szenen.

Die einzelnen Figuren sind letztlich der Grund, die den Roman vor dem Rating-Absturz bewahrt haben. Da werden eine Stärke und Willenskraft gezeigt, die einfach nur überzeugt. Gut, Nora Roberts lässt kein Klischee aus, was ich normalerweise nicht von ihr kenne, aber hier scheint es zu funktionieren. Es hebt die Geschichte zwar nicht über die Durchschnittlichkeit hinaus, aber das ist besser als eine Null-Nummer.

Leider kein Roman, den ich bedenkenlos empfehlen kann. Die Handlung ist viel zu vorhersehbar, die Figuren haben trotz aller Tragik kaum Tiefgang und das gewisse Etwas fehlt komplett. Für ein Nora Roberts Buch ist diese Geschichte erstaunlich blass und ereignislos. Schade. Trotz der humorigen Bestandteile enttäuscht dieser Roman und bleibt für mich diesmal nur Durchschnitt.



*This book was originally published by St. Martin´s Press on May 24, 2022

Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts ©Bruce Wilder

Nora Roberts, born in Silver Spring, Maryland, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming. Nora is a member of several writer’s groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.” She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


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