At age 16 Elizabeth Fitch has a fight with her mom and rebels from the strict atmosphere of home. She does something stupid (makes fake IDs and goes to a club) and disaster ensues. She witnesses a double murder by the Russian mob. Even though she is drunk and sick, she has a photographic memory so she can tell the cops everything that happened. She is placed in Witness Protection but the house is breached by bad cops and her protectors die. Elizabeth/Liz goes on the run for the next 12 years. She becomes a gun-toting reclusive computer security specialist and finally settles down in a small town in Arkansas. Police Chief Brooks Gleason starts sniffing around. At first he is merely curious about Abagail (Liz’s new identity) but that quickly changes to something more. Abagail is not sure she wants a relationship but Brooks wins her over, but will she ever tell him her secret?
I really wish NR would stick to straight romance because I think she does those really well. It is these mystery/romance novels that I don’t think are as good. The first problem with The Witness is the main character Elizabeth/Liz/Abagail. She just isn’t realistic or likeable. I don’t think anyone is that robotic or socially inept. Sure she came from a controlling parental environment but I can’t believe anyone or any character could really exist like her. It made the first part of the book especially difficult to read. I also wish all her books didn’t have this formula of reluctant woman who doesn’t want a relationship/man who is won over by a strong charismatic alpha male. I find it a little offensive that the men in these books always push the women into something they don’t want (but secretly do) until the women give in and love ensues. haven’t they ever heard of No means No? Brooks isn’t a bad character but is a typical NR male: bossy, pushy and always sure he is right. As for the mystery, it wasn’t bad but the book seemed very segmented between the first section and the second. The first is all about the mob and the murders, the second all about Abagail and Brooks falling in love. It is not really until the end that these two stories come together. However, I thought the end was really rushed and there wasn’t a whole lot of tying up of loose ends. I wish more time could have been spent on the outcome of Abagail’s decision. It just seemed rushed and lacking information. Not that I really wanted a longer book because this is a thick one, but I am sure some of the previous info could have been dumped for a more satisfying ending.
Not the best NR book but not the worst either. Stronger characters could have made it better.