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July 30, 2018 GMT

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

This novel has an opening that will resonate with Colorado readers — a mass shooting in a mall movie theater. The event is narrated from several viewpoints by characters that will continue throughout the rest of the book.

Because of these numerous viewpoints, the novel initially seems to have no main characters and is a bit flat. But when bestselling author Roberts narrows her focus down to two victims, naturally a male and a female, the novel returns to her usual style: mystery/romance.

Initially introduced as teenagers, Simone Knox and Reed Quartermaine mature through the opening section.

Simone was in the movie theater restroom and was the first to call 911 and alert the police to the shootings. She is featured in the press because of this and feels survivor’s guilt. After abandoning her family’s hopes for her to become a lawyer, she pursues her real love as an artist.

Reed worked at a mall restaurant and witnessed the shootings in stores and mall walkways. He rescued a small boy and witnessed the death of his girlfriend. As a result of the incident, Reed realizes that he wants to become a policeman, and the course of his life is set.

As the years progress, both Reed and Simone continue to keep track of other survivors, Reed in protective mode and Simone by doing art based on each victim. Their paths eventually re-cross and the story begins to have a focus and truly becomes interesting.

Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.