I bought this book to read as I needed something light to while away a plane flight after a torrid trip away. This was perfect escapism and as always Nora Roberts sets her stories in places of beautiful scenery which also helps to transport yourself away from reality.
This book is set in Alaska and is a mystery/romance combination. Damaged cop Nate accepts a job as Chief of Police in a very small town called Lunacy in the backblocks of Alaska. He had been shot and wounded in Baltimore in a confrontation that took the life of his partner. Nate blames himself for the death of his colleague and is suffering from depression and survivor guilt. Alaska is a make or break decision for him and he arrives at the beginning of winter, where daylight only lasts for a few hours and the cold is intense. It doesn't seem like a good place to recover from depression!
Nate gradually gets to know the colourful residents of Lunacy, some of whom are resentful of him being an 'Outsider'. He finds himself attracted to a bush pilot called Meg Galloway, while fending off the advances of her oversexed mother. While the depression still overwhelms him at times he starts to feel a sense of purpose in this close knit, isolated community, and the petty crime matters he is called upon to deal with are enough for him in his damaged state.
Then three boys become lost on a mountain and take shelter in a cave where they discover a frozen corpse with an iceaxe through the chest. The corpse turns out to be Meg's father who took off one day and simply never returned. As he was an unreliable character everyone had assumed that he had simply taken off and the realisation that he had been murdered is a shock. Then one of the residents of Lunacy is found dead in an apparent suicide with a note left on his computer confessing to the murder of Meg's father. While the Federal police are happy to accept this, Nate's instincts tell him that there is something fishy here and he sets out find out the truth as to who murdered Meg's father. In doing so he also rediscovers his purpose in life and is able to beat his depression.
The mystery aspect was well written with a number of possible suspects. I guessed at who it was but later rejected that choice so Nora Roberts had me wondering right to the end. The romance was enjoyable and the Alaskan scenery simply stunning. I don't think I could survive a winter in such a harsh climate with so little daylight, but I'd love to see it in summer. Perfect aeroplane reading.