I initially thought that "The Search" was going to be a very good romantic suspense novel, but I ended up disliking the male hero so much that it ruined any enjoyment I previously had and then soured me on the book. Roberts did a lot of research it seems into Search and Rescue and dog behavior which was good. Heck, I will even throw out some kudos about the serial killer plot being woven into the story believably. However, I cannot with a male hero who calls the heroine a "cocktease", "bitch" or accuses her of "bitching" and doing his He-Man Alpha BS. The ending was even ruined by her trembling and he had to be the one coming in to save her. Bah to this book.
"The Search" is about Fiona Bristow who lives on an island near Seattle. She has three dogs and trains others and also participates in Search and Rescue on the island. She is also a survivor or a serial killer who eventually murdered her fiancee in retribution for her getting away from him. Though the serial killer is now locked up, someone out there seems hell-bent on being a copy-cat and is kidnapping and murdering young woman again. Fiona is dealing with this along with an unexpected romance with Simon Doyle who is a wood/artisan.
Fiona was wonderful I thought. If the book had been about her, her dogs, and her stepmother and best friend I would have loved it. She obviously has regrets and still thinks about how she lost her fiancee. With the recent missing women she feels guilty and angry. She's self sufficient and smart and the scenes with her and her dogs, or others were highlights. I do wish that we had more backstory about her murdered fiancee though. Maybe an earlier scene with them together or a prologue would have worked. I never did feel like he was a flesh and blood character.
Simon sucked. His puppy Jaws was cute, but he sucked. Him going around and telling Fiona how things would be, him getting angry at her and telling her she wasn't going to handle him like her dogs was disparaging and nasty. I didn't even understand why she stayed with him since he was an asshole to her too many times to count. Heck even how he proposed would have caused me to run to the hills.
I think the worst part for me was his negative reaction when she dared to clean his house. I would have told him enjoy the filth, I'm out. Roberts too many times has these alpha he-men in her romantic suspense novels and they always rub me the wrong way. What is wrong with having the man and woman in the story as equals without her having to be some helpless thing that needs to be saved.
“You’ve got a bug up your ass today,” he said before she could speak.
“A definite bitch on. Well, enjoy.”
He whistled for his dog, which naturally brought the whole pack."
I would have planted my foot up his ass. Seriously. He used the word "bitch" to much when talking to her. Cause a woman who is upset and not her usual bright self has a "bitch on". I kept wishing the serial killer copy cat would murder Simon.
“For me there is. And now I have soup and . . .” She peeled back the foil. “Mmmm, rosemary bread. This is exceptional. I have a stepmother who’d take the time to make it for me, a neighbor who’d bring it by even though he’d rather not, and my dogs. I’m not allowed to brood. So we’ll have dinner and conversation. But I’m not going to sleep with you after.”
She nearly choked on the wine. “You did not just say that.”
Ha ha. Yeah, no. He's an asshole. I would have kicked him out at this point.
“I’m not fucking done. You don’t run this show. I don’t know how you worked it before with your cop, but this is now. You’re dealing with me now. You’d better think about that, and if you can’t deal with it, you let me know. We’ll leave it that we just fuck when we’re both in the mood, and move on.”
At this point I was just glad I had nothing breakable near me. Romantic suspense does not equal asshole hero.
“If you’re going to bitch, I’m going to sit down and drink my beer.”
“If I’m going to—You left here this morning pissed off and bossy. Interrupting me every five seconds. Telling me to shut up.”
“I’m about to repeat that.”
“What gives you the right to tell me what to do, what to think, what to say?”
“Not a thing.”
He tipped the beer in her direction. “And right back at you, Fiona.”
“I’m not telling you what to do. I’m giving you a choice, and I’m telling you I won’t tolerate this kind of behavior.”
His gaze fired to hers, molten gold sheathed in ice. “I’m not one of your dogs. You won’t train me.”
She should have kicked him out of her damn house at this point.
The secondary characters were more interesting. We had two FBI agents checking in with Fiona, one who was there the last time around. Frankly it would have made more sense for her to get involved with that character than Simon.
I was curious about how Fiona's mother was still alive and sounded like a caring woman, but we got no dialogue between them. At least I can't remember any. She's really close to her stepmother which was nice to see.
The serial killer parts were disturbing and I skimmed as much as possible. Towards the end of the book it just felt endless.
I would argue the flow wasn't that great at the end of the book. All of a sudden we just go on a hunt for a serial killer and the book needed a better lift in my eyes. Everything just kind of ends.
The setting of the book takes place on Orcas Island, San Juan Islands which sounded pretty fantastic. I was just in the northwest and fell in love with Seattle and Portland. It was nice to have a better idea of the landscape and homes that would be there while reading this book.
The ending was a big raspberry. Honestly I think a stronger ending could have raised this up a star for me if we had Fiona standing tall without Simon there to show what a big strong man he is with his fists.
Definitely will say the dogs were a delight and highlight, though I can see why some people complained there was a lot of dog talk in this book and not enough romance. For me, there was not enough romance cause the hero was terrible.