Nightwork by Nora Roberts reminds the reader why her books are so successful. She can flat out write! This 2022 release is so suspenseful and so engaging, the pages kept turning themselves. And yet, the novel belongs in the romance genre. Nightwork tells the story of a cat thief from his first caper at the tender age of nine. Harry Booth steals the heart even though he is a world class criminal.
Booth likes his night work. The reader follows along on each job sensing the early fears of getting caught. Booth outgrows those fears even though this reader did not. His skills increase throughout his teenage years. His dying mother oblivious. But not his Aunt Mags.
Mags is a free spirit accustomed to roaming the country. She puts everything on hold to help her sister raise Booth. And she sticks even harder once the cancer appears. While she may not condone Booth’s actions, she definitely looks the other way. Necessity blurs the lines and creates acceptance.
But the night work continues once the need is no longer there.
Nightwork: Right vs. Wrong
Inner conflict exists for both the main characters and this reader. The issue of right vs. wrong should make Booth an unlikeable character. But Roberts creates so much empathy throughout the story that moral lines blur. So, the reader begins to worry Booth will get caught and suspense mounts.
To further the conflict, Roberts introduces the Shakespearean fan Miranda Emerson. Sparks fly between Booth and Miranda, a fellow literature student at Chapel Hill. True love for both at the tender age of twenty. Then the past catches up with Booth.
Pressed into night work against his will, Booth finally understands his chosen path makes normal relationships impossible. To protect Miranda, Aunt Mags and others he wanders the world for a decade pulling heists here and there earning the name The Chameleon. No place to call home and always looking over his shoulder.
Confronting the Past
Finally, Booth decides to hide in plain sight. Adopting another new alias, he begins teaching at a high school in a small town with no known associates. A sabbatical of some sorts and he finds a new career. Booth discovers teaching is every bit as compelling as thievery.
He settles in. Then the past catches up once again. Only this time, a vengeful Miranda is the danger. Of course, Nightwork is a romance. So, the two former lovers forge a new relationship based on honesty. At least with each other. The rekindling of love increases the suspense for the reader. But now the question is Will They Get Caught?
Nightwork Encompasses Multiple Themes
Nora Roberts creates complex characters and detailed plots, puts those together and then merges moral conflict into the mix and out pops a suspenseful page turning book. I was on the edge of my seat for most of this one. Somehow, she convinced me to side with a cat thief. Nightwork masterfully blurs the lines and bends the rules. And delivers a very satisfactory love story.