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4.0 out of 5 stars Fateful Encounters
If you are a long-time Nora Roberts fan, please be aware that this book is quite different from her usual fare. If you don't like violence and cruelty mixed in with your romances, this book isn't for you.

On the other hand, if you don't know her work and are interested in a novel that evokes the Greek tragedies, give Blue Smoke a try.

The ancient...
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Effort!
Nora Roberts' latest effort is much different from anything I've read by her. This is a dark suspense with rather violent undertones. The violence is not used for shock factor but perhaps could have been toned down just a touch.
Renna Hale's life is changed dramatically one August night when her families' pizzeria is set aflame. The investigation that follows...
Published on Dec 27 2005 by Kristi Ahlers


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4.0 out of 5 stars Fateful Encounters, July 15 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Mass Market Paperback)
If you are a long-time Nora Roberts fan, please be aware that this book is quite different from her usual fare. If you don't like violence and cruelty mixed in with your romances, this book isn't for you.

On the other hand, if you don't know her work and are interested in a novel that evokes the Greek tragedies, give Blue Smoke a try.

The ancient Greeks believed that the Fates determined what happened to us and that the gods were romping like spoiled children interfering in the lives of humans for their own pleasure. The modern version of that belief is that our environments, our families and our experiences shape us almost totally. Scientists would disagree, pointing out that many traits are inherited. The truth is somewhere in between. Blue Smoke takes that idea of circumstances and inheritance, and develops how two people might turn out to be quite opposite.

As the novel opens, the key incident is already in the background. Joey Pastorelli has assaulted Reena Hale in the school yard, and she would have suffered worse if her younger brother hadn't intervened. Her angry father confronted Joey's father, and that meeting touched off fiery tinder in all of their lives. Awakened by her first period, she looks down the street to see in her horror that the family's restaurant, Sirico's, in Baltimore's little Italy, is in flames. She sounds the alarm, and lives are saved. Fascinated by the fire and the investigation into what turns out to be arson, she determines to become an arson investigator. When the miscreant behind the fire turns out to be Joey's father, the whole family is relieved when he's carted off to jail. But the episode isn't over yet . . . although the Hale family doesn't realize it.

In the rest of the book, we see the effects of those events from the perspective of three narrators, Reena, Joey and Reena's future fiancé, Bo.

As you can see from this set-up, the book delves into more serious subject matter than most novels do. I found the work was quite impressive. I only graded the book down because the violence was too much for me. There's one scene in particular near the book's end that seemed particularly gratuitous. I think this story could have been written effectively without being so focused on criminal psychology. Yes, there are a few monsters out there. But, no, I don't expect to find them in suspense stories without more warning than this book provides to potential readers. If you dislike violence more than I do, you'll grade the book down even more.

A particular strength of the book is the way that the tensions among the characters are developed. You can see where the story is probably going, and you'll find yourself carried along by the story telling into wanting to know the details.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Effort!, Dec 27 2005
By 
Kristi Ahlers (Illinois) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Hardcover)
Nora Roberts' latest effort is much different from anything I've read by her. This is a dark suspense with rather violent undertones. The violence is not used for shock factor but perhaps could have been toned down just a touch.
Renna Hale's life is changed dramatically one August night when her families' pizzeria is set aflame. The investigation that follows uncovers the arson and eventually the arsonist is arrested. Thinking that this part of her life is over and that she can move on, Renna focuses all of her effort on her long-term goal. She is going be a fire investigator. Fire has shaped the girl and the woman she has yet become. While trying to see to her dream of school and the job she wants Renna focus on school and not on a social life. But, when she finally finds "the one" she begins to think that she can have both, until a fire takes the life of her boyfriend. Once again fire plays a role in her life. This sets off a series of events one more horrific then the last. Will Renna be able to figure out who the psychotic serial-arsonist, killer is before he manages to take another life of a man Renna learns to care about?
This is a very dark read and the reader should be forewarned that the violence is rather...intensive. For the most part, character development is strong, although Renna could have been a tad sharper for all that she was an arson investigator, and she should have been able to put the puzzle together...a tad faster than she did. The "who" as far as the bad guy is not a huge surprise and the "suspense" portion of the read is really whether Renna will figure it out before it's too late. Although not one of her stronger efforts...I would not go out of my way to avoid this...but do not expect what this author has provided in the past for this read. It's dark and violent, and just a tad overwhelming as a result.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, March 20 2006
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Hardcover)
Loved BLUE SMOKE. The way I did SPELLBOUND. I thought this was strictly a mystery. Wrong. It's much more. Character development is one of Roberts' strong suits. Reena and Bo are wonderfully developed and that development continues throughout the book with the use of flashbacks into their childhoods. When I finished reading this, it felt like Bo and Reena were good friends I had known for years. The colorful support cast is fantastic. From Bianca and Gib (Reena's parents) to assorted sisters and a brother, the Hales are a hearty group. The reader can almost smell the Italian dishes prepared for family meals, and hear the chaotic noise level from everyone talking at once. I was given an insight into Bo's quiet life from his client Mrs. M to his ex-girlfriend turned best friend, Mandy. Yes, the support cast is numerous but each one is absolutely a delight. Also recommended: KATZENJAMMER by Jackson McCrae.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Authors, June 8 2006
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Hardcover)
Nora Roberts is one of my all time favorite authors, so when I have a chance to read her work I am more than thrilled to do so. She has yet to let me down with her work, and this one 'Blue Smoke' is one of the best. In my opinion....Buy it!

Also recommending: Of course Nora Roberts and my other favorite author Katlyn Stewart
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5.0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY ... GREAT PLOT!, Oct. 21 2005
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Hardcover)
Nora Roberts can't be beat in her romantic genre, but her books are more than romance! She writes some of the greatest mysteries in the world. I love this author.
Also read my books, and romantic suspense by Victoria Taylor Murray and Janet Sue Terry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In True Nora Style, Oct. 10 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Hardcover)
In true Nora Roberts style she never lets you down with yet another fabulous novel. Her work never grows old, is always a bit different, spicy and exciting. This one, 'Blue Smoke' is no exception.
read-all Nora Roberts, Katlyn Stewart, Sophia Kinsella
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2.0 out of 5 stars Quite Drawn Out and Fairly Predictable SPOLIER ALERT, Sept. 26 2013
By 
Cee Ess - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Kindle Edition)
This is the first Nora Roberts book I have read and likely the last. The story is about a young women who was destined to become a cop who specializes in arson. The main character, Baltimore native Reena Hale, is supposed to be a street smart cop. However, she seems stupid to not put some of the most obvious clues together around the various fire outbreaks pegging off the people in her life (this is the extend of the spoiler part). It would have been more interesting if Reena clued in sooner and the plot lines were weaved a little tighter to reduce it from 480 pages. Annoyance also comes from the fact that the grammar was horrific in spots.

It is an easy read and the plot twists to create sprinkles of suspense beyond what's mainly predictable. That said, the writing style doesn't use words creatively and as a result, the overall effect is boring even though some shockingly violent events take place. The romance is trite but adds some dimension to illustrate the figurative side of heat and flame. Read it if you are bored or you don't care if the writing style is mundane and the plot is overextended. Really, it's not great, but it passes the time. I can't fathom reading anything else by this author, but hey, good for her for writing dozens of books and making a living at it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this one. There are better ones out there., Feb. 5 2011
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Mass Market Paperback)
I suppose I can't expect Roberts to blow me away with every book that she writes, especially since she is so prolific but I found this book to be such a let down that I was stunned. I have read many, many Nora Roberts books and I love her In Death series when she writes as JD Robb, but Blue Smoke just didn't work. The characters just weren't that developed or even likable and with the added cruelty and violence thrown in it just wasn't an enjoyable read. If you want to try a Nora Roberts book DO NOT BUY BLUE SMOKE. There are better ones out there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Smoke - Nora Roberts, June 24 2009
By 
N. Leandro "Story Seeker" (Hamilton,Ont.Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Mass Market Paperback)
The story captured my attention from the start.It keeps you wanting more.An excellent read than again isn't all Nora Roberts books amazing...you'll agree once you start.I got the chance to watch the movie based on the book....it was good but the book blows it away with more details. A must,five stars! The suspence was crazy but good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the romantic at heart, July 5 2007
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blue Smoke (Mass Market Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel a real chick book. Lots of suspense, the story is well crafted and nicely paced, the characters are likable and the love story well done. It appeals to the romantic at heart.
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Blue Smoke
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts (Mass Market Paperback - May 30 2006)
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