A little bit mystery, a little bit crime, and a little bit romance…is there any better work of fiction than one that covers all of your loves?

By Heather on July 19th, 2009

While I tend to love romantic fiction sometimes more than anything else, I’ve found that I go gaga over books that contain a combination of all the elements that make up a really great mainstream-type fiction book.   For me those elements are: romance, mystery, and crime.

Now, I hear everyone saying that most crimes always have a touch of mystery. The who did/dun it element, but a really great author will make it more than about the who and more about the why and how. Even if you know from the start (even if it’s spelled out!), the best reads for me are those that make you wonder and try to play Sherlock Holmes and figure out the mystery behind the crime.

One of my favorite authors who does this combination so super well, is the totally awesome Nora Roberts. There are a few other authors who I adore that write this combination as well, but for this article I plan to talk about books that might even be labeled under the “romance” genre rather than the “mystery” or “crime” genres–but that are clearly both.

Nora’s latest book, Black Hills, is a prime example of how a well written book can be all things to many people. It fulfills the need I have to have that happily ever after (or happy resolution, though I’m usually a firm HEA fan myself) but with more in the plot.


About Black Hills

A summer at his grandparents’ South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan’s idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he’s discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn’t as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker’s body.

As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father’s demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.

An investigator in New York, Coop recently left his fastpaced life to care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something . . . or someone . . . has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil’s beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.

Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. But now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

The elements that immediately stand out (before you even read the book) are:

  1. Mystery — they found a dead body when they were young, a crime that has always been left lingering in their mind.
  2. Crime — while the dead body from their past is still there in their minds, the present day crimes stand out and brings back in the unsolved murder from the past.
  3. Romance — Coop and Lil had a childhood crush (stolen kisses!) that still lingers and when fate brings them back together the chemistry will ignite.

This book has it all, and it will definitely be a recommended read for me.

Want quicker, easier access to good books?

The Last Policeman  (The Last Policeman Series, #1) Sydney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries, #1) Personal (A Jack Reacher novel)