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  • The Witness

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 16 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,461 ratings)

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The Witness cover art

The Witness

By: Nora Roberts
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Summary

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.

The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn’t know what - and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.

©2012 by Nora Roberts. (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Witness

Average customer ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pulls you in.

The is the first time I have read Nora Roberts and was unsure what to expect. The story pulled me in from the beginning and I was hooked. I love the way the main character grew and developed throughout the story in a way that feels as if you really know her. Beautifully read by Julia Whelan - a great modern crime story where good prevails.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Predictable and shallow

The characters in this book remained cardboard cut-outs for me, and I cared so little about their ultimate fate that I stopped listening at the end of the first part. Good looking man with whacky mother meets incredibly good looking girl with a past. Repetitive, turgid and hackneyed sex scenes (not that I generally mind sex scenes, just like at least a little originality in the vocabulary), no humour, no reality and generally BORING. Not for me.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent and enthralling read

I bought this as something to listen to on the sun lounger by the pool but it is so much better than my usual holiday lstening / reading! It moves from thriller to romance with a good twist to the story at the end. Highly recommended

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Couldn't stop listening

I could easily imagine what the author was describing. And I wanted to not to stop following the story until Iwas through. A bit predictable love story development. The man is so dreamy and honest and good and in love straight away. Oh well we all need some doze of hope. And the main character obviously deserves a good family. Being a native Russian speaker, must say - Russian words that are used are accurate and the pronunciation is very clear and understandable.
Would certainly recommend to a fan of this genre.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Nora Roberts

I have to admit that I am a Nora Roberts fan so I always enjoy her books. This is one of the best so far and the plot has some unexpected twists and turns. It does take longer than usual to set up the background for the heroine but it all makes sense and adds some depth to the story. Very good narration makes the setting and the story come alive. I would recommend this to existing fans and it would also make a great introduction to Nora Roberts' contemporary romance style.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Witness Nora Roberts

I really enjoyed this book the main character is very endearing and likeable and right from the start you care and worry about her. It is well narrated as Julia Whelan has a very pleasant voice to listen to. It leaves you guessing what will happen right until the end and I would definitely recommend this book.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

What did you like best about this story?

I am writing this review in the moments after the book has finished. I loved it, the characters, the twists and turns of the storyline. It was a fantastic listen/read. How will I cope with it being over?

What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Julia Whelan's narration was fantastic. Such a versatile voice, she captured perfectly each of the wide range of chacters.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

At the end, I felt full of emotion. The ending was perfect, but I'm not going to give it away.

Any additional comments?

If you like superbly written crime and romance, just buy it. It has the best of both.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Good

If you want an easy read this book is for you. Enjoyable and believable.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

From suspense into romance

The first half of The Witness is so thrilling that the five stars seem self evident. But then the novel develops into a rather bleak romance without even a chill. A great pity, but this blend of romance and thriller seems to be the new hallmark to Nora Roberts

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good story-great narration

This is not a book I would usually buy or read. But I really enjoyed its steady pace and it was a good book from the start

6 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Davis
  • 20-04-12

Classic Nora - Outstanding!!!!

This is one of the best single titles from Nora ever....I was engrossed within the first 10 minutes - couldn't turn it off - listened straight through to the end. My idea of a perfect book is when the last couple of paragraphs are read/heard - you give that sigh of satisfaction from reading/hearing a great book! I highly recommend this one...

197 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L Duffy
  • 19-04-12

EXCELLENT!

The only reason I'm not giving this book 5 stars all around is because I like a little more heat in my readings/listens, but wow! I'm so glad I gave Nora Roberts another shot. I loved the heroine in this book!
After having been raised by "Mommie Dearest" and at 16-years-old becoming the solo witness that could bring down the Russian Mafia, it was a trip to see her emotional growth, survivable and finally her triumph.
Don't get me wrong, there's romance, a very sweet romance; the hero was just the perfect supportive (loved him too) character for Liz and the story.

NARRATION
Julia Whelan was amazing!! Fantastic narration! Her portrayal of 16-year-old Liz's was right on target, and equally fantastic was her interpretation of 28-years-old Abigail.
Her command of the different accents and voices was impressive and a tremendous show of her talent.
Excellent performance.
Sensuality: Warm

111 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-04-12

A great book

Over the last few years I have forgotten what made me fall in love with Nora Roberts books 15 years ago. This book reminds me of why I love her books. Abigail is a survivor and I really fell in love with her strength. Brooks was an amazing perfect match for Abigail. Strong enough to let Abigail be strong and not let it diminish him. This is one of her best books.

99 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary
  • 24-04-12

JUST SIMPLY FANTASTIC LISTENING ! !

Would you listen to The Witness again? Why?

I will definately listen to The Witness again, if not possible 3 or 4 times due to the fact that it is written and preformed at such a level that it's a pure joy to listen to.

What other book might you compare The Witness to and why?

The Witness in basically quite incomparable. The closest I can think of is Nora Roberts "Chasing Fire". I have listened to "Chasing Fire" four times because it dramatizes the simplicity of the way a man and woman can be drawn together on a permanant level when they never saw that coming. The Witness goes from suspence, to murder to humor and back to suspense again. The story is anything if not totally interesting and a pure joy to listen too.

What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I can't begin to express hoiw very much Julia Whelan bring tlhe story to live with her dramatization of the different characters. If I were to simply read a hard copy, I would miss the little nuances of humor and pauses for suspense that Julia Whelan weaves into the dialoge of the characters. You couldn't have picked anyone better to narrate this book..

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had a very extreme reaction while listening to this book, in the way it was written causing me to laugh at qluite a bit of it. I had thought I would just listen to a few chapters and then go to bed. I was so drawn into the story that I hated to leave it to go to bed. It was just simply a book to listen to for total pleasure.

98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CrzGzr
  • 15-05-12

Now, this Book needs to become a series!

I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time. The main character, Elizabeth/Abigail, is delightful. I am a total geek and I often live like a hermit, although it is more difficult now that I'm married... But, I am familiar with the social dysfunction of this character. You really don't need a super high IQ, be a programmer or high tech to be someone with limited social skills, but it does seem to follow. Elizabeth was raised in a dysfunctional home, she suffers a traumatic experience and must survive alone without any support other than her own wits. Her inability to communicate is endearing, she is honest and sincere in her attempts to keep up her walls. When she falls in love, we are taken away with her like a leaf floating in a stream, the current is fast, slow, she hits a few edies and gets slammed into a rock or two.

I haven't read Nora Roberts for awhile, the reviews have been enough to keep me away. I admit I wasn't expecting a good read but the character resonated with me. I am very satisfied and hope Nora Roberts doesn't shy away from a trilogy or even a series, she has a real winner here. This community of characters contain endless possibilities for future books.

I already miss the characters and will listen again today. I often enjoy books by listening more than a few times, some are just a familiar listen while restless or gardening or yes, programming! But I rarely start listening, days after the first listen!

90 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian PDX
  • 08-05-12

Roberts version of Dragon Tattoo protagonist

Since the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo",strong intelligent tech/geek women have been the female protagonist do jour.... I guess it's no surprise that Roberts has her own entry...in the form of Lizzy ( aka Abagail), a young woman with Mensa level intelligence who, as a teen,accidentally connects with the Russian mob, goes into witness protection, escapes the bad guys and is on the run from everyone for a decade.` etc etc etc.

This same type of woman shows up in "The Informationist ",( Audibles listeners choice award) and "The Breach" a sci-fi trilogy with similar female lead. Each of these 4 female protagonists is quite similar, they all have amazing computer programming and hacking abilities, are Chuck Norris with martial arts and Jack Reacher with knowledge of firepower . I wonder how many more versions of this clone will appear in novels to come......
.
The plot and character development are much improved over what Roberts has been phoning in the past several years--I've been picking them up at the used book store and have read just one book of the last 2 trilogy series due to negative reviews and personal experience with the initial book. I'm pleased that she put more effort into this book.

Roberts knows her readers, and knows what they want so even though this lead character is slightly different than her usual-still her writing remains the same. This time it's a more w take charge female protagonist and equally strong male protagonist who wants to take care of his little woman and bad guys who have chased after Lizzy (Abagail) since she was 17.

And while loyal readers will enjoy the better quality over the past couple of works, still this is a definite rip off of the Dragon Tattoo (minus the tattoo) main character. Still the writing is tight and crisp and plot is not quite predictable. It held my interest more than the last 2 trilogies did and worth the credit for those of us who appreciate Roberts when she's writing well.

Julia Whelan gives a very nice reading of the novel, bringing it to life and doing a good job of male characters voices...not overly dramatic or soapy.

All in all an above average listen to typical Roberts writing and plot.

82 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ScottG
  • 06-07-15

At the risk of being a chauvinist...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

That is actually a complex question when it comes to this book. My first "gut reaction" unvarnished by the fear that my 3 daughters would be deeply offended: This is an action thriller for women and it is more a romance fantasy than a thriller.

Any additional comments?

So, at the risk of being a jerk, which I likely already have covered, so what the hell, The best I can offer in review of this book is that it is a Harlequin Romance novel disguised and marketed as a thriller. No, it isn't in any way badly written. No, it isn't a conceptually flawed story line. To the opposite, the underlying story line is decent, if not somewhat cliche. Young girl sees mob crime, young girl goes to cops, young girls watches cops protecting her get killed, young girl flees leaving no traces sure that she is better able to provide for her own security and well being than the government. There are some twists to that plot line, such as being the product of artificial insemination with only a mother who "never bonded". There is also the predictable facets of the young heroin: having a huge trust fund, an eidetic memory coupled with perfect observational skills and an IQ north of 200 and she just happens to be indescribably beautiful. Imagine that... brains and beauty. Can you see the Harlequin developing? Again, all of that doesn't make it bad, but it also does not make it an action thriller.
A couple hours in (and that first couple hours was for me the most engaging) we get to where our girl is some period of age older (between 1 and 10 years) living in a small town where she lives in isolation. The handsome, rugged, fiercely loyal and honest town police chief takes an interest in the mystery woman who has lived in his town for a year and yet no one knows anything about her. Driven by the purest of intentions (clearly not sex) and worry for her well being (nope not her physical beauty at all), the chief befriends and beguiles her. Yes, he is the perfect son, with an adorable mother and father. He is patient and even tempered. Handsome and brave, willing to let a drunk wife abuser publicly punch him in the face so that he can arrest the suspect on Assaulting a Police Officer charges, preventing the abused woman from dropping the charges as she has done in the past. Oh, and his "hot hot hot" high school flame draws him into a naked ambush to rekindle a steamy sexual relationship they once had, but the mature and dare I say, perfect man the Chief is, orders her to get dressed and never call in a false complaint again just to get him to come see her. Riggggghhht... raise your hand if you are having a hard time seeing the Harlequin now.
In general, I just had to stop. I tried hitting fast forward (the real world version of skipping pages and chapters) to see if I could find some point where the romance and perfect sex subsided and the intrigue and action resumed. Skipping at random numerous times, I just could not land on anything that didn't sound like more of the same.
At the end of the day, this may be for you. It truly is not a bad concept or execution. It just is not for me in that I don't generally read (or listen to) a book so that I can come away feeling inferior to what is clearly the perfect man.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • 21-07-15

Gripping, funny, and satisfying

This is my first experience with Nora Roberts, and I'm very impressed. This story had me captivated early on, and held my attention throughout. I loved the diverse and well-crafted characters, as well as the clever dialog.

63 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • romance reader
  • 25-04-12

not great, not terrible

Would you try another book from Nora Roberts and/or Julia Whelan?

yes because every now and then, Nora Roberts produces an excellent one - but this was not one of them, in my view

If you???ve listened to books by Nora Roberts before, how does this one compare?

This is one of Nora's average books, not great, not terrible.
it is similar to her other books in that she exaggerates how terrible one parent is (the heroine's mom) and how wonderful the other family is (the hero's parents and sisters).
It has an interesting plot outside of the romance itself, but it feels incomplete somehow.
The first few chapters are very well written (about the heroine in her teens) but the hero does not appear until much later and then their relationship develops quite fast. I actually dozed off in the middle of their first bedroom scene!!

This is better than some of her latest work (The Search, the last 3 books in the Bride Quartet) but nowhere near her very best work (e.g. The Chesapeake Bay saga, Montana Sky, the Stanislaski brothers and sisters)

Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

first time I listen to her. She is quite good - though her portrayal of Abigail made her sound a little bit cold/boring, I think it made sense for her character

Do you think The Witness needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no...

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Judy
  • 24-04-12

Outstanding!

This book is quite a step up from Nora's last couple of trilogies and is worthy of her reputation. The story is original, the characters are well-developed and likable, and its nicely balanced with humor and heat. The narrator would not have been my first choice (Susan Ericksen would have rocked it!) but she did an adequate enough job that it didn't detract from the enjoyment of the story. Thanks, Nora, for giving the people (your fans) what they want!

43 people found this helpful