Review: Shelter in Place
By Nora Roberts

By Jayse Smith


Never in my life did I think I would be writing a review of a Nora Roberts book. I have always seen her books around on the shelves at work. I’ve seen them in the shops, let’s face it, she has books EVERYWHERE. Last year I decided to pick up Nora’s books Year One. It was a fast-paced fantasy which I fell head over heals for. When I saw Shelter in place, I was instantly drawn in by the cover. The main thing I noticed was the beautiful lighthouse on the front. I have a friend who is OBSESSED with lighthouses so of course that caught my eye. After reading the blurb and discovering this story was about a mass shooting in the U.S. I was very interested in diving in.

The story kicks off in as we meet a young Simone Knox, she is at the mall with her two best friends about to see a movie. When Simone leaves the cinema to go to the bathroom the shooting begins, at first, she thinks it’s just sounds from the film, but as she makes her way back towards the theatre the shots get louder and more frightening. Then upon seeing men in black masks and the flash and bangs of gunfire up ahead she flees back to the safety of the bathrooms, ‘shelter in place’ is what she’s been told all her life.


Reed Quartermaine is also at the same mall working when the shooting begins. Reed also knows to shelter in place when the shooting gets close, saving a young boy in the process, but when trying to find a place to hide, discovers his crush is one of the victims of the mass shooting. The three shooters in the mall move swiftly from one end of the mall to the other as to make the biggest impact possible.

The police arrive and handle the situation with all of the shooters being neutralised.  Bonding with the first officer to arrive on the scene, Essie McVee, will change the entire course of Reed’s life.

The events which unfolded in the mall that day stay with and haunt each of them, Simone heading off to Europe to train in the arts, whilst Reed trains to become a police officer. Years after the shooting, Simone returns to America to her grandmother’s house on Tranquility Island. A chance encounter brings Reed and Simone together. Reed has been investigating the disappearances of other survivors of the DownEast Mall shooting. Little do they know that someone was watching them on that terrible day in the mall and is getting closer day by day, to finish what they began.

A fast paced thriller, Roberts writing shines in this novel filled with great one liners and a dash of romance.

5/5 stars.