Interlude in Death – J.D. Robb

Interlude in Death – J.D. Robb

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(4/5)

Pros: Reasonably interesting story

Cons: Would have liked to learn more about off-planet existence.
I really enjoy J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  The investigations are usually pretty interesting, and the recurring characters start to feel as familiar as best-friends after a while.  After having read several of the full-length novels, I decided to give some of the short stories a try.

These stories really are short!  You get a very quick set up, a ridiculously quick investigation, and we’re done.  Very little is gained, in terms of character development, or the few story arcs that carry through the series.  Therefore, these stories are fine, for those of us who are already familiar with the series, and the characters. But as stand-alone books, they’re a bit shallow.

This review is for Interlude In Death.  Like the rest of the series, it takes place in the year 2059, and features New York Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas.  In this case, she’s being urged by her boss into a situation she hates – public speaking.  Further adding to her stress is that the seminar she’s being asked to lead is taking place off-planet, in a luxury resort owned by her husband, Roarke.  The combination of having to speak in public, plus travel is causing her stress and grief, all of which leave her very cranky.

But she barely has time to worry about her speech before she’s dragged right into a murder investigation.  The off-planet Commissioner warns Eve that he has a personal grudge against Roarke, and that he intends to bring him down.  Next thing we know, The Commissioner’s assistant is found dead, with evidence pointing straight to Roarke.  Of course Eve knows Roarke is innocent, but proving it is another matter.  Especially as another body turns up, and again, Roarke looks guilty.

That’s the story in a nutshell.  The investigation proceeds smoothly, especially as Roarke has quite a few quasi-illegal tricks up his sleeve.  Whereas Eve is normally “by-the-book”, she’s pretty willing to look the other way this time, as she feels the ends justify the means.  After all, Roarke is being unfairly framed for crimes he didn’t commit.

Thus it’s not long at all before Eve uncovers the true murderer, and the bizarre motives behind the Commissioner’s plan.  Of course, this is a very short story (about 100 pages), so its quick resolution is to be expected.  And, as I stated earlier, there’s very little time for any extraneous material.  Thus there’s very little in terms of character development.  We do learn a few details regarding Eve’s and Roarke’s fathers, but that history is explored in much more detail, in other books.

I was disappointed that very few details are given about off-planet life.  Other than briefly describing the travel process required to arrive there, we’re not privy to any of the details regarding basic issues, such as oxygen-generation.  I don’t know whether these details are given in some of the full-length books, but as this is the first story I’ve read that takes place off-planet, I was hoping for some more technical information.

That said, this is a fairly interesting story, so go ahead and enjoy it, if you happen to come across it.  However, you won’t be missing anything important in terms of the series, if you skip it.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Vengeance in Death – J.D. Robb

Vengeance in Death – J.D. Robb

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(4/5)

Pros: Very exciting story, huge conflict for Eve handled extremely well.

Cons: I would cut out half the bedroom scenes.

Vengeance In Death is the sixth book in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb.  These books take place in New York, in the 2050’s.  Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas always manages to find herself ensnared in some awful murder spree.  And her husband, Roarke, always seems to be somehow involved.

In this book, Roarke isn’t just marginally involved, he’s the killer’s ultimate target.  And the main suspect is none other than Roarke’s faithful butler, Summerset.  The killer is taking out people who helped Roarke years ago, when he wasn’t exactly a law abiding citizen.  The killer is brilliant, and diabolical in his torture and murder of the victims.  But he’s being very upfront about his intentions, even calling Eve and giving her riddles to help her find the bodies – always just a little too late to save them.  And the evidence against Summerset – it just mounts higher and higher.

I enjoyed this book very much.  We get to understand Roarke’s past, in a way that we never did before.  It helps explain his personality, which I always find annoying.  But at least now I understand, a little bit, where his attitude comes from.  We also learn about the tragedy in Summerset’s past, so that we now understand his distrust of the police, a trait that’s been prevalent in this character throughout the series.

Eve is her usual hard-nosed self in this book.  But there’s always a bit of humor infused in her harsh demeanor.  I can’t help but like her.  I particularly enjoy her relationship with her loyal aide, Peabody.  In this book, Peabody is teamed up with McNab, a feisty electronics expert who seems to have caught Peabody’s eye.

The main conflict for Eve, in this case, is that she’s sitting on evidence in her current case that, if exposed, could land Roarke in jail.  At first blush, you might think “conflict of interest” and that she needs to come forward with what she knows.  But Robb does a good job of presenting both sides of the issue, so that it’s definitely not a black and white kind of thing.  I really felt the issue was handled about as well as it could have been, so that we don’t automatically dislike Eve, for acting as she does.

Taking place 50 years in the future, these books get to have some fun with technology.  But I always consider it “cheating” when Robb makes up some fancy gadget that helps Eve solve the murders.  In this book, that doesn’t happen.  We do get to enjoy some fun stuff – flying cars, transmission jammers, and faithful mechanical servants called droids, but Eve solves the case using her wits, not some fancy techno-gadget.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the “romance” angle.  Robb takes marital relations a little too far for my taste.  I don’t need to read about Eve and Roarke’s bedroom encounters – over and over again.  We get that they love each other.  We get that they’re attracted each other.  But enough already!

Still, this was a very enjoyable book, one I can easily recommend.

Other books in the In Death series

Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Visions In Death

Treachery in Death – J.D. Robb

Treachery in Death – J.D. Robb

 

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(2/5)

Pros: Nice to see the usual characters show up

Cons: The story was dull.

For the most part, I enjoy J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  The books revolve around Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a homicide cop in New York, in the future.  This particular book takes place in 2060.  I enjoy the futuristic aspects of the books – it’s always fun to read about the new gadgets, laws, and social conventions.

That said, the books are supposed to provide interesting mysteries for us to solve along with Eve and her co-workers.  But in this case – Treachery In Death – the story wasn’t nearly as interesting as some of the others.  That’s because the main focus isn’t a single murder, a spree of robberies, or a serial killer, like in most of the other books.  This book takes a look at police corruption.  No, not in Eve’s Department – her house is clean.  But in another precinct, there’s a corrupt Lieutenant, running an illegal scam with the help of several members on her force.  They’re all getting rich, while innocents who don’t play along, or who are simply in the way, are ‘eliminated’.

Eve learns about the situation purely through a chance encounter that her partner Peabody had.  While Peabody was hidden in a locker room shower, she overheard a conversation, one that spelled out what was going on, without being too specific.  But Peabody heard enough – enough to enable Eve to start investigating.  And what turns up is truly frightening.

The rest of the book focuses on Eve’s investigation, but there really is no mystery about it.  Eve fairly quickly figures out who is bad and who is innocent in the other precinct.  It’s just a matter of proving it.  Naturally, she has help – as always, her husband Roarke lends his expertise, as do the electronics wizards who can devise various ways of tracking people without their knowledge, and Dr. Mira, the psychiatrist who helps Eve by profiling criminal personality types.

So, without any real mystery to solve, the reader is really in a “sit back and watch Eve work” mode.  We don’t get to enjoy solving any clues, or watching anything particularly clever happen.  In fact, mostly what happens is that conversations are intercepted, and Eve acts upon what she hears.  From my perspective, the whole thing was quite dull.

Worse, there are several times where grand speeches are made.  Various characters seem to feel the need to get on their soapboxes in this book.  At one point, Peabody takes several paragraphs to talk about how much it meant to her, in the early days of her career, to watch Eve “in action”.   Several times Eve lectures whoever will listen about how much being a cop – a good cop – means to her, and how much it offends her, personally, when cops go bad.  All of this sentiment is nice, but I didn’t have to hear it over and over again.  I got it the first time!

And, finally, there’s a fight – and I mean literally a fistfight – between the two Lieutenants that was so ridiculous and unprofessional, I felt embarrassed reading it.  I don’t know how Ms. Robb could write such dribble except if she thought her male readers would enjoy envisioning the two women punching, kicking, and, yes, pulling hair.  All of this taking place after each of them puts their weapons down, and removes their jackets, of course.  I’m surprised Ms. Robb didn’t have them take off their earrings, first, so as not to lose them.

With very little, in terms of subplots, and absolutely no character development, Treachery In Death just drags.  If you are insistent upon reading the entire series, then I guess you’ll have to read it.  But if not, do yourself a favor, and skip this book.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Origin in Death – J.D. Robb

Origin in Death – J.D. Robb

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(5/5)

Pros: Examines some pretty heavy issues, rather than focusing on a simple murder

Cons: None, as long as you don’t mind being made to think.

Origin in Death is the 21st book in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb. Like all of the books in the series, this one stars Eve Dallas, a New York Police Lieutenant, in the year 2059.

In this case, Eve is investigating a pair of murders.  A father and his son are both killed, in the same exact way.  Both men were doctors in a very exclusive reconstructive surgery facility.  As Eve investigates the murders, she starts seeing clues that the men were working on something far more sinister than merely fixing some physical flaws.  It seems that what the public saw of their work was merely a façade.  The real stuff was happening in deep secret.  Cloning, human-engineering, selective eugenics.  According to this novel, by the year 2059, these ideas have seen the light.  But technology has far surpassed the laws.  What’s an officer of the law to do, when a human is “manufactured” to do a single task, and they do it flawlessly… especially if that task is murder?

This book was bit different from the others I’ve read in the series, in that it focused not only on the actual murder at hand; it spent a lot of time examining the various issues surrounding these newest technologies.  The book doesn’t waste time telling us how people are cloned.  It looks at the possible ramifications.  How do you convict someone for doing something they were literally created to do?  For that matter, how to you bring a suspect to trial when there are multiple versions of the same exact person running around town, and you don’t actually know which version did the actual deed.  And when you ask them, they all respond the same way, saying “We’re all the same person… We all did it”.  And when you have hundreds of babies created artificially, who, exactly, is legally responsible for them?  Of course, these issues aren’t actually resolved in the book, we’re merely given the tip of the iceberg.  But I have to say, I enjoyed thinking about these issues, and can’t help but wonder if any of this will actually come to pass.

Despite the heaviness of the main issue in this book, there was plenty of light-heartedness, as well.  More so than usual, I thought.  There was a funny subplot regarding Eve’s partner Peabody, and her decision to change her look.  As Eve is painted as the least superficial person in the world, one who cares nothing about her outside appearance, her reaction to Peabody’s vanity is pretty funny.

There’s another funny bit regarding husband Roarke’s extended family coming over from Ireland for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Eve has never met any of these people before and when the entire wacky lot of them descend upon her home, it’s almost enough to make her head spin.

And I really liked that Roarke behaved himself in this book.  In previous books, Roarke is a bit too overbearing for my tastes.  He has a tendency to do things his own way, frequently going over Eve’s head, and getting her in trouble at work.  Or he acts overly possessive of Eve, giving off an “I own you” vibe.  But in this book, he was kind, supportive, and quite funny.

Other minor characters returned from previous books, but none had a big role.  Still, when a series has this many books, it’s nice when the usual characters are at least given a mention.  It helps the stories flow from one book to the next.

Overall, an enjoyable read, one that gives the reader something to think about.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Missing in Death – J.D. Robb

Missing in Death – J.D. Robb

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(4/5)

Pros: Eve finds herself in an interesting dilemma.

Cons: Assumes a basic understanding of her background.

Missing In Death is a short story, part of J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series.  Like all of the books in the series, it takes place in the future, and features Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a police detective in New York.

In this case, it’s the year 2060, and we’re joining a bunch of tourists on the Staten Island Ferry.  But one passenger’s trip is about to be interrupted.  By murder.  The question is, where’s the victim’s body?  How does someone dump a body, and get off a ferry, unnoticed by the thousands of other passengers onboard?

That’s when Eve comes in.  With the help of her partner, Peabody, Eve will need to figure out who the victim was, who the killer is, and how did they both disappear?

Of course, Eve will figure all of this out – she always does.  But that won’t be the interesting part of this particular book.  The interesting part will be the dilemma she faces, once she has her murderer.  Because everything is not always black and white.  Some situations are in the grey areas, between right and wrong.  And while Eve usually stays pretty close to the letter of the law, in this case, she has to decide which action serves the greater good.  It’s a fascinating dilemma, and it makes this book stand out from the rest of the series, in which a pretty straight path is usually followed.  This one definitely veers.

I enjoyed the change of pace in this story.  It definitely does not suffer from predictability or the “same story, different title” syndrome that plagues some of the stories in this series.

And, it’s nice to see the same characters appear.  Peabody, McNab, Roarke, and Summerset all put in appearances, although they all have very small roles.  Of course, this entire book is only around 100 pages, so you wouldn’t expect too many characters to have large roles.

The only problem with this story is that it assumes you have an understanding of Eve’s tragic childhood.  Of course, anyone who has read the previous books in the series will understand what happened to Eve, but if you read this book as a stand-alone, you will be confused as to what is driving her.  Although the past is touched upon a little bit, not nearly enough details are given to really help a new reader understand the motivations behind Eve’s actions.  This is a problem seldom encountered in this series.  Robb usually does a good job of bringing everyone up to speed as she goes along.  But in this case, she dropped the ball a little bit.  So – if you’re new to the series, definitely don’t start with this one!

But if you’ve been reading and enjoying the series, you’ll like this one.  It’s different from the rest – but in a good way.

 

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Rapture in Death – J.D. Robb

Rapture in Death – J.D. Robb

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(2/5)

Pros: Returning characters, cool technologies

Cons: Not the best mystery in the series.

Rapture In Death is the fourth book in J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  Like all books in the series, this one takes place in the future (2058) and features New York Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As always, Eve can’t get very far away from yet another murder investigation.  In this case, she and her husband Roarke are on their honeymoon, enjoying those last few days of bliss, before returning to the real world.  This is quite literally the case as they are staying off-planet at a resort that Roarke is in the process of building.  But their joy is shattered when one of the workers commits suicide, for absolutely no apparent reason.

Then, when the honeymooners return home, they’re faced with a second – and then a third – such suicide.  People are killing themselves, dying with a bizarre smile on their faces.  Eve, alone, doesn’t buy the simple explanation that these people simply decided to end their lives.  Especially when x-rays reveal an irregularity on the brains of all of the victims.  Could something far more sinister be going on here?  Eve is going to find out.

As far as mysteries go, this one is not my favorite.  I found the clues leading up to the final reveal to be way too obvious.  All along, I felt I knew what was going happen, what was going to be revealed, and ultimately, who was responsible.  This is never a good thing, in a genre that’s supposed to keep me guessing.

And I hated the amount of sex in this book.  Eve and Roarke are happily married.  I get that.  I don’t need to be told of their many, many sexual encounters, detail by detail.  The author feels the need not only to tell us that the couple has made love, she tells us about every position, angle, and moan uttered.  It’s completely unnecessary to the story, and frankly, a turn-off for me.  A little romance is fine in a story – especially when the couple is as loving and devoted to each other as these two are – but in this case, it’s way too much information.

Not to say this entire book is bad – it isn’t.  As always, the descriptions of the futuristic technologies were fascinating.  The stunner guns that have been used ever since bullets were banned, the drying tubes that you hop into after taking your shower, the cars that can fly, and best of all, the AutoChef into which you program your dinner choice… it’s fun to read about these nifty things.

And it’s nice to read about the characters that are staples in this series… Peebody, Dr. Mira, and Feeny all return.  Unfortunately, so does Eve’s friend, Mavis, and in this book I didn’t like her at all.  She was whiny, overly dramatic, and given to bouts of hysteria.  In other books, she’s far less annoying.

So, overall, it wasn’t my favorite of the In Death series.  But then again, they can’t all be great, can they?  The series is pretty good, but this book can easily be skipped.

 

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Strangers in Death – J.D. Robb

Strangers in Death – J.D. Robb

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(3/5)

Pros: I enjoy the series, and the characters

Cons: But this book has a couple of flaws

The 31st book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, Strangers In Death is a pretty decent mystery.  However, it suffers a few flaws.

The In Death series follows Eve Dallas, a Lieutenant for the NY Police Dept, in the mid-2000’s.  In this case, it’s the year 2060, and Eve has new case on her hands.  A wealthy, powerful, well-loved man is found dead.  The manner of death includes major sexual overtones and a clear motive to humiliate, as well as kill.

With few clues and no viable suspects, Eve turns towards the man’s wife.  Even though she has a solid alibi – she was out of the country at the time of the man’s death – Eve still has a vibe that she’s somehow connected to the murder.

Working with her partner Peabody, as well as a host of other characters who appear throughout the series, including her own husband Roarke, Eve won’t rest until this murder is solved.  And, in her spare time, she’s also helping out on a cold case – a murder from a few months back that has its investigator’s stumped.

It’s a decent premise, and like all In Death stories, Eve’s like a dog with a bone. She won’t let go, won’t sleep a wink, and won’t let up until all the pieces fall into place.  Along the way, we get to follow her reasoning as nearly the entire book is told from her point of view.

There’s some humor in all of the books – usually revolving around Eve’s “get to the point” attitude versus Peabody’s “day dreaming about clouds and unicorns” attitude.  There are also little side jokes between Eve and Roarke.  And there are always “bedroom scenes” between them, as well.  Frankly, I can do without those.

But Strangers In Death contains a few flaws that really bring it down.

First of all, Eve doesn’t “know” the wife is involved; she suspects it.  Yet, she pretty much devotes all of her energy to proving the point, instead of looking at alternatives.  That’s pretty shoddy investigation.

Secondly, if you decide to read this book, do yourself a favor.  Don’t read the back cover, or the first-page blurb.  I read both and as a result I pretty much understood all along what was going to happen in this book.  In other words, they give away too much of a clue as to the ultimate outcome of the investigation.  I might not have known all of the specifics, but I definitely knew the direction the investigation would go.  I would have enjoyed the book more had I not been so well clued in.

Third, there are two parts of the book that I really disliked.  One was a fairly long discussion of a dream.  I’m not a fan of books where people get major insights from their dreams; it strikes me as lazy writing.  The other part was a ridiculous argument between Eve and Roarke about money – well, about sharing his money.   For two people married as long and as successfully as they have, the issue of money-sharing should have been put to bed long ago.  In this case, the argument got nasty and I hated it.

There you have it.  Strangers in Death is a decent enough whodunit, if you don’t read the spoilers first.  But not the best In Death book.

 

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Reunion in Death – J.D. Robb

Reunion in Death – J.D. Robb

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See it at Amazon 

(3/5)

Pros: Fascinating antagonist

Cons: I can’t stand Roarke!

Reunion in Death is the 16th book in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb. Like all of the books in the series, this one stars Eve Dallas, a New York Police Lieutenant, in the year 2059.

A woman that Eve helped put away for murder a decade ago is now free. And she’s coming after Eve with a vengeance. Julianna Dunne doesn’t care who she has to hurt along the way towards her main target. In fact, the more innocent lives she takes, the happier she is. The entire book revolves around the cat and mouse chase with Julianna constantly one step ahead of Eve, and leaving destruction in her wake.

The storyline is “OK”. It’s not all that exciting, as Eve (and we) know exactly who the “bad guy” is. There’s no mystery to solve, no puzzle pieces to put together. It’s simply a matter of watching as Eve tries to capture Julianna. On a positive note, though, I do have to say that Julianna is a very fascinating character. I’m glad we got to “know” her a little bit, by getting glimpses inside her head.

There is a subplot about a cold case involving a young wife found dead in her bathtub. Eve gives this case to her aide in training, Delia Peabody. This is the first time Peabody gets to shine in her own case. It was good for her, perhaps she’ll have more confidence (and be less annoyingly timid) in the upcoming books.

A common thread in all of the previous books, is that Eve is haunted by dreams and half-memories of a past that torments her greatly. In this book we finally learn the details of the “big mystery” in her past. And it’s a doozy! Knowing what Eve survived as a child makes her sometimes annoying personality a bit more tolerable.

What I really can’t stand in this book, is the relationship between Eve and her husband Roarke. It’s the same complaint I’ve had in other books in the series: Roarke is a bully. I believe that the author is trying to paint Eve and Roarke as a couple so madly, deeply, in love, that all reason goes out the door. But what the author tries to paint as “passion” comes off as “abuse” to me. Roarke, in my opinion, doesn’t want to love Eve. He wants to possess her. Their lovemaking is never sweet and tender, it’s violent, with clothes torn, hair pulled, bodies slammed. What married couple do you know, that has to literally tear each other’s clothes off?

And, as in other books, Roarke oversteps his wife’s legal authority. He thinks nothing of going above her head, and letting his considerable wealth get things accomplished the way he thinks they should be. Eve is constantly blind-sighted by her own husband! There’s nothing like walking into your boss’s office, and seeing your husband there, and being told that a decision has just been made about how to handle your case!

Taking place in the future, these books get to have some leeway when it comes to using technology. In this book, the computer is able to run “probability models” that greatly help Eve find her prey. I find it interesting that in Robb’s version of the future, the phrase “think outside the box” is still being used. Pepsi doesn’t come in cans or bottles, it comes in tubes. And French fries are called “oil fries”. That part really cracks me up. Nothing like calling them exactly as they are!

Overall, this is an “OK” book. Not the best in the series, but not the worst, either. I prefer stories with a real mystery to solve, but at least the murderer is an interesting character.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Midnight in Death – J.D. Robb

Midnight in Death – J.D. Robb

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See it at Amazon 

(3/5)

Pros: It’s an OK story

Cons: But it’s completely unnecessary to the series.

I really enjoy J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series.  There are lots of books in the series, and for the most part, they’re quite enjoyable.  Besides the full-length novels, there are also a few short stories.  This review is for Midnight In Death, a story that fills fewer than 100 pages.

Like all books in the series, this story takes place in the future, and features Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas as she investigates bizarre murder mysteries.  This book takes place between Christmas and New Years Eve, in the year 2058.

A diabolical murderer that Eve helped put away a few years ago has escaped, and is back with a vengeance.  The judge who sentenced him is found after having been tortured and murdered.  Attached to the judge’s body is a list of the murder’s next intended victims.  All had something to do with his arrest, and of course, Eve’s name figures prominently on that list.

The story revolves around Eve trying to find this person.  It’s never a question of “who is he?” but the trick is to find him and capture him.  Because his identity is known all along, there is no mystery to solve, no surprise, and no twists or turns to keep us guessing.  We’re simply spectators to Eve’s search mission.

This type of story really doesn’t hold my interest nearly as well as the type where we have no idea who the bad guy is, and we get to enjoy the fun of solving clues along the way.  But, I suppose, a short story has far more limits in terms of what can be done.

In this case, there’s the initial setup, the search, and the ending.  That’s pretty much it.  There was no time for a whole lot of character development.  And while a few of the other characters from the series put in an appearance, nothing really new happens with them.  Eve’s husband Roarke helps her investigate the case, and for a change, he’s supportive to her without being too overbearing or annoying.  Eve’s assistant Peabody, and the electronics wizard McNab help her, too.  Dr. Mira, who helps Eve when she needs a psychological profile, is on the murder’s target list, thus she has a fairly big role in this book.

The story, itself, is just OK.  The murderer is certainly evil, and he’s very smart, and detail-oriented.  Thus he’s quite an interesting antagonist as he poses quite the challenge to Eve.  But, he’s not someone we will really get to “know” or understand.  No motives will be given for why he is the way is his.  He’s just evil for evil’s sake.

As there’s really nothing in this book other than the main story, readers enjoying the entire series can easily skip this book.  Nothing of importance will be mixed.  Read it if you come across it on your shelf, but don’t go out of your way to purchase it.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Judgment in Death – J.D. Robb

Judgment in Death – J.D. Robb

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See it at Amazon 

(3/5)

Pros: Interesting story that held my interest

Cons: Roarke’s a bully.

The 11th book in the “In Death” series by J. D. Robb starts out with a bang, that’s for sure. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called to a particularly nasty crime scene. A man has been brutally slain in an upscale club. It turns out the victim is more than just the club’s bartender, he’s actually a cop doing some moonlighting. Eve’s digging reveals the cop to be “on the take”, perhaps that’s a motive for the murder. As more dead cops are discovered, each of them “dirty”, Eve realizes the perpetrator is most likely one of her own: A cop who takes his own way to “clean” the force.

As it progresses, the case gets more and more complicated. First Eve discovers that the club is owned by none other than her own husband, Roarke. Why Eve didn’t know about this before is a mystery. I found that a bit bizarre. Roarke has a not-so-squeaky-clean past, including an association with a really bad guy named Ricker. As Eve’s investigation takes her closer to Ricker, tensions mount between her and Roarke. There are also pressures from inside. Warnings from Internal Affairs to treat the case “gently”. Other cops who don’t like her going after “one of their own”. In short, Eve has her work cut out for her in solving this one.

Many of the characters in this book are featured in the prior books. Eve’s assistant Peabody provides some light-heartedness, especially since she’s enjoying some secret one-on-one time with McNab. Webster, an old lover of Eve’s figures prominently in this one. Readers who have read the prior books will enjoy watching these stories continue here. But if you haven’t read the other books, it’s OK. These stories stand up on their own.

Interestingly, this book takes place in 2059 which gives the author a lot of leeway when it comes to reliance on futuristic technology. There are flying cars (but not everyone seems to have them or use them??), guns with adjustable levels of power, so you can decide just how badly you want to hurt someone before you shoot them, and robotic droids that act as maids and butlers. They even mention a “drying tube” that you step into when you come out of your shower, instead of drying off the old-fashioned way with a towel. It didn’t mention how long it takes to dry in the tube, but I assume it’s really quick. I really like that idea! There are also subtle things mentioned but not described in great detail, like the “Urban Wars” that took place sometime in the past. Sometimes we get to just use our imagination.

Sadly, apparently in 2059, there is no such thing as a beef hot dog or real coffee – both are made from soy. Yuck!

While the case, itself, was interesting, and held my interest, there was one thing I did not enjoy in this book. And that was the relationship between Roarke and Eve. I found it bordering on abusive. Roarke has a “you are MINE” mentality when it comes to Eve, and he doesn’t hide it at all. As a result, he can be controlling, demanding, and at times physically intimidating to her. She doesn’t seem to notice this, or consider it abusive, but there were times when he really came close to crossing a line with her. He also has no respect for her authority, interfering in her job if he feels he should. I realize he does these things because he loves her, but I would have preferred a story spotlighting a couple where I can like and respect both partners. Definitely not the case here.

Still, this is an enjoyable mystery and a quick, fun read.

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Celebrity In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death