Haunted in Death – J.D. Robb

Haunted in Death – J.D. Robb

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(2/5)

Pros: I liked the connection to the 1980’s

Cons: But I could do without the ghosts and spirits

I have enjoyed J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series.  The characters are a lot of fun, and the investigations are usually quite interesting.  But because there are so many books and stories in the series, I particularly like when the author includes something really “different” and the short story Haunted In Death succeeds on that level.

The entire series takes place in the future – in the 2050’s and 2060’s.  For the most part, people are still the same as they are today, but they have some really cool gadgets, and a few strange laws.  Guns have been completely banned, in favor of “stunners”, so when Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas comes across a gunshot victim, she’s shocked.  After all, most people have never seen a bullet hole, except in some old movies.

It’s further shocking when the gun is found.  It had been buried for 85 years along with another victim – a famous singer who’d gone missing in the 1980’s.  Now Eve has two victims, both killed with the same weapon, 85 years apart.

Like I said, this story was definitely “different”.

I loved the connection to the 1980’s, and hearing the people discuss “the old days”.

But there was plenty that I didn’t love about this story, too.  The victims were discovered in a house that was rumored for years to be haunted.  But Eve is as level-headed as they come, thus it’s no surprise that she refuses to believe any of that nonsense.  And when her partner, Peabody, actually believes some of the stories, and shows fear around the house, that’s not really a surprise as it fits with her character.  But when Eve’s husband, Roarke, demonstrates a fear of the house, it was inconsistent with the way his character has been presented throughout the series.  I always felt he was as level-headed and down-to-earth as his wife.  To hear him prattle on about spirits was a departure from the character I’d come to know.

As far as Eve’s investigation into the murders goes, it wasn’t the most interesting.  And, I thought it was a bit hard to follow.  As the events in the 1980’s are tied with the current events, we get introduced to several generations worth of multiple families.  Furthermore, this is only a short story, with not a lot of time to develop these characters.  So we have a lot of people to keep straight in a short amount of time.  Toss in some supposed ghosts, and it was all rather convoluted.

It all shakes out, in the end, but I didn’t think the conclusion was particularly entertaining.

Readers of the series can absolutely skip this story, without feeling like they’ll be missing out on anything.  None of the recurring characters change or grow during this story, and I doubt the events of this story will play a part in any future story in the series.  So, read it, if you come across it somewhere, but don’t go out of your way looking for it.  You won’t be missing a thing 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
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
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Glory in Death – J.D. Robb

Glory in Death – J.D. Robb

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(3/5)

Pros: I love these characters!

Cons: The murder investigation was pretty lame.
Glory in Death is only the second novel in J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series.  Even though it’s “an oldie” it still contains the charm that attracts me to this series.

Like all books in the series, this one takes place in the future – 2058 – and centers around Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a homicide cop in New York.  In each book, Eve handles a different crime.  In this case, someone is slicing the throats of some high-profile women.  Each of them women was adored – who could want them dead?  Of course the first thing Eve does is look for a commonality among the three women.  And of course, the only person she can find, with ties to all of them is her own boyfriend (in later books, husband) Roarke.

One thing I really like about this series is the consistency of the characters, over time.  Whether grabbing a book from the start of the series, or towards the end, the characters remain true to themselves.  They grow, mature, and make life-changing decisions, but their core personalities remain constant.

In this book, Eve meets Peabody for the first time.  Peabody appears in the rest of the books, and is always a lot of fun.  Her personality is very different from Eve’s, causing humorous friction between them, at times.  Sure enough, even though this is the first time we meet her, I immediately noticed Peabody’s personality already being developed.

Feeney, Nadine, Mavis, Dr. Mira, and Summerset are also present in this book – characters we get to know fully as the series movies on.

In this book, it comes to light that both Eve and Roarke had troubled childhoods.  Roarke remembers his, and has come to terms with it.  Eve can barely remember the details, and doesn’t wish to remember them.  Yet she is frequently haunted by nightmares.  I like how this story is introduced very slowly, and developed a little bit at a time, as the books move forward.  But if read as a stand-alone novel, the reader might be disappointed at the dropped storyline.

Taking place in the future, the author has a lot of leeway when it comes to technology.  In this book, a few “gadgets” are introduced to the readers, but nothing outlandish.  No magic “solve my murder investigation for me” button exists.  Eve has to solve her cases the old fashioned way – lots of hard work, and a few lucky breaks.  I’m happy about this – it would be “cheating”, I think, if the author relied on make-believe futuristic gizmos to solve crimes.  The technology in these books is more of the fun type (the Auto Chef that you program to cook your food) and doesn’t detract from the investigation angle of the story.

As far as the murder investigation goes, it was fairly lame.  A whole lot of time is spent chasing geese in the wrong direction, before a real clue is finally brought to light, one that sets Eve on the right path.  At that point, there is a bit of a “surprise” but nothing terribly drastic.  In fact, by the time it comes, many readers will have seen it coming.  I do feel that the murder investigation, which is supposed to be the main focus of this book, was its weakest part.

This book is fine, as part of the series.  While the investigation wasn’t anything too exciting, the characters are always enjoyable.  So read it, if you’re reading the entire series, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand-alone novel.

 

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
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
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Divided in Death – J.D. Robb

Divided in Death – J.D. Robb

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(5/5)

Pros: Exciting story, Roarke’s matured!

Cons: None, really.  Robb did this one right!
Divided in Death is the 18th 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.

Eve’s always investigating a murder – in this case, it’s a double.  A man and his lover are found in bed, stabbed to death.  The man’s wife is standing over the bodies, covered in the victims’ blood.  Sounds like a simple case, right?  Except that the wife is Reva, a woman who works with Eve’s husband, Roarke.  Reva has been working on a top-secret project: build a computer program that will counter the effects of a massive computer virus, being developed by a terrorist organization.  It soon becomes clear that Reva has been framed for the murders, by someone who clearly wants to stop her work.

Of course, believing that Reva’s innocent, and proving it are two different things.  Especially since as Eve works the case, more bodies start piling up.  In fact, in this book, Eve relies on a lot of help from a lot of different sources.  Roarke, with his computer and security knowledge is drafted.  And Peabody, Tokimoto, and Feeny (all returning characters from prior books in the series) play major roles in solving the case.

So far, of all the books I’ve read in the series, this was the most enjoyable.  The story was exciting, with plenty of suspense.  While we (the readers) always believed in Reva’s innocence, we really had no idea who set her up, or why.  The story gets a bit convoluted but is tied up nicely by the end.

And, Roarke didn’t annoy me nearly as much in this book as the others.  In past books, I’ve always hated how possessive Roake acts towards Eve, and how he runs roughshod right over her authority.  But in this book he was completely supportive and kind.  In fact, there’s a major subplot that’s developed in prior books and continued in this book, concerning Eve’s tragic past.  And in the course of this subplot, Roarke has to make a choice.  He can follow his own instincts to make things “right” or he can bow to Eve’s desires, even though it means he won’t get the satisfaction of vengeance he seeks.  I was so proud of Roarke and felt that he’d really matured.  I hope he keeps this new & improved attitude in future books!

As these books take place in the future, Robb has some “leeway” when it comes to inventing technological advances that can be used to help Eve solve the cases.  To me, it can be a bit of a cop-out.  But I was happy that in this book, Eve didn’t rely on any futuristic technology to solve the case.  She solved it the old-fashioned way – by examining the clues, working on the puzzles, and investing lots of man-hours.  It made the book more enjoyable for me, as I didn’t feel like Robb “cheated” to get to the solution.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, one of the best in the series.

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
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
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

Celebrity in Death – J.D. Robb

Celebrity in Death – J.D. Robb

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(5/5)

Pros: Intriguing murder mystery and a bit of humor, too!

Cons: None – this book is why I enjoy the In Death series!

I enjoy J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  Set 50 years in the future, and featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a homicide detective with the New York Police Department, these books are fun to read.  Typically, Eve stumbles upon a murder, and works with her partner, Peabody, to solve it.  There is also a good deal of back story surrounding the main characters, thus readers really get to “know” them.

In Celebrity In Death, the murder takes on a unique twist, one that I found quite enjoyable.

As the book opens, we learn that a movie is being made about one of Eve’s recent cases.  In fact, the movie is about the Icove investigation (from the book Origin In Death).  The movie stars some very famous actors, who have been made into near-replicas of Eve, Peabody, and the other detectives who worked that case.  The movie is near its wrap, and there’s a celebratory dinner party for all involved in the film.  Eve and Peabody are honored guests at this party.  However, before dessert can be served, there’s a murder.  The actress playing Peabody has been drowned.

Here’s why I say this murder has a unique twist.  The author makes it clear that Hollywood makeup techniques are far more advanced in the 2060’s than they are today. Thus the actresses playing Eve and Peabody do more than “resemble” the real thing.  They are practically duplicates.  Thus this dinner party includes two Eve’s and two Peabody’s.  Now one of the Peabody’s is dead.  Imagine how the real Peabody must feel – working on dead body that looks eerily like herself.  Not to mention that the houseful of suspects includes look-alikes for the rest of the people involved in the case.  That includes Peabody’s boyfriend, McNab and Eve’s husband, Roarke.  Having suspects look just like the folks investigating the crime led to some very strange (and sometimes humorous) dialog.

Especially since the actress who was killed was none-too-popular.   She stirred up trouble, black-mailed people to get what she wanted, and was just your basic Witch-With-A-B to everyone.   It was funny to hear the real Peabody talk about her but use the first person voice.  As in “God, I hate me… I’m so nasty to everyone!”  Whereas the actress playing Eve was quite nice, so the real Eve got to respond to Peabody saying things like “Well at least I’m a nice person… I really enjoyed talking to me”.

More humorous dialog surrounded the ladies enjoying the attention of the second Roarke.  The real Roarke is known to be quite handsome, and would be quite the ladies’ man, if he weren’t so devoted to Eve.  But now there’s a second Roarke available for the ladies to drool over.

Like I said, this unique twist gave the story some comic relief.

As for the actual murder investigation, I was pleasantly surprised. What started out as a simple “who done it” evolved into quite a complex story, with a very nicely laid out backstory.    Furthermore, Eve solves the case using good old-fashioned common sense and hard work.  As opposed to some of the other books, Eve did not rely on any futuristic gadget, robot, or computer system.  While those devices can add interest to a story, I do prefer cases be solved without any “cheats”.  Thus, Celebrity In Death delivers, on many levels.

Overall, I enjoyed Celebrity In Death.  There’s quite a bit of humor, as well as an intriguing murder mystery.  Do note that as the events of Origin In Death are referred to in this book, it is preferable (although not vital) for readers to have read that one first.

 

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born 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
Naked 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

Born in Death – J.D. Robb

Born in Death – J.D. Robb

 

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(4/5)

Pros: Plenty of intrigue between the different cases

Cons: A bit bogged down by financial jargon
Like all books in the series, our action takes place in New York, in the future.  In this case, it’s 2060.  We follow Lieutenant Eve Dallas, head of the homicide division of the Police Department.  We also follow her personal life and those of her friends, which usually provides the humor to these murder mysteries.

In this case, we have a double-murder, and one missing person to deal with.  The double murder involves an engaged couple – both working for a high-powered accounting firm with extremely wealthy clientele.  It becomes clear that they’ve stumbled onto some wrong-doing – either in the firm, itself, or with one of the clients.  And that someone went to a lot of effort to make sure that secrets remain hidden.  Eve uses her husband, Roarke, and her partner, Peabody, to uncover the layers of secrets in order to find out “whodunit”.

At the same time, Eve’s friend, Mavis is pregnant.  Very pregnant – and Eve is in charge of the baby shower, as well as being on Mavis’s “birthing team”.  (Apparently, in the future, births require a whole team of on-lookers, helpers, and cheer-leaders).  But Eve is definitely not happy in this role.  As is established throughout the series, Eve is definitely not a “girly girl”.  She hates anything the least bit maternal or sentimental.  Thus her being forced into the role of nurturer for her pregnant friend leads to some of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard, in a murder mystery.

But the humor goes away when Mavis’s friend – another pregnant woman – suddenly vanishes.

The stories in this book are pretty good.  The murder mystery involves several different characters, and a few side plots, before the full truth finally comes out.  My only real complaint: There was some dependence on financial jargon that bogged down the story a bit.  I couldn’t really follow the financial shenanigans at the heart of the matter.

I thought the plot about the missing woman was the more interesting one, even though it gets less attention.  The woman’s background, her clear joy at the thought of being a Mom, all of that made her disappearance intriguing, and made me really hope she hasn’t stumbled into terrible peril for her or her baby.  That story had me on the edge of my seat, more so than the murder mystery/financial tangle.

This book works as a stand-alone novel, barely discussing anything from the previous books.  When references are made to both Eve’s and Roarke’s past, enough information is given so that you understand the implication, even if you don’t know all of the details.

These books always include romance – after all Eve and Roarke are happily married.  This book – thankfully – doesn’t give us too many details of their love-life.  Sometimes Robb goes over-the-top with the love scenes.  But the multiple cases in Born In Death keep Eve so busy, there’s not much time for anything else.  And this reader is happy about that.

Overall, this is a pretty good addition to the In Death series.  Murders, missing person, and pregnant ladies all combine into an enjoyable book.

 

Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal 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
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

A COLLECTIVE OF TOP REVIEWERS