J.D. Robb

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

By: J.D. Robb

Blurb:

Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past.

As it often did since he’d married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. Then again, Roarke supposed, the woman lying in a pool of her own blood a few steps inside the arch in Washington Square Park had a heftier complaint.

When a night out at the theatre is interrupted by the murder of a young woman in Washington Square Park, it seems like an ordinary case for Detective Eve Dallas and her team. But when Roarke spots a shadow from his past in the crowd, Eve realises that this case is far from business as usual.

Eve has two complex cases on her hands – the shocking murder of this wealthy young mother and tracking down the shadow before he can strike again, this time much closer to home. Eve is well used to being the hunter, but how will she cope when the tables are turned? As Eve and the team follow leads to Roarke’s hometown in Ireland, the race is on to stop the shadow making his next move . . .

Review:

I’m just going to go ahead and say SPOILERS right off the bat. I’ve got some thoughts on this book, and I don’t want to avoid anything.

Shadows In Death is the fifty-first In Death book. Probably the longest series I read, and it is pretty amazing how consistent it is. However, there are a few stinkers, and for me, this is one of them.

Eve is called to a dead body, and of course, Roarke is with her because, at this point, he’s a police officer. While there, Roarke sees someone from his past. A man that is a professional killer and who happens to hate Roarke with the power of a thousand suns.

The murder that starts the book is not the main story. It’s wrapped up within the first hundred pages. As in Eve is in interrogation and getting a full confession at page one hundred. So nothing much there, though I did find it one of the more enjoyable parts of the story. The book’s main plot is finding Cobbe, the man who wants to kill Roarke and everyone he loves.

Things truck along, and it’s all going good. Lots of excitement, lots of conversation, and stuff with Eve and Roarke, and then we get to the end. Depending upon future books, it’s possible we can point to this moment as the moment the series jumped the shark. At one point, almost all of Eve’s detectives are in a plane flying after the bad guy. In the air, they’re able to hack something and get a lock on Cobbe’s plane. He is, of course, headed to Ireland to kill Roarke’s family. The cops are in a faster plane, so they beat him there and set up a trap.

Just a note, Cobbe is supposed to have over four hundred murders linked to him, and it’s believed to be significantly more. He has alluded capture for over twenty years. Then he loses every brain cell he has when he decides to go after Roarke. He’s supposed to have come unhinged, but you’d think the number of dead bodies would increase dramatically, but they don’t. He just makes a series of really stupid decisions that go against twenty years of history. Once again, the book explains that he just hates Roarke soooo much and that his ego is sooooo big that this is all logical.

Anyway, the cops are all in position, Cobbe has no idea they followed him, walks into the trap, lands a punch on Eve, and is cuffed. Case closed roll credits.

Only no.

All these cops, including New York Police Commander Whitney, are standing around with Roarke’s family when Cobbe starts cursing out Roarke. Nothing new. We all knew he hated him. There have been childhood stories about the hatred and everything. There’s clearly bad blood here, but he’s captured. He’s going to prison. The evidence against him is insurmountable. Every police organization on the globe wants him. After two decades of evading capture, he’s caught in less than a week by New York cops. That should surely be enough.

Nope.

They end up un-cuffing Cobbe, and he and Roarke fight in the middle of a ring of cops. You see, Cobbe had been going after one of their own, so it was only natural that they would want to see a climactic fight. Roarke, a man with regular lessons with world-acclaimed fighters, toys with Cobbe, letting him land a couple of punches, cause the pain feels good. Then easily takes him down. They cuff him, interrogate him in a root cellar, then it’s over.

I have never been a fan of cop shows where the cops abuse their power, and that dislike grows every year. When there’s been a storyline that builds over several stories, and there’s a fight before the criminal is cuffed, I’m all on board, but it just angers me when something like this happens. They had him. He had never been talked about in previous books. Yet, because he reminded Roarke of his horrible past and because they all knew he was coming after Eve and Roarke, it was okay for them to step outside the law for a bit and smack him around. No. Just not.

As far as stinkers go, this was a big one. Robb has built fifty books of goodwill, so I’m not bailing on the series or anything, but I am concerned about the future.

2/5

Side Note: There should be a trigger warning at the beginning of this book for animal cruelty.

Dark in Death

Dark in Death

Dark in Death (In Death #46) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

Review:

I did not like the first half of this book, at all. Because one of the side characters, that until then I’d only had positive thoughts of, said a word that Trans people find offensive, I was immediately on my guard. There were hints that the deranged serial killer was going to be Trans or non-binary and it kept me on edge in a bad way. Based on what there was I did not trust Robb to write about the subject in a well-researched and thoughtful way.

Making matters worse a female novelist was a main character in the story. I have not had good experiences with that, especially when it feels like there is some tongue in cheek things said to the reader through that character. Which was the case here.

Like I said the first half of this book was not for me in any way. The second half had us back in familiar territory, though, and I preferred that. We had a fair amount of Peabody, which I loved. Roarke was great. Sadly, the first half ruined the book for me.

2/5

Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death (In Death #45) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

Review:

It took me forever to finish this book, my reading habit is still borked for some reason. There was nothing wrong with this, it was a normal In Death book, so don’t take that as a sign this one isn’t any good.

Eve witnesses the death of a Gossip Columnist and upon further digging discovers the woman was a narcissistic sociopath. It was an interesting story, wrapped up fairly quickly, easy enough to figure out who done it, but still entertaining.

I liked that we got to see more of the supporting characters than we have in the last few books, though, still not as much as I feel like there used to be. Eve is definitely growing as a character and didn’t dwell on some of the darker parts of the mystery as much as she would have in the past. Her and Rourke were on point during the story and we actually got a little bit of time with just him.

It was a nice, non-world shattering mystery and I enjoyed it.

4/5

Echoes in Death


Echoes in Death (In Death #44) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

After a party in New York, Lieutenant Eve Dallas rides home with her billionaire husband, Roarke, happy to be done with cocktails and small talk.

After another party, not far away, a woman retires to her bedroom with her husband—and walks into a brutal nightmare.

Their paths are about to collide…

When the young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve, still in glittering gown and heels, springs into action. It’s been a long night for the tired homicide cop, and it’s far from over.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil” . . .

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked—and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife—this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse as the first suspect. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Review:

It is now Feb 2060, Eve and Roarke are on their way home from a gala when they almost hit a naked woman running through the snow. They rush her to the hospital where it’s discovered that she’s been tortured and raped by, in her words, the devil. Eve reports the attack then goes to the victims house where she discovers the body of the victims husband.

The mystery was not as non-stop as the previous book, which I appreciate, but there were enough twists to make it entertaining. I was able to guess who done it fairly easy, but it was still satisfying when they were caught.

We had more Peabody in this book, but not as much as I would have liked. The books have become more Eve centric than I remember. Sometimes it feels like Peabody is just her secretary, thankfully, she did make a couple contributions to the story, but not many. It has me wondering if she will find a new partner soon, which is kind of sad.

All in all, it was a fine book and nice addition to the series, but I’m hoping for more of a contribution from side characters soon.

3/5

Apprentice in Death


Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

Lieutenant Eve Dallas must hunt down the deadly snipers terrorizing Manhattan in this fast-paced In Death thriller from J. D. Robb.

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil…

Review:

I was dead tired after I finished reading this. The entire thing took place over about a seventy-two hour period it felt like and Eve was just constantly moving. From about 35% it was edge of your seat, very rarely let up.

Eve is just living her life, dreading going to Mavis’ daughter’s first birthday, when she’s called in for a shooting. She realizes quickly that it’s a long distance serial killer. Things just go from there.

Roarke was with her on this one, and we saw a ton of other people, but for the most part this was Eve all the way. Even Peabody wasn’t very present in this one. She was always off doing other things. She was there, but her personal life wasn’t talked about at all. I missed that, along with the other side characters, but with such a tight time frame I understand why it wasn’t possible.

The killers were…well one was pathetic and one was evil. The evil one was interesting and a bit scary. Eve zeroed in on them fairly quickly and she was better about not projecting on them as much as she has in the past.

One of the things I love about this series is that there does appear to be growth of the characters. They move on, they learn. It’s wonderful.

4/5