Ah yes, Immortal in Death, the third of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb, in which yet another critical side character gets her turn to shine in theAh yes, Immortal in Death, the third of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb, in which yet another critical side character gets her turn to shine in the spotlight as Eve's investigations must involve her. This time around it's Mavis Freestone getting the plot love, when she winds up being the prime suspect in the murder of a top supermodel. Turns out her current boyfriend was going to work with said model, and there were heavy rumors of romantic entanglement--until Mavis came along!
The plot's complicated by the rumblings about a new wonder drug that's said to dramatically slow the effects of aging, a veritable fountain of youth. Not terribly surprisingly, the investigation into the murder and the investigation into the drug eventually dovetail, like they do in an "In Death" book. But Mavis brings an undeniable effervescence to the story, enough that you almost regret that she and Eve are already established friends as of Book 1. It would have been fun to actually see their meeting on camera.
I like as well that this is one of the "In Death" books that reminds you that this is a setting far enough in the future that space travel is in fact commonplace. The drug around which much of the plot hinges has offworld ties, and even though that's a fairly offhand worldbuilding detail, it's still nice to see for a skiffy fan like me.
All in all, a fun early episode in the series. Four stars....more
Glory in Death is the second of the long-running "In Death" series, and it's early enough still that it doesn't quite have its feet under it yet. TheGlory in Death is the second of the long-running "In Death" series, and it's early enough still that it doesn't quite have its feet under it yet. The relationship between principal characters Eve and Roarke, which for my money is way more interesting once their marriage is established, is only just getting to the point of marriage here; moreover, another long-running critical character, Peabody, is barely introduced as of this installment. (I'd totally forgotten, upon re-reading, that she didn't show up until Book 2. And I freely admit I cheered when I got to her first appearance!) You can tell, too, that Peabody still isn't entirely fleshed out as a character as of this story; mostly, her function in this plot is to be noteworthy because of her unusual observation skills, her ambition to get into Homicide, and the fact that she gets quite, quite drunk at Eve's engagement party.
I'd also forgotten how early the critical character of Nadine is introduced in the setting, as well. Nadine's right in the forefront with the string of murders this time around, especially when one takes place right outside her own station--and Eve can't help but notice how a rival of Nadine's is surprisingly quick on the scene as each successive murder occurs.
I've said before that the "In Death" books are formulaic, but certainly at this early point in the series, the formula is still quite fresh. If you're re-reading them like me, it's nice to go back and see the characters coming into play. If you're a new reader, this second book in the series is still early enough and gritty enough to give a greater sense of presence and reality for this futuristic version of New York than what comes later. And it's certainly an enjoyable way to spend one's reading time. Four stars....more
This is the very first of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb, who is of course better known by her other name, Nora Roberts. To this day I remain veryThis is the very first of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb, who is of course better known by her other name, Nora Roberts. To this day I remain very fond of this entire series, since it's among the first that got me into regularly reading romantic suspense, and it's a good bridge between that and my more preferred genre of SF.
And given Ms. Roberts' usual mode of writing, this first of the long line of Eve Dallas novels is actually more enjoyable to me for the futuristic worldbuilding than it is for the romance. Don't get me wrong, Roarke is a very swoonable love interest--but his main function in this plot is to be handsome and mysterious, and to put our heroine, NYPD cop Eve Dallas, through a wringer of OHNOEZ HE IS MY PRIMARY SUSPECT YET I CANNOT RESIST HIS HOTNESS. Compared to how their relationship develops later, Eve and Roarke are really kind of cliched getting out of the gate. On the other hand, it must definitely be said that the way Roarke really gets to Eve emotionally, giving her real coffee, is both a great little worldbuilding detail, since real coffee is rare in this timeframe, and very, very sweet.
But don't let that stop you from enjoying this book, if you like your romantic suspense with a light dose of SF on the side. The setting is just far enough into the future that we've got flying cars (YAY!), droids, interstellar travel as well as super-swift planetary transit, and other technological marvels. What appeals to me just as much are the political and social worldbuilding details, though. In the Eve Dallas universe, prostitution has become legal and those who engage in it are "licensed companions"; the Browncoat in me just has to grin at this. Motherhood is considered a paying career choice, and women who elect to stay home and raise their children are in fact paid salaries as full-time professional mothers, which is awesome.
This early in the series--and this is something I'd forgotten, given how long it had been since I read this one the first time--the setting is rather grittier than you see later on as well. Eve is still primarily a street cop, and she hasn't gotten her future aide Peabody as of this story. So you see a lot more of her doing legwork and encountering various disreputable characters as she works the case. I really rather miss that from the later books, since it makes this one and the couple that follow stand out better as individual plots.
As for the case itself, it's a high-profile serial killer case that has Eve running afoul of a U.S. senator as well as Roarke, the richest and most powerful man on the planet. The plot structure won't surprise anyone familiar with Roberts' work or really, with romantic suspense cop plots in general. But it's a fun light read and a great start to a series with impressive longevity indeed. Four stars....more
At this stage of the In Death series, twenty-seven books in, one of these is as good as another as far as quality goes. I've said it before and I'll sAt this stage of the In Death series, twenty-seven books in, one of these is as good as another as far as quality goes. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Eve/Roarke books are formulaic, but there's something to be said for Nora Roberts being able to maintain a readable formula for nearly thirty novels.
This time around Eve's investigating the murder of a priest who was poisoned right in the middle of conducting a funeral service--a deeply perplexing murder, because who would off a priest? But the matter gets more complex as she soon uncovers that the priest was not who he appeared to be, and that he was in fact apparently in hiding.
On the personal front it's the turn of stylish ME Morris to start developing a relationship, and it's amusing to see Eve and Peabody issuing tart commentary on the detective who's snared his interest. Aside from that, though, no huge developments in the statuses of any of the main characters' lives take place, so the fun here is pretty much all with the investigation. Still, though, it's an enjoyable read. Three stars....more
Is the In Death series really up to 23 books? Wow. No wonder it's getting harder for it to have installments that stand out from the crowd. The last fIs the In Death series really up to 23 books? Wow. No wonder it's getting harder for it to have installments that stand out from the crowd. The last few have been more or less "meh", and this one didn't particularly grab me either. It wasn't bad reading--just didn't have any particular substance. The mystery was simple and unsurprising, and I was tired of the subplot of "Eve and Roarke are panicky about Mavis having her baby" a few books ago. (At least the good news is, now they can actually stop the "Mavis is having her baby" subplot, since we do get some resolution with that. A bit heavy on the schmaltz with that resolution, though, and I mostly spent that scene going "yeah yeah yeah finish it up already".)
There were a couple of places in the writing, too, that looked like they were still on first-draft status and hadn't quite been properly edited. I caught myself going "wait, what?" and having to go back and re-read several preceding paragraphs when it looked as if a scene break was supposed to have happened and didn't. And that head-hopping thing? Noticed it here too, though at least Robb keeps it down to a miminum. Two and a half stars....more
In case you were wondering, yep, Strangers in Death is still upholding the ongoing formula of the In Death series. Fortunately, as I have observed befIn case you were wondering, yep, Strangers in Death is still upholding the ongoing formula of the In Death series. Fortunately, as I have observed before, it continues to be an entertaining and well-executed formula, which goes a long way to keeping me coming back and reading each new installment.
This time around we have Dallas and Peabody investigating a murder that has no apparent perpetrator--for which all signs indicate that the most likely culprit must surely have been a stranger, because no one in the victim's family would seem to have either motive or opportunity. Yet Eve in her inimitable fashion keeps digging at it, and soon enough we get a Strangers on a Train scenario where the main interest is finding out not necessarily who did it, but why. And, of course, in Dallas and her team, all of whom work together so seamlessly by now that they have it down to an art, building up the case against the suspect.
Meanwhile, one of the things that I think keeps the series interesting for me is that Robb isn't afraid to have Eve and Roarke have fights as passionate as their lovemaking. You do know of course that they'll get over it--it's part of the formula--but hey, the reason these books keep coming out is that the formula works. And keeping a relationship between your lead characters lively nearly thirty books in is no small achievement. This one was certainly entertaining to read and I will of course come back for the next one. Four stars....more
This post is out of date at this point, since I actually read this book several days ago--but I wanted to go ahead and get it in so it still counts asThis post is out of date at this point, since I actually read this book several days ago--but I wanted to go ahead and get it in so it still counts as part of the 2007 Book Log. ;)
Innocent in Death is the mumble-mumbleth entry (I lost count ages ago) in the "In Death" series, which even a long-time fan like me has to admit is pretty formulaic at this point. That said, this particular installment wasn't half-bad at all. We get another round of a genuine fight between Eve and Roarke, which for me helps add some interest and conflict to their relationship long-term. Sure, they always make up in the end, demonstrating their commitment to stay together--but real couples do have fights and misunderstandings. And one thing I'll say for Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, she's done a good job at making the fights Eve and Roarke have had not be for stupid reasons.
Meanwhile, we have a murder plot at hand that gives the reader a good run for the money with the red herrings through the first part of the book. I won't say much more about that because I don't want to spoil it; I'll just say that the perpetrator this time around was an unusual choice, and occasionally genuinely creepy.
So all in all, a good quick read. Three stars....more
This is actually an anthology of three Eve & Roarke novellas, and one of them was previously released in the Out of This World anthology that cameThis is actually an anthology of three Eve & Roarke novellas, and one of them was previously released in the Out of This World anthology that came out ages ago: "Interlude in Death". I'd completely forgotten that story, though, so I didn't mind buying it again. The other two installments therein were "Midnight in Death" and "Haunted in Death", and of the three, I think I actually liked the one I'd read before the best. "Interlude in Death" is a rarity for the Eve & Roarke stories, as it actually takes them off-planet, and plays interesting games with the motives of an old, corrupt cop. "Midnight in Death" plays the card of "criminal Eve put away three years earlier escapes and comes back after her", but we've seen that before, and we see it again in the new full-length paperback, in fact. "Haunted in Death" was fun, though I think I'd have preferred less of the flirting with whether ghosts are real and more with a solid proof either way. ;)
It is kind of fun to see Eve & Roarke tightened up to novella form, though. It pares the setting down its essentials, and if you're a long-time reader, at this point, that's really all you need. Three and a half stars....more
Meanwhile, over in full-length story land, Creation in Death is the latest Eve & Roarke novel out in paperback. This one's a doozy, with a serialMeanwhile, over in full-length story land, Creation in Death is the latest Eve & Roarke novel out in paperback. This one's a doozy, with a serial killer that Eve and Feeney had failed to nab nine years before resurfacing and going on another rampage through New York. Right out of the gate this plot ramps up the tension, and keeps it going until the end. Familiar territory, pretty much, though the territory continues to be satisfying.
Notable bits about this installment for me were improved amounts of Eve and Roarke really understanding each other, the general wtf-creepiness of the bad guy, and minor recurring characters even getting to contribute significantly to the manhunt--such as Trina, of whom Eve otherwise lives in terror. It is familiar territory, though, and unlike that clone story a few books back, didn't really bring anything new to the overall series. So I'm calling this one three stars....more