In this short story from the Dead of Night anthology, our fearless Lieutenant Eve Dallas is hunting a vampire allegedly responsible for the murder of...moreIn this short story from the Dead of Night anthology, our fearless Lieutenant Eve Dallas is hunting a vampire allegedly responsible for the murder of a beautiful young woman. Wait, what? Vampires in an 'In Death' story?! Rest assured this series has not taken a turn down paranormal lane, although you'd be hard pressed to convince this murderer otherwise.
Known for her wild living, the very rich, beautiful and famous Tiara Kent is found dead by exsanguination in her apartment, the only injury on her body a pair of puncture wounds on her neck. The open minded and perhaps superstitious Detective Peabody suggests the wound is indicative of a vampire bite, but the logical and pragmatic Lt. Dallas sees right through that charade and is determined to snare the mortal man responsible for this murder, no matter how convincing his vampiric behaviors are.
Eve and her team venture into the darkest, most dangerous depths of the city to solve this crime and bring the killer to justice. The best part of this story was how everyone on Eve's team, including Roarke, couldn't help but speculate if the killer really was a vampire, even if just for humor's sake and to jerk Eve's chain. Aside from that, the case is solved almost as quickly as it presents itself, and it's just a matter of logistics on how to acquire evidence on the killer. (less)
The First Cut is the first book in the crime fiction thriller series featuring female police officer and single mother Nan Vining of...more*** 3.5 stars ***
The First Cut is the first book in the crime fiction thriller series featuring female police officer and single mother Nan Vining of the Pasadena Police Department. The story begins with Vining returning to the precinct for work after a leave of absence she required to recover physically and mentally from a brutal attack while in the line of duty that nearly took her life months earlier. Within minutes of entering the precinct, Vining is recruited to investigate the heinous murder of Frankie Lynde, a young, beautiful female cop with the LA Police Department whose naked and brutalized body is found dumped in an arroyo in Pasadena. While some of her fellow officers think this crime may hit too close to home for Vining, she views this case as the perfect opportunity to prove to her colleagues--and more importantly to herself, that she's ready and able to get back in the game.
To complicate Vining's return to work, she secretly suffers anxiety attacks whenever she enters unfamiliar houses. Sometimes these anxiety attacks manifest themselves in the form of hearing voices from both Frankie Lynde and T.B. Mann-- the name Vining and her teenage daughter have given to Vining's unknown attacker "The Bad Man" who remains at large.
The First Cut starts out a bit slow introducing the primary and secondary characters, establishing the crime scene and other information, all the while without any strong character developments or progress in the plot itself. Eventually, though, the pace picks up and the book quickly transforms into a very intense police procedural for a disturbing set of crimes that left me turning the pages as fast as I could just to make sure justice was served.
This book's strength is definitely in the thoroughness of the police investigation and the specific procedurals as well as in the grim and disturbing profile of the murderer and his accomplice. Revisiting the events that led up to the murder of LAPD officer Frankie Lynde and witnessing the perpetrator initiate a new crime against a new victim was both disturbing and suspenseful. The weakness of the book, however, is that I felt Officer Nan Vining's character was short changed in the development area. Yes, we learn about her attack by T.B. Mann and how it still affects her, we learn about her relationship with her daughter and bit about a male colleague with whom she used to be involved and we also learn what a competent and intuitive cop she is--all of which invites the reader to empathize with and route for Vining's success. Which happens for the most part, yet I feel like we could have and should have gotten more intimately involved with Vining's character to really know and connect with her. Since this is the first book in a series, I imagine Vining's character develops more in the subsequent stories making her character and her stories even more compelling.
I gave The First Cut three stars on goodreads for "I like it." The series shows great promise and I intend to read the rest of the books in the Nan Vining series.(less)
The second half of Remember When is an In Death series story, taking place about 50 years after the romantic suspense story told in Part One of the no...moreThe second half of Remember When is an In Death series story, taking place about 50 years after the romantic suspense story told in Part One of the novel. In Part Two, Eve and her team are investigating a murder that occurs in the apartment of Samantha Gannon, granddaughter of the romantic couple in Part One who were involved in the partial closure of a world famous diamond heist. Samantha Gannon has written a book about the diamond heist to which her family was so closely involved and it looks like someone is after her in order to find a pouch of diamonds that was never recovered.
The murderer was fairly easy to identify, but it was exciting nonetheless to follow the sequence of events that led Eve and her team to solve the case and take down the murderer. Nothing too consequential in the relationships or personal lives of the cast, other than Peabody adjusting to life with her new badge.
Finally finished an In Death novel after a several month dry spell! Promises was a really great installment to this series. I liked the crime story an...moreFinally finished an In Death novel after a several month dry spell! Promises was a really great installment to this series. I liked the crime story and police procedural in this one .. the crime of which hits close to home for Eve's team. The victim is a fellow cop who also happens to be the lover of chief medical examiner, Li Morris. It turns out the victim has a roundabout connection to Eve & Roarke's past so that makes things pretty interesting as the story unveils. I liked the little twists and turns that popped up in the investigation but even more so, I adored the personal story going on in this one, namely the bridal shower the women are hosting for their friend Louise. Hilariously fun and endearing. Of course, it was also lovely seeing Eve comfort Morris in his time of grief. (less)
This story opens with Lt. Eve Dallas called to the scene of a murder that's all too familiar: The body of a young brunette woman with wounds on her bo...moreThis story opens with Lt. Eve Dallas called to the scene of a murder that's all too familiar: The body of a young brunette woman with wounds on her body indicative of horrific torture and carved in her belly is the time it took for her to die. Nine years ago, the department investigated a series of murders just like this one, the case never solved. Now this vicious, elusive murderer known as "The Groom" is back in New York City, targeting women who work for Eve's multimillionaire husband Roarke. Now Eve and her team are literally racing the clock with a vengeance to catch "The Groom" once and for all and before more women die.
I have to admit that it took me almost half the book before I got pulled into this one. The case was interesting enough, but there was a lot of fact gathering going on and very little criminal suspense or personal drama to the story at that point to keep me absorbed. Plus I have to admit being somewhat annoyed that once again, expert civilian Roarke is working around the clock with the NYSPD on this case and even present at meetings with the commissioner. Really? Thankfully, around half way through the book the pace finally picked up. In fact, it got so intense that I didn't want to put it down!
The reader is exposed to the murderer's disturbing torture methods throughout the story, which definitely raises the creep-factor several notches. His motives are slowly revealed as the investigation progresses, which in turn makes it all the more disturbing. Not only are the physical acts horrific, but so are the psychological aspects.
There are some great scenes between Eve and Feeney, both heated and emotional, as they rehash the investigation from nine years ago and discover that neither one of them have ever gotten over the frustration and guilt from having never solved "The Groom" murders long ago. These several scenes and the last couple of chapters turned this book from an okay read into one I thoroughly enjoyed. I even choked up a bit there at the end! (less)
Natalie Copperfield, a conscientious, young accountant, is found beaten and strangled in her apartment, apparently as a result of discovering suspicio...moreNatalie Copperfield, a conscientious, young accountant, is found beaten and strangled in her apartment, apparently as a result of discovering suspicious financial activity within the high profile firm with which she's employed. Her boyfriend who works for the same accounting firm, is found murdered by the same method in his apartment, having been killed shortly after his girlfriend. Lt. Eve Dallas begins investigating into the two murders while also preparing for and anticipating the birth of Mavis' [Eve's best friend] baby. When Mavis' friend from childbirth classes goes missing, Eve begins an investigation into Tandy's disappearance which may be related to a series of abductions of pregnant women. Eve has her hands full juggling these two different investigations and is racing against time to solve these cases, take down the murderer and rescue Tandy.
I liked this book well enough, but aside from a few scenes from Eve's personal life, I thought the crime fiction aspects are just okay. There are so many secondary characters in this installment between partners in the accounting firm, their clients, how they know each other, who's based in New York, who's based in London--I just couldn't keep all those names and their connections straight.
Since the accounting firm under scrutiny has clients who are business competitors of Roarke's, his involvement in the case as a civilian consultant is questioned by Eve's superiors, and rightfully so. Although we know Roarke can be trusted not to use any data he comes across during this investigation for his personal financial gain, it's still a wise move to just keep him out of the investigation for once. Yet, all he does is provide a legal document saying he'll only study the data blindly and then poof! Everyone's happy and he's on the case yet again. Really? I find the whole civilian consultant thing a bit over done to begin with and extremely unrealistic in this particular case. It just doesn't seem worth the risk to anyone--the NYSPD, Eve or Roarke, to be accused of anything unethical or illegal down the road as a result of Roarke's involvement in this case.
The best parts of the book were definitely the interactions between Eve and Mavis proving that indeed, even Eve can do girl bonding. Very touching. (less)
Survivor In Death is one of the most intense and terrifying installment in the series thus far. In this book, nine year old Nixie Swisher is the sole...moreSurvivor In Death is one of the most intense and terrifying installment in the series thus far. In this book, nine year old Nixie Swisher is the sole survivor in death after her mother, father, brother, her best friend and the family domesticate are murdered in their beds while they sleep, practically right before her eyes. The only reason Nixie was spared is because she snuck out of bed in the middle of night for a soda and then hid when she figured out there were intruders in her home. The murders are carried out swiftly and silently with military precision and speed, leaving no evidence behind as they attempted to erase this loving family. Lieutenant Eve Dallas spares nothing at keeping Nixie safe, knowing whoever is responsible for these horrendous murders isn't going to stop until Nixie is found and killed. Nixie is clearly left quite traumatized not only by her incredible grief and loss, but also by the horrific scene of blood and gruesome deaths right before her eyes. Although the circumstances are a bit different, Eve and Roarke are reminded of their own childhood traumas through what Nixie is experiencing now. So while Eve and her team do whatever it takes to hunt these murderers down, she and Roarke are also doing whatever it takes to help Nixie and each other as they revisit their own childhoods that still haunt them.
Survivor In Death starts out with an intense murder scene and doesn't let go of that intensity until the very end. The sadness and grief, and consequently the compassion between characters, are as intense as the suspense and terror in this book, making it one of the most exceptional books in this series so far. The murderers are cold, calculating and brutal in the abuse, terror and death they inflict on their victims. While the crimes in this story are horrific, and the grief and confusion of this poor child are heart wrenching, the amount of sensitivity, love and compassion that is shared among the characters are what hold this story--and the survivors-- together. (less)
What can I possibly say about the In Death books that haven't been said already? The crime fiction is consistent as is the c...more*** 4.5 out of 5 stars ***
What can I possibly say about the In Death books that haven't been said already? The crime fiction is consistent as is the character development. This book brought some new stress to Eve and Roarke's relationship when some startling information about Eve's tragic and abusive childhood is brought to their attention. Eve wants to let things be and keep it to herself, whereas of course Roarke wants to make those responsible pay for what was done to Eve. The crime plot in this one is also personally stressful for Eve and Roarke because it is Roarke's employee--and his secretary's daughter who is under suspicion for a double murder.(less)
The crime fiction and personal components were very well balanced in this installment. I was also rather glad that Eve and her team handled this inves...moreThe crime fiction and personal components were very well balanced in this installment. I was also rather glad that Eve and her team handled this investigation almost entirely without Roarke posing as their civilian consultant. Portrait in Death also pleasantly surprised me with it's emotional impact The murder mystery was decent on its own merit, but I think it was improved upon by the way it tied so well with the personal issues going on in Eve and Roarke's world in this story. Also, the denouement of the actual capture of the murderer was one of the more exciting ones. The new revelations about Roarke's past and how it threw Roarke for a loop, nearly pushed he and Eve apart, but in turn brought them together in such a beautiful way, was definitely a highlight of this novel. There was plenty of emotional punch with these discoveries and consequently some very emotional and sweet moments between Eve and Roarke. It was especially striking to see Roarke so vulnerable and off his mark and Eve the one grounding him. There was also a tender albeit stark scene in which Eve has to tell someone she knows that their loved one has been murdered and brings him to the morgue to identify the victim. Very heart wrenching and made me admire and love Eve all the more.
On the lighter side of things, Portrait in Death had some one liners and small scenes that made me smile and giggle out loud--often right in the middle of a scene that already had me shedding some tears over a serious emotional moment. I love when a book does that to me. For example, in one scene, Roarke, who is in Ireland at the time, calls home to check in with Eve and he is piss drunk-- a tremendous rarity for the man who is always in control. Eve has never seen Roarke foolishly drunk and gets a little worried for his safety.
"Don't go anywhere tonight. Promise me you'll stay in Brian's flat. Drink yourself unconscious but don't go anywhere." "Not going anywhere till tomorrow. Heading west tomorrow." "West?" She got an image of cattle ranches and mountains and long, empty fields. "Where? What, Montana?" He laughed until she'd thought he'd burst. "Christ, is it any wonder I'm besotted with you? West in Ireland, my darling, darling Eve. [...] "
To someone who doesn't read this series, maybe this scene isn't very amusing, but if you know Eve, you know how easily she is freaked out by anything to do with nature and countrysides--heck anything outside of a city. And then there's Roarke who never gets sloppy drunk and off his game. Even though he's the one being a bit foolish, she's the one who panics about the countryside and thinks Montana when he's in Ireland saying he's going west in the morning. LOL!
A moment or two later in their conversation, Eve hears a loud crash in the background and asks Roarke what it was.
"Ah, Brian's down, and appears to have taken a table and lamp with him. Passed out flat on his face, poor sod. I'd best go try to haul his ass up and into bed. I'll ring you up tomorrow. See that you take care of my cop. I can't live without her." "Take care of my drunk Irishman. I can't live without him either." He blinked those blurry eyes in confusion. "What, Brian?" "No, you idiot. You." "Oh." He grinned at her again, so foolishly her throat burned. "That's good then. Makes us even. 'Night now." "Good night." She stared at the blank screen, wishing she could just reach through it and haul him back to where he belonged.
I love that scene. It's all sweet and romantic and they make me laugh! (less)