Jerry's Reviews > Imitation in Death

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb
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Jul 06, 10

Read in June, 2004

Strong police procedural highlights 17th Eve Dallas !

We continue to be astounded at the publishing pace of Nora Roberts. Despite her "regular" books under her own name, these fun NYPD homicide Lt. Eve Dallas stories, written as "JD Robb", keep coming at the rate of one or two a year. "Imitation...", the 17th entry in the "... In Death" series, is not the emotional blockbuster of the just prior two ("Purity..." and "Portrait..."), but nonetheless entertains throughout this tough-minded police procedural. When a licensed companion (that's a "hooker" in year 2059 parlance) is found brutally murdered in the style of Jack the Ripper, followed in quick succession by the killing of a popular female apartment dweller, slain Boston Strangler style, it doesn't take the two notes recovered from the bodies, on unusual stationary, to clue any of us that a vicious copycat serial killer is on the loose. When it turns out the notes are addressed to Dallas personally, it's also clear that she herself is probably on the intended hit list, providing immense worry to her billionaire but loving husband Roarke. His role in this novel, as in many of the prior tales, is one of Eve's crime-solving sidekick, along with faithful aide Officer Delia Peabody. Fortunately, the notepaper provides a small roster of immediate suspects, but Robb cleverly keeps us guessing, 'til like ten pages before the end, which of the half dozen users of the stationary might be the real sicko. While a sub-plot of sorts involves Peabody's trials and tribulations getting ready for her detective's exam, the storyline is very much ala Ellery Queen in terms of clues, follow-up, and solid police work. Eve's intuition serves her well, but her assembling and processing of the clues is flawless as she gradually zeroes in, then sucks in, the bad guy.
Eve's hardships as an abused young girl, and her husband's often "shady" background provide the usual backdrop to much of the motivation of the principals. Their marital relationship is always a subject of both display and discussion. Meanwhile, Peabody's moving in with McNab, another regular, provides a foil in "examining" the nature of adults living together. We're still big fans of the whole set, and at the point when many similar ongoing character series novels have long gone stale, find continued enjoyment in Dallas' pursuits. We think you will too!

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