Published by Berkley on June 1st 1998
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
FINAL DECISION: My favorite of the holiday mysteries. This one is a good crime mystery. Creepy and strange and what is better than a murderous Santa?
THE STORY: It’s almost Christmas time and Eve is struggling with getting gifts for all the people in her life and wonders if it was better when she was alone. At the same time a murderer has decided to make victims of people searching for true love. Taking inspiration from the song the Twelve Days of Christmas, the killer is hunting for a true love, killing them and leaving them decorated for Christmas with tokens of love. Eve has to work fast because this killer is quickly working through twelve loves.
OPINION: This is one of my go-to holiday reads. The story is really creepy and sinister in its crimes but it is nicely balanced by the innocence of Eve getting Christmas gifts. Although she has a hard shell, she is quite sweet when trying to do her holiday shopping.
I also enjoyed this one because the sexual violence brings more development of Eve’s personal story. She is growing and changing and healing from the horror of what happened to her as a child. While violent and horrible as crimes, this is a very intriguing and intense crime. The days are going quickly and the pace of the killers crime is especially draining for Eve who is fighting her personal demons along with trying to solve the crimes and stop anyone else from dying.
There is also quite a bit of chemistry between Peabody and McNabb as they are circling one another.
For me, I really enjoy the iconic characters involved in this case. The characters and the crimes are one that are memorable and the situations and solutions feel important and high in tension.
WORTH MENTIONING: The novella MIDNIGHT IN DEATH is a companion to this because it also occurs during this same holiday season and is closely related to this book as it deals with the aftermath.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HOLIDAY IN DEATH is the seventh book in the In Death series. The mystery is entirely separate and can be read as a standalone. Because there are overarching character story lines, I think it is better to read these in order, but this is one in the series that works on its own.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.