Review: Festive in Death

Review: Festive in DeathFestive in Death (In Death, #39) by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #39
Published by Berkley on September 9th 2014
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 389

Eve’s Personal Life More Interesting Than Mystery

FESTIVE IN DEATH is the latest entry in the long running In Death series. As usual, the story is divided between the personal life and growth of Eve Dallas, the New York murder cop, her husband Roarke and now her increasing number of friends and colleagues and the mystery of the book. This book’s personal focus is on the Christmas holiday. These books have a formula now and this book is right in the normal mold.

THE STORY: As Christmas approaches, Eve is learning to cope with her life as she has a more normal life having resolved most of her horrible childhood. As she says in this book, it never completely leaves her, but she can go forward. Over the past several years described in the preceding books, Eve has acquired a number of friends that she now has to shop for. She also has to deal with the annual Christmas party that Roarke hosts.

Eve is also investigating the murder of personal trainer Trey Ziegler who had a secret stash of cash and a whole lot of women who got his “personal” treatment. Eve dislikes the victim but dislikes the crime even more and aggressively looks for the murderer.

OPINION: For this book, I found the murder mystery pretty bland. I wasn’t particularly interested in the crime, the victims or the potential suspects. That being said, I really enjoyed the look into Eve’s mindset at this point. It is nice seeing her become more open as a person, being able to express caring for others more openly. She has matured quite a bit over the last several books and it is nice seeing her construct a happy life for herself. This book felt more like a reward for longtime readers as Eve touches base with various people in her life.

WORTH MENTIONING: My favorite part of the book — “pink magic coat”.

FINAL DECISION: This book has its moments that I really enjoyed. The murder was not particularly compelling but I am enjoying seeing Eve begin to adjust to a life with friends and family. There is a sense of relaxing into her life and the reaching of the promise that Eve having other people to care about makes her a better cop. The best part of this book is Eve’s personal life.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FESTIVE IN DEATH is the 39th In Death book. Because the personal parts of this book are better than the mystery, I recommend this for fans of the series. There are better In Death books for new readers.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


Review: Concealed in Death

Review: Concealed in DeathConcealed in Death (In Death, #38) by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #38
Published by Berkley on February 18th 2014
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 402

A More Settled, Happier Eve

CONCEALED IN DEATH is the 38th novel in J.D. Robb’s series following the cases of Eve Dallas, a lieutenant in New York in the near future. The novel begins for the first time from her husband Roarke’s point of view. While in the process of beginning a tear down of the interior of an old building, two bodies wrapped in plastic are discovered. Soon twelve skeletons of young teenage girls are discovered. Eve and friends are soon engaged in discovering what happened to end these young lives. The investigation brings Eve into the world of street kids that touches some of her past, Roarke’s and especially her friend Mavis’s.

I enjoyed this book. For me the last few books have been uneven. Since NEW YORK TO DALLAS, there hasn’t been a book that has really gripped me. This one doesn’t rise to the levels of earlier books in the series. Since the resolution of Eve’s past, much of the series angst and tension has dissipated. Eve feels more happy, more settled and more reconciled rob her past and her present.

The focus here is on the victims. As Robb does with most of the books in the In Death series, the theme of the crime is mirrored with our crew of regular characters. That works better here than in the last few books. Eve, Roarke and Mavis all recognize a kinship with the victims but the recognition is softer than some of the earlier books. Because the crimes are old, this has more of a cold case feel. The pave is slower, allowing for more contemplation about the connections and circumstances.

A longtime reader of the series will find plenty of references and continuity to revel in. We also have the chance to meet a new character, Dr. Garnet DeWinter, a forensic anthropologist, who seems destined to become a recurring character.

I would rate this book in the middle of the series. Not one of the best, but better than the last few.

I recommend it.


Review: Naked in Death

Review: Naked in DeathNaked in Death (In Death, #1) by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #1
Published by Berkley on July 1st 1995
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 320

Just a Great Book

“She didn’t hurry as she walked to him. Something told her he was a man too used to people — woman certainly — rushing toward him. So she took her time, her long, slow strides flapping her borrowed coat against her chilly legs.”

THE STORY: Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a detective in New York in the mid-21st century. When the granddaughter of a powerful Senator is killed, Eve begins an investigation that takes her from the political powers in Washington and New York and the business powers where she meets the mysterious billionaire Rourke. Determined to solve the crime and prevent more death, Eve finds herself attracted to Rourke — who might be the man she is searching for — the murderer.

OPINION: NAKED IN DEATH is one of my favorite books and is the book that I recommend to anyone looking for a good read. Intense, fun, romantic, surprising, this book has it all.

Eve Dallas is one of the most well-rounded and interesting characters. She is powerful, smart and strong. She is well respected in her job and doesn’t need rescue of anyone. She has a quick mind that the reader will want to follow as she uncovers the truth about the crimes she is investigating. At the same time, she is vulnerable and as readers learn more about her, her success only becomes more amazing.

Rourke is mysterious and appropriately, readers know as much about him as Eve does. Sexy and dangerous, the question is raised whether this will be the man who ends up being the perpetrator of the horrific crimes that Eve is investigating. Eve’s attraction to Rourke is both understandable and also possibly deadly. I am a fan of stories where the romantic involvement is questionable and might be dangerous to the hero/heroine.

A bevy of intriguing secondary characters are set out here. Those characters will make reappearances in future books. Those characters will be fleshed out and the lives further revealed so readers can feel good about liking them.

The pacing of the book builds tension as secrets are slowly revealed. I truly recommend not reading spoilers on this book — not only because it ruins the mystery of the plot, but also because the character reveals are part of the character development. This is not merely a mystery, but the story always serves the purpose of character development. The close connection between story and character is one of the strengths of not only NAKED IN DEATH but the entire In Death series.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

WORTH MENTIONING: Content disclosure: This book and series deal in depth and seriously with rape and incest so those who are sensitive to those issues should consider themselves forewarned.

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous book that crosses genres. Near time sci-fi mystery with a strong romance, NAKED IN DEATH demonstrates some of the best of all these by having great writing, emotional connections with and between characters, and an interesting and engaging plot. This is THE book that I give to friends who want a book recommendation.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NAKED IN DEATH is the first book in the In Death series. The series follows Eve Dallas and the cases she investigates.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.