Review of “Devoted in Death” (In Death #41) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Devoted in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399170881 | 374 pages | Romantic Suspense

4 stars

Devoted in Death evokes the real life dynamic of Bonnie and Clyde and other such killer couples throughout history, and that alone makes it a compelling read. Once again, we’re given insight into the perspectives of the killers, and while they are slightly different from the other killers who are given passages from their perspective, in that there is an element of passion for one another in these parts of the book, as well as their general twisted mindset.

As the identity of the killers is known to the reader from page one, much of the real intrigue is following Eve and the gang in their investigation as they see how far this murder spree extends, and catching the killers before the kill someone else in a similar manner. And once they caught them…that interrogation scene! Peabody is really coming into her own, and has become just as much of badass as Eve.

The book also has a lot going on internally with the cast, from a promotion to Detective for recurring character Officer Trueheart (which I hope means he’ll be getting more page time in future books, since it feels like ages since we saw him last), to the usual delightful banter and jokes.

This book is great, just like all of them are for the excellent blend of the romantic and suspenseful, the funny and the dark. I continue to repeat my recommendation of this series for pretty much everyone.

Review of “Obsession in Death” (In Death #40) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Obsession in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399170874 | 404 pages | Romantic Suspense

4 stars

40 books in with the prospect of only eight more, then having to wait for the next two, and I can still say I am obsessed with this series, in spite of all its shortcomings. So, it is quite fitting in a sense that this one is called Obsession in Death.

And while this wasn’t one of my favorites in the series, it was still great, especially as it presented a new personal challenge for Eve, with the case being concerned with an obsessed fan of hers who takes it upon themselves to make misguided attempts to avenge her to prove her “friendship.” Ultimately, even if the reveal wasn’t that exciting for me, I found the psychology of the killer, in the snippets we got from their perspective the most interesting, which is not surprising, given ho w I’ve often expressed my admiration for how Nora Roberts gets into these twisted people’s heads.

I also really liked seeing the team work together, bringing up people from past cases. Admittedly, I didn’t remember quite a few of them, but it is nice to see more consistency in terms of the connectedness of the series and the characters beyond the core group.

And Eve and Roarke…I fall in love with them more and more as a couple from book to book. And it’s really those little intimate moments, like them having a meal together or their casual banter in between all the intense case-cracking, that make me so happy.

This was a pretty interesting one in the series, and while it wasn’t mind-blowing by any means, reaching book 40 only increases my hype for the books to come.

Review of “Festive in Death” (In Death #39) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Festive in Death. New York: G.P. Putam’s Sons, 2014.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-0399164446 | 389 pages | Romantic Suspense

4 stars

Festive in Death is another enjoyable installment in the In Death series, with a reasonably interesting case. It’s always fascinating when it’s not so black-and-white, and the victim is kind of a awful person as well, leading to the uncovering of much more complex and deep motivations behind the killing, as well as exemplifying the true nature of the job of being in the police force of doing your best work to solve a case, no matter who the victim is.

And of course, an In Death book is not complete without some great interactions between the cast, this time surrounding the holiday season. There’s a tender moment near the end between Eve and Roarke with a callback to their first Christmas together that elicited an “awww!” from me, and more “fun” surrounding the holiday season, including some silliness with a mall Santa. Not to mention Eve once again out of her element planning a huge Christmas party…

This was a more or less enjoyable installment, although Eve being Eve with her awkwardness does start to wear a little thin after so many books, and I feel like she could use more character growth. But other than that, it continues to be great and I continue to attest that it’s worth it to take the plunge and pick up the series if you haven’t.

Review of “Concealed in Death” (In Death #38) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Concealed in Death. New York: G.P. Putam’s Sons, 2014.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399164439 | 402 pages | Romantic Susoense

4 stars

Concealed in Death is another great book in the In Death series, and I was immediately intrigued at how this one was set apart from the others with the discovery of a long-concealed set of bodies, a setup that has never been seen before in the series. And the additional layer that ties them to a home for troubled teens added a connection to both Eve and Roarke’s pasts that I thought was great.

It was also nice to see a deeper side to Mavis, who I often forget led a bit of an unconventional lifestyle prior to becoming friends with Eve. Other cases have touched the cast in such beautiful ways, and to see how Mavis was connected to this one shows how much she also struggled, providing a greater sense of satisfaction to her current state of happiness, in a similar way that Eve’s current life with Roarke does for her.

While this one is a bit slower and more contemplative than the average book in the series, it suits the type of case they’re working with this time around, although ultimately it left the conclusion feeling a bit anticlimactic, wrapping up a little too quickly. However, it is still a fairly solid book, with plenty of great moments.

Review of “Thankless in Death” (In Death #37) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Thankless in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399164422 | 402 pages | Romantic Suspense

5 stars

Thankless in Death has a lot of elements we’ve seen before in the In Death series, including a psychopathic killer on a manhunt, but it is that very thing that made it one of the better ones for me. While some of the books tend to complicate the cases a bit with different technologies and fictional advancements, my favorites are the ones that delve into the traditional and timeless cold-blooded murder and the quest to find him.

It also shows off Robb/Roberts’ eerie talent of truly getting into the mind of a psycho once again, and as much as I loved seeing Eve and the gang trying to catch him, my favorite parts were the portions from his perspective, delving into the reasons he chose each of his victims, and how he felt they wronged him, something no rational person would let escalate to these heinous acts, even if someone upset them. I would love to pick Roberts’ brain on the writing of these scenes, as they are pure dark, morbid perfection.

Given that those violent moments, it’s a welcome relief to have them juxtaposed with scenes of a the lead-up to and the carrying-out of Thanksgiving dinner, with an absolutely beautiful final scene featuring recurring characters, like little orphaned Nixie and her new adoptive family, the DeBlasses. Given that these are among the characters over the course of the series who’ve faced monumental losses, it is heartwarming to see them focusing on the positive and being thankful for what they have, especially Nixie, who expresses her gratitude toward Eve in the sweetest way.

This is one of the installments that I really enjoyed for its balance of the gritty and the emotional, and its interweaving of a great, if somewhat cliche, message.

Review of “Calculated in Death” (In Death #36) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Calculated in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399158827 | 386 pages | Romantic Suspense

3.5 stars

Calculated in Death was another installment in the In Death series with a concept that did feel a little too…much…for me, what with the focus being on the accounting world. I think one of the best parts is that Roarke’s connections and expertise actually play a significant role in a way that I felt added to the story and made me enjoy it just a little bit more, instead of making me go, “Oh, here we go again,” like I often did, particularly in earlier installments when an all-too-convenient connection to the case came up.

I also didn’t feel like there was as much action that kept me invested, and the villain (and his minion) felt rather underwhelming in comparison to perps from prior books.

And in spite of the case going over my head to some extent, the characters are true to form like always, with a consistent blend of badassery and banter. And I like that as she introduces new supporting characters, she doesn’t forget about them, which is the case this time with the reappearance of actress Marlo Durn from Celebrity in Death, and the preparation for the gang to attend the premiere of the movie being filmed in that book.

While this is another slightly underwhelming entry, it still has the hallmarks that make the series as a whole work.

Review of “Delusion in Death” (In Death #35) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Delusion in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399158810 | 388 pages | Romantic Suspense

3.5 stars (maybe light 4?)

I had somewhat mixed feelings about Delusion in Death. On the one hand, I think it’s great that Robb/Roberts isn’t afraid to try new things when it comes to crafting cases, and this time, with the introduction of a chemical weapon at the root of the killings, I could feel the sense that there were higher stakes with a greater number of lives lost and a weapon that can’t easily be diffused in a one-on-on situation.

On the other hand, I’ve found some of the books that got a little more technical with the methods and a little less…intimate…to be my least favorite when it comes to keeping me interested overall. The solving of the case was great as always, but this one ranks a bit lower on the scale for me due to my feelings on the case.

However, the characters remain great, and I really enjoyed the delving into Eve’s trauma in the aftermath of what went down in Dallas a couple books ago, particularly when it comes to the unresolved issues with her long estranged mother who failed to recognize her upon their confrontation. I truly felt for her, and think it’s wonderful that she has such great people like Roarke and Dr. Mira in her corner to provide emotional support, which they do at different points of this book.

While again not a favorite, I think it has just enough of the consistently good things that made me love the series that I feel like it’s still not getting old, even at almost three dozen books in.

Review of “Celebrity in Death” (In Death #34) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Celebrity in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012.

Hardcover | $27.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399158308 | 389 pages | Romantic Suspense

4 stars

Celebrity in Death is yet another fairly solid In Death book, although I did feel like the return to the standard formula did feel a bit jarring after the epicness of the prior book, in that it’s more or less a return to the predictable.

However, I still did like it conceptually, especially the setup surrounds a movie being filmed based on one of Eve’s prior cases, and the initial amusement surrounding meeting “themselves,” including the fact that Peabody’s actress is incredibly hostile…to put it nicely. And this did still lead to some fabulous moments of banter between the cast, especially with Eve and Peabody discussing how much of an awful person the Peabody actress is.

I also liked seeing more emotional moments, with Peabody and McNab getting some time to reaffirm their love for one another, as we see McNab panicked over seeing the corpse of fake Peabody, imagining the worst that could happen to the real one that he loves. And while I acknowledge along with them that they’re not ready to get married yet, I love seeing a rare example of the depth of their feelings for one another.

The case itself was interesting and had great twists as the case unfolded, even if it was one of the more by-the-numbers entries in the series, with whodunnit being fairly obvious…although observing Eve get down to the “how” and the “why” was entertaining.

I can’t really blame this book for being more of the same from the series, as it did have a big act to follow with New York to Dallas, and I still don’t know if anything in the series will be able to top it. However, by the standards of the series, it is still one of the better entries, even if it doesn’t rank among my absolute favorites.

Review of “Treachery in Death” (In Death #32) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Treachery in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011.

Hardcover | $26.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399157035 | 375 pages | Romantic Suspense

5 stars

Treachery in Death is a great entry in the In Death series, due to it featuring one of my favorite elements that has recurred on occasion in prior books: a dirty cop. But I love that this dirty cop is very much a match for Eve in nearly every way, leading to one of the most epic climactic showdowns I can remember throughout my read through of the series thus far.

I also liked seeing a bit more of Peabody in a primary role early on with the initial minor case before the real intrigue begins. It’s wonderful to see her growth over the course of the last thirty-plus books, and while it does feel like the growth is a little limited at times for this group of characters, it’s nice to see her getting a bit more to do.

There’s not much else to say that I don’t keep saying in all of these reviews, that it feels rather redundant. Eve and Roarke’s development remains pretty solid, and I love the emotional support of the rest of the cast toward Eve, and Eve toward them. However, I will keep on raving about this series either until I’ve caught up and/or until I finally lose steam with these books (which I pray does not happen, because these books are amazing and anyone who hasn’t read them should read them).

Review of “Indulgence in Death” (In Death #31) by J.D. Robb

Robb, J.D. Indulgence in Death. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010.

Hardcover | $26.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0399156878 | 373 pages | Romantic Suspense

4 stars

Indulgence in Death provides something of a divergence from the typical whodunnit formula, something that has only been done once or twice before in the series, but it provides a nice breath of fresh air this time around. And despite the shakeup, there was still no shortage of Eve and the gang crime solving and butt kicking, so it’s still a solid installment overall.

But once again, the character relationships are what make each story memorable and what leaves me eager to pick up the next installment (even at the risk of running out of books before the next release). It’s great to see Eve and Roarke continue to both work together and be in marital and social situations together, the latter of which, of course leads to many laughs on my part.

Speaking of laughs, this one continued the trend from the last book of having great dirty jokes. A particularly memorable exchange revolving around the double meaning of the word “cock” had me rolling.

This installment is another great one for the series, with all the elements that make it great out in full force.