New York at night. A young woman stumbles out on to a busy street – right in front of Lieutenant Eve Dallas and husband Roarke. Her name is Daphne Strazza, and she has been brutally assaulted. Confused and traumatised, she manages to tell them one thing. Her attacker wore a devil’s mask.
As Eve investigates this shocking case, she soon discovers a disturbing pattern. Someone is preying on wealthy couples, subjecting them to a cruel and terrifying ordeal. Worse still, the attacks are escalating in violence and depraved theatricality. Eve and her team are now in a race against time to find the man behind the mask — before he strikes again. But for Eve, his case in particular has unsettling echoes of her own troubled past.
After having done so 43 times before today I’m running out of ways to rave about these ‘In Death’ books. In fact, it’s probably fair to say I ran out of ideas several books ago. So I’m going to keep it simple. I adore these books. I adore the characters in them. And I adore the horrific crimes the amazing (and somewhat scary) imagination of Nora Roberts, in the guise of J.D. Robb. She really has a special talent for coming up with sick twisted bastards which is as fabulous as it is somewhat disturbing. J
But it is of course more than that. In fact, one thing I adore about this series and always eagerly anticipate, is the wonderful balance between the tension caused by horrifying crimes and the subsequent investigation, and laugh out loud funny conversations. The following fragment is a good example of the latter:
“(…) If Mira’s right, we’re looking for a schmuck with an Edison thing.”
“Edison? Like Thomas?”
“Who’s Edison Thomas?”
“I mean Thomas Edison. The inventor?” Peabody explained. “The lightbulb?”
“No, for Christ’s sake, this isn’t about lightbulbs. Like the sicko guy who married his own mother, than whined about it.”
After a moment’ confusion, Peabody’s own lightbulb went off. “That’s Oedipus. I’m pretty sure that’s Oedipus.”
“Edison, Oedipus, Platypus. Whatever.”
Or how about this one:
‘“(…) she used to purchase a sheep station in Porongurup — that’s Australia.”
“Why do sheep need a station? Are they catching trains? Where are they going? Why do they have to go there?”
“I imagine they find themselves herded onto trains from time to time, but a sheep station’s a ranch.”
“Then why do they call it a station?”
“Blame the Aussies.”’
What I really love about these books — apart from the well plotted and imaginative (some might say scarily imaginative) mysteries, the fast and well constructed conversations, the wonderful interactions between the various characters, and the vivid descriptions of New York City in the 2050’s — is the relationship between Eve and Roarke. It doesn’t really play a major role in the plots anymore, not after all these books and all the time they’ve spent together , but it’s always there. And in every single ‘In Death’ book there has been at least one moment when an interaction between Roarke and Eve brought tears to my eyes. With every book their relationship grows, deepens, becomes even more beautiful than it was before. And it’s an utter joy — a bit like watching two friends you’re very fond of getting every closer to each other.
I’m not entirely sure what else to say. This book is great. The series is fabulous. And if you haven’t read the In Death books by J.D. Robb yet, you probably should. That’s all.