Monday, 5 March 2018

Secrets in Death (In Death #45) by J.D. Robb - Review

 370 pages
Publisher: Little Brown


A new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series: Lt. Eve Dallas must separate rumors from reality when a woman who traffics in other people’s secrets is silenced.

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…


Part of me wonders if, after 45 previous books and reviews, I really need to write another one. Surely by now, people will have caught on to the fact that I adore the In Death books by J.D. Robb. But, in all fairness, this instalment isn’t quite like most other books in the series. While the earlier stories were mostly high tension thrillers with multiple victims and a race against time that started on the first page, Secrets in Death is told at a more leisurely pace and reads as a more or less (given that it’s set in the future) standard police procedural.

I enjoyed the change of pace. It meant there was more room for the interactions between the recurring characters in this series. While I thoroughly enjoy the mysteries in this series, my addiction to them has more to do with how hard I’ve fallen, not only for Roarke and Eve, but for all people in their immediate circle. I’ll never get enough of Peabody, McNab, and Nadine (to name just a few).

I also appreciated that in this book, the victim was a most despicable creature. In fact, she was the sort of character than in another instalment in this series might well have been the perpetrator. I loved how this fact was used to illustrate that justice is justice, no matter who the victim happens to be and that principles are only true if you apply them under all circumstances.

If I do have one complaint about Secrets in Death it is that I had the murderer identified as soon as they were introduced. I realise that the scene in question was written the way it was to emphasise Eve’s investigative instincts, but it was laid on so thickly even a blind person would have recognised what was going on. I can’t help think a that a softer touch, would and could have worked just as well without making the resolution obvious long before it was spelled out. Having said that, I can’t say that this ‘issue’ was big enough to affect my overall reading enjoyment or rating. J

One of many things I love about this series is that it shows the ongoing relationship between Roarke and Eve. And while it is described as one of those couplings that make you wish you might run into a partner you connect with in similar ways, it doesn’t pretend all is perfect. Eve and Roarke, like everybody else, run into misunderstandings and problems, but, thankfully, they and their relationship are ‘grown-up’ enough to solve these issues through communication, honesty, good sex, and humour.

“So here we are, all pissed off, and likely to give this particular dead woman more of our sweat than she deserved in life.” – Roarke

And I’ll never get bored with Eve’s literal approach to life and language. All too often she wonders about a staying or word I’ve used for years without ever giving it a second thought, only to find myself agreeing with her that it is, indeed, weird.

“What sort of a name is waffle—where they just not sure what it was, so they, you know, waffled? Or does it mean something?”- Eve

Overall I have to repeat something I’ve said numerous times before: J.D Robb/Nora Roberts is in a league of her own when it comes to telling a captivating story. She may appear to be breaking every single rule when it comes to her writing, and I’m aware that her shifts in perspective shouldn’t work, but for me it all contributes to the qualities that have brought her to the top of my list of favourite authors.

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