Apprentice in Death   by J.D. Robb

This is yet another solid performance from J.D. Robb, the pseudonym of Nora Roberts. Robb never fails to impress me in the quality of her plot-lines, each being fairly original and engaging.

Apprentice in Death is, I think, number 43 in the Lieutenant Eve Dallas series. In this novel we find Eve in pursuit of a sniper team, somewhat reminiscent of the D.C. snipers of recent times. As this particular story is set in 2061, we can expect more advanced weapons and police techniques for apprehending criminals, and there are hi-tech gadgets galore in this fast-paced tale.

As Eve closes in on the serial-killer team, it becomes unclear as to which of the maniacs is running the show. However, it soon emerges that both are operating to their own evil agendas.

Eve is assisted as always by the delightful Delia Peabody, the lovable and dependable detective partner of Dallas. Eve’s billionaire husband, Rourke, is again employed as a consultant in the race to stop the killer couple before they add to their substantial death toll. Rourke is the ubiquitous computer programming genius (everyone should have one), as well as being one of the wealthiest people on the planet, or any other planet for that matter.

In the Lieutenant Dallas series, humans have colonized the solar system. Given that it is set only 40 years into the future, we can see how J.D. Robb has seriously over-estimated the technological advances of humanity. That said, Trump has stated his desire to see a man on Mars during his presidency so who knows. They may have to make Trump President-for-life, and replace all his organs with those harvested from desperate Filipinos, and give him some bionic limbs, in order for him to witness a human Martian landing.

I’ve just terrified myself with that image of Trump. Now I’m thinking about a sunset on an Irish beach, with oyster-catchers running around and… no, it’s no good, it’s not working. I won’t sleep tonight.

Apprentice in Death is good fare. It does get a bit soppy at times. As much as I try to understand the intense relationship between Eve and Rourke, I do feel that Robb overdoes their squelchy rhetoric. Still, it’s a small price to pay in order to enjoy one more fine thriller by one of the most successful novelists of our time.

Sult scale rating: 7.5 out of 10. Recommended.

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