Dark In Death by J.D. Robb
The work never ends for Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the New York homicide squad in the year 2061. Although Eve has all she could ever need in terms of wealth and love – being married to Irish billionaire, Roarke – she is still an extremely driven person. Eve’s childhood was horrendous and has left her with an innate need to bring justice to those in trouble. It’s a good job too, or we’d never get a chance to read the many instalments of this fine series.
In Dark In Death, Eve is faced with a homicidal maniac with a penchant for re-enacting the murders in a book series. Our favourite cop is called to a grisly scene in a cinema where a talented young actress has been brutally executed during a showing of Hitchcock’s Psycho. CCTV footage is sketchy as to who was responsible, but that’s not enough to deter the highly focused Eve.
As Eve and her trusty Sergeant, Peabody, dig into the gruesome death, they find that it wasn’t the first by this particular killer. The methods employed by Eve’s real-life psycho are impressive as each plot is finessed to the minutest detail. It’s not long, however, before Eve realizes that the killer is female and has a previous association with the author of the crime series that she is replicating. Eve is dealing with a disgruntled and failed author. Is there anyone more dangerous?
As is the norm for this series, the story-line for Dark In Death is full of wonderful twists and turns that blend seamlessly together. It’s a light parody of the literary industry that manages to combine a fictional story-line within a fictional story-line. J.D. Robb, aka, Nora Roberts, is second to none with her skills in plotting stories. Although set in the not-too-distant future, the Eve Dallas series is not about that time period. Instead, the murder-mysteries take precedent over the technological developments which merely paint a curious background. Of course the point needs to be made that J.D Robb was a great deal more optimistic about the advancements that society would have made than was warranted. Having said that, however, she does portray people as they always have been, and makes some very practical and interesting suggestions about how our communities might develop. LC’s are Licenced Companions, prostitutes who provide a service that is morally acceptable in Eve’s world. There is also appropriate recognition given to stay-at-home mums, and their work is rightly regarded as a job (and perhaps the most important one) in its own right. Robb is a true progressive.
As Eve and her team, which often includes Rourke, get closer to the killer, the female executer is forced to change the story-line that she in now writing in blood on the streets of New York. She is clever and has the wily ways of a born survivor. This means that it’s not going to be easy for Eve to both locate and corner the culprit. But Eve has been through the system. She knows pain and suffering and has experienced the evil that society can throw at it’s members. It’s this ability that allows Eve to get inside the head of the killer. A useful if not scary trait, I hope you’ll agree.
When the cops finally decide that the killer is following the plots from a crime series, they are then able to move one step ahead to intercept her. However, as the saying goes, There’s many’s the slip, ‘twixt cup and lip, and the police are up against it in trying to find the next exact victim. Remember, this killer can think on her feet, which is a strange phrase as a person can think just as well lying down or sitting. The pressure mounts on Eve not only to stop the killer, but to do it before anyone else dies. Will she succeed? Don’t ask us, read the book!
Dark In Death is a very good tale. Although this series could be criticized as being more of the same, Robb does just enough to make each plot-line different. The fact that the series is set in the future keeps the entire thing fresh, but it’s Robb’s writing that’s the real attraction. OK, Roarke can be a bit much at times although, in this instalment, he has toned down the mawkishness and instead concentrates on riding Eve all over their vast home. Roarke is the impossible dream for most women as he appears to be perfect. He’s charming, physically imposing and handsome, highly intelligent, a rogue turned good guy, dangerous and very compassionate and considerate. He also gives Eve multiple orgasms every time whilst waiting until she climaxes before going himself. Is there such a man in reality? Doubtful. Still, Robb has him as an Irishman so that a bonus for those of us who are Irish, although women may be disappointed when they find out that J.D. might have stretched the truth a tad. It does give us a fighting chance though.
Eve always succeeds. The only question is whether or not she gets there in time to save everyone. There are many other asides running concurrent to the main plot-line. One good example is Eve’s relationship with her friends and, in particular, the help given to young Quilla who Eve manages to get an internship for with her good friend, Nadine, the high-flying TV presenter. There’s the dynamic with Somerset, Roarke’s butler and mentor, who is absent from Dark In Death. There is also the interaction between the various cops who provide some comic relief at times with Eve as the bemused straight guy. And there’s Galahad the cat. There are a lot of well-formed and likable characters in this series. Again this adds to the freshness as there are so many avenues that Robb can explore in each book. This is one of the most popular literary series in the world, and its easy to see why.
The net slowly closes around the vicious killer as the different strands of the investigation entwine. The tension builds as Eve moves closer to capturing her prey. She races to get to the psycho before another innocent dies. As always, there are unforeseen quirks and bumps to enthrall us (enthrall is a word you don’t hear so much. Rebel Voice kinds likes the word. Enthrall. It sounds almost onomatopoeic), as we are borne upon the capable feminist shoulders of Eve in her pursuit of justice and bad people. We’ll all arrive together, though, both sated and hungry for more.
Sult scale rating: 7.5 out of 10. Yet another winner from J.D. Robb as we get the pleasure of Eve Dallas and her friends, and have the opportunity to explore the world of New York in 2061. There is blood, sex, violence, funky fashion and weird machines, all wrapped up in a story-line that is a cross between Murder She Wrote and Blade Runner. If you like the idea of Jessica Fletcher as a kick-ass, sexy-as-hell New York cop with a roguish Irish billionaire husband, then this is the book for you. Note, there is still no movie of this series. The futuristic settings would be a financial burden, but surely the cost would be worth it as there is a ready-made audience, just waiting.