Leverage In Death by J.D Robb
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a favourite with Rebel Voice. If there was a crime at this site then we would call upon the feisty, kick-ass New York detective. OK, she is living in 2067, so hasn’t yet been born, but why allow such trivial matters to spoil a beautiful working relationship. We would, however, have certain reservations about her squelchy Irish husband, Roarke.
The one factor that stands out about the In Death series is the originality of the plot-lines. They are always fresh and engaging. Leverage In Death is no exception. In this story, Eve is tasked with investigating the grisly scene where a high-powered executive, and loving family man, has detonated a suicide vest at a board meeting killing eleven people. His reasons are not as straightforward as they at first appear, but then again, where would be the fun if it was simple? The following contains spoilers.
It emerges that the executive’s wife and child had been held hostage, having been tortured over the course of a weekend. The father and husband, Paul Rogan, was subsequently forced to carry out the suicide mission or face the immediate execution of his family. He did so but with tears and a last-second apology to those he killed. Eve and her able assistant, Peabody, are rushing to find out the motive behind the attack. Revenge? Radical ideology? Boredom? It’s when Eve’s husband, billionaire Roarke, gets involved that she starts to form the opinion that the motive was one of the oldest of all, profit.
Their theory is that should the killers (for they were responsible for the deaths even if indirectly) covertly have purchased stocks in the companies represented at the board meeting, then they could conceivably have bought them at a very low price as the market panicked and sold. Holding onto the shares for a short period would allow them to return to normal value thus ensuring a healthy profit for the schemers. It’s an interesting idea and one which Rebel Voice suspects is employed across the world today as those involved in the global military-industrial complex revel in the advent of war.
Of course, Eve also quickly realises that the men she is hunting (Rogan’s wife and child survived to give a brief description) will try it again. But in which sector? Roarke tries to trace any purchases of company shares as Eve and her colleagues race to track the killers. But the bad guys are way ahead with their plans. Their next strike is a gallery owner. This time, Eve realises that the work of the artist on show will explode (no pun intended) in value due to his messy demise in the blast. We’re talking black-market sales here.
If there’s one bright point in the attacks, it’s that the killers reveal a little more about themselves each time they strike, albeit accidentally. Soon, Eve has a strong psychological profile of them and begins to close her net. She’s desperate to get to them before any more attacks occur.
This is a fantastic series. Set in the future it has a funky, spacey backdrop that supplements the story as opposed to dictating it. The descriptions of life in mid-21st century New York are highly entertaining and colourful. But J.D. Robb has managed not to rely upon the futuristic settings in any great way. OK, the more advanced technology is used to good effect by the cast of characters, but the beauty is in the plot-line which would fit nicely into any era.
Eve Dallas is a complete character who never fails to impress. The interaction between her and Roarke can get a tad mawkish (he calls her ‘darling’ for fuck’s sake), yet overall the pace of these stories is exhilarating. There is a fine consistency in the cast with personalities that make sense, even if some of them are quirky and melo-dramatic. The reader might get the sense that Peabody and her partner, McNab would be able to command their own series for example, as would Roarke. Could it be said that the In Death series is futuristic New York’s answer to Buffy and Sunnydale?
As Eve finally gets to grip with the identity of the men responsible for the killings, the plot kicks up a gear. Bad men often have many more bad men on their periphery and Eve fastidiously works her way through them all, competently building her case. The conclusion is strong although the epilogue is, again, squelchy. Still, Rebel Voice won’t grumble too much about this as Leverage In Death is a very good story and yet one more excellent addition to an already admirable stable of books involving Eve Dallas.
If you are after a rollicking race through a New York city of the future, then this is the book for you. If you want a touch of soppiness mixed in with your crime thriller, then this novel will satisfy your literary taste buds. If you want to be jealous of very rich people and their resources, then pick up this offering. If you hate the world, are high on drugs or are a religious fundamentalist, then fuck off and die or Rebel Voice will send Lieutenant Eve Dallas to tear you a new one.
Sult scale rating: 8 out of 10. The In Death series is one of a kind. It’s constantly on the Best Seller list and for a very good reason, the characters and story-lines are up there with the best of them. This novel is exciting, complex and full of fun. There’s a droll sense of humour as exemplified by Eve Dallas which adds to the enjoyment. Rebel Voice wonders when Robb is going to tackle the not-so-small matter of Eve and Roarke beginning their own family. A child would certainly add a new twist to what is a great literary creation.
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