Well, darn. I’m a late comer to J.D. Robb’s Death series, but once I read the first one–Naked in Death–I had to read the second, Glory In Death, and the third, Immortal in Death. I enjoy the grittiness, Eve Dallas’s character trying to stay true to herself as a cop while falling hard for rich and handsome, Roarke, who’s been known to bend the law, and the compromises they both make to make their relationship work. The mystery never takes a back seat to romance, stays the main plot line with the romance as a subplot.
So, when I saw one of J.D. Robb’s books on sale, I bought it, even though it was WAY ahead in the series–#43 of the soon-to-be 51 books. I mean, I’m so far behind in the books anyway, I thought What The Heck? The first three books build on each other, but they were easy to read as standalones, too. I thought Eve and Roarke’s relationship might have evolved quite a bit by number #43, but I expected pretty much the same type of story. And it IS still a gritty crime that becomes Eve’s case, along with the usual cops who work with her. And she and Roarke are still crazy about each other, and he still fusses over and helps her because he worries about her. Nice. But the TONE of the book really threw me off. I found it so annoying, I had to make myself stick with it, and I have to say, it wasn’t until the last half of the book that I felt like I was reading J.D. Robb again, that she settled into the rhythm I enjoy so much.
Because books do have a rhythm–and not just words, sentences, and paragraphs. It’s a balance of concentrating on plot, subplot, and developing and fleshing out characters. I’m just as hooked on Eve and Roarke’s relationship, her interplay with her friends and fellow cops, as I am in the crime they’re solving. And for the first half of the book, there was scarcely enough of that for me.
It felt like Robb was telling the first half of the book in staccato. I went from one scene of Eve snapping orders at one person to Eve snapping orders at someone else. I understand the intent. It was to build a sense of urgency. Which it did. There was one shooting after another with intermittent interviews of witnesses and searching for clues because Eve knew the killer was just getting started. And each time she struck, she’d kill more and more victims…because she could. Occasionally, Roarke just felt like Eve’s lackey, and I didn’t like it.
Finally, a little after the first half of the book, Eve zeroes in on who’s committing the crimes, and Robb let more character interaction enter the story. The pace settled a little, and I felt like I was reading one of my favorite series again. The voice AND the tone felt right.
Everyone has his own personal likes and dislikes, and most people are going to like the fast pace and building tension of this book. Robb created two well-developed villains, especially the girl. A great character study of a psychopath. And once I got to the middle of the story, I was a happy reader again. I finished the book satisfied.