I’m a Libran, so I’ve been told I seek balance in my life. I’ve also been told I like harmony, but not too much of it, that I’ll play devil’s advocate if I get too bored. I don’t know that I agree with that, but I do know I crave variety, and I like balance in the types of books I read. If you look at the ones I’ve recommended on BookBub or Goodreads, you’ll notice I bounce between cozies and suspense with something new tossed in here and there. I recently finished two light cozies back to back, so now I’m in the mood for something grittier, a bit darker. And this time, I turned to J.D. Robb and JUDGMENT IN DEATH. I’m halfway through it, and it keeps surprising me.
I’m amazed that a writer of bestselling romances doesn’t shy away from harsh reality and violence when she turns to mysteries. And her Death series contains elements I don’t find often in other authors’ works. Eve Dallas is a kickass female detective…and yes, that’s been done before. She has issues with commitment and romance. Not a complete novelty. Lots of detectives and P.I.s who walk the mean streets are loners. She openly admits it and has a hard time opening herself up to Roarke, her romantic interest eventually turned husband. Their relationship; however, is anything but ordinary. She likes to do things her own way, but then, so does he. He’s rich as sin and not above bending the law. I can’t remember two people who are as openly combative, while in love, as these two. In this book, their love scene feels a lot like combat to determine dominance. But it works for them:)
The people Eve works with in her department are well drawn and interesting. Her commander is clever and shrewd. Their dialogue comes off tough and professional. They want to get the job done. The villains are ugly and nasty, the murders violent and unusual. Each cop on her team serves a purpose, is better than usual at a particular skill. I enjoy the interrogation scenes when Eve drills a criminal. They’re hard and staccato, trying to pry information out of a person who doesn’t intend to part with it. Another favorite is when she talks to Mira, the police psychologist. Mira’s insights on the villain–what drives him, what his next move might be–are fascinating. And then there’s Roarke. He loves Eve and always does his best to protect her, even when she resents his help. But he’s equally as stubborn. The pace never slows down. Or, I should say, rarely does. Occasionally, Eve’s friend Mavis appears to add a bit of humor when it’s desperately needed.
The stories take place in a not too far off future where people can travel between planets and drive air transports back and forth to their jobs. But the murders are weighted by human behavior, and that doesn’t change much over time. So solving murder takes plain, old hard work and lots of investigating. Eve faces each obstacle head-on and answers questions with sometimes brutal honesty. She’s an interesting protagonist in a complex relationship and a dangerous job. This series is the perfect counterbalance to reading too many cozies in a row. I’m enjoying it for now. Hopefully, I’ll finish the book by the end of this month–which is only two days away.
Have a nice finish to February, and then…happy March!