Author: J.D. Robb

July 25, 2017

Review | Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Echoes in Death by J.D. RobbEchoes in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #44
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks, February 2017
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
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Lieutenant Eve Dallas encounters her toughest case yet when New York's wealthiest couples are the targets of a calculated killer in Echoes in Death, a crime thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.
When the young woman--dazed, naked, and bloody--wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve--still in glittering gown and heels--springs into action. It's been a long night for the tired homicide cop, and it's far from over.
Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it's too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock, the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him "the devil."
While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked--and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife--this is one case where the evidence doesn't point to the spouse as the first suspect. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:
What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Home is a safe place. It’s where we go to relax, to unwind, to feel safe after dealing with whatever we’ve faced that day. But in J.D. Robb’s latest novel, Echoes in Death, that safety is violated when a killer destroys that santicty. Even worse? He’s dressed as our deepest fears.

There’s always a psychological element in Robb’s work, but Echoes in Death brings it to the forefront. She delves not only the psychology of the criminal, but into their many victims, their lives, and in turn, our own. It took me on a more personal thrill ride through my own fears (you can bet your doughnuts I got up to check the doors and windows were locked after finishing this book) that was pleasantly unexpected.

Each victim represents something we recognize in ourselves or in our lives. The first victim is struggling with an overpowering husband and an unhappy marriage. The second victims (a couple) feel more like the pinnacle relationship we all wish for. On and on, each brings something new to the table, something that will strike a chord in each individual reader. I loved it.

Eve, as always, kicks ass as the main protagonist. Her personality shines through even more while she’s helping the victims of the Echoes in Death criminal, creating the image of an avenging angel…that is, if angels wore magic leather coats and had short shaggy hair. In this installment, she reminded me most of Murphy, that sometimes love-interest/foil to Jim Butcher’s Dresden. Both have a great resemblance to the avenging angel stereotype, take absolutely no shit, and have no problem going after what they want. They are the type of female characters that I love to read.

From the theatrical, terrifying nature of this criminal to the dark psychological underbelly of society that they reveal, Echoes in Death is a winner for J.D. Robb’s fans and mystery lovers alike.

5 Stars

Posted July 25, 2017 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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September 29, 2016

Review | Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Apprentice in Death by J.D. RobbApprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #43
Publisher: Berkley, September 2016
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
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The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.
Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.
Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

Master and apprentice in death. It’s a new take for Lieutenant Eve Dallas, Homicide. She faced down lovers, loners, psychopaths and worse. But when a long distance serial killer (think sniper) starts killing in New York City, Eve has a feeling she may be out of her depth.

I couldn’t get into this book at first. After waiting (im)patiently for the latest book in the In Death series, I expected a grand opening scene. The initial murder scene at the ice skating rink didn’t catch me at first. The connection, the viciousness that I’d come to expect from Robb’s villains didn’t stand out. Instead, it was cold, impersonal, and almost clinical.

As Apprentice in Death began to play out, the implications began to sink in. I realized that these villains, the master and apprentice, were unlike anything Eve has faced before. I was hooked into the massive manhunt for the serial killers for one reason: the psychological profiles.

The depth and variation in both the master and apprentice’s mindsets, motives, and rationale were intense, emotional, and entirely engaging. In other words, I loved it. The dueling narration of Eve’s hunt and the snipers’ thought processes fascinated me, pulling me deeper into the story than I ever imagined.

Most of Robb’s installments are what I would consider thrilling, but the gritty nature of this manhunt made it downright heart-stopping. Although it took a while for it to get started, Apprentice in Death lives up to Robb’s standards.

As thrilling as the new characters were, it was the returning cast that made me fall in love with this book. The dynamics between Peabody and Eve in Interview always add a thrill, and Roarke…well, Roarke is an entity unto himself. Their perfectly imperfect marriage is one of my favorite relationships in literature today.

I don’t know why I doubt it; Robb’s In Death series has won me over time and time again. Apprentice in Death was no different.

4 Stars

Posted September 29, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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March 31, 2016

Review | Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Brotherhood in Death by J.D. RobbBrotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #42
Publisher: Berkley, February 2016
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
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Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy...
Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

Eve Dallas has a soft spot for Dennis Mira, husband of her close confidant and college, Dr. Charlotte Mira. When he stumbles across his cousin, Senator Edward Mira, bruised and bloodied in the study of their grandfather’s family home and is attacked himself, Eve takes the case personally. A longtime senator, politician, and unanimously unlikable guy, Edward had many skeletons in his closet, but he turns up dead, Eve starts digging. Soon, she has unraveled a secret brotherhood, long hidden crimes by men who believed they were untouchable, and a killer that wants to revenge.

Brotherhood may not be in the first book where a case meshes with Eve’s personal life, but it’s one of the more poignant. Dennis Mira is a sweet, gentle soul; slow to anger, quick to forgiveness, it’s hard for him to understand his cousin’s need to ignore their grandfather’s dying wish to keep the old brownstone house in the family. Eve, protective of him by nature, takes this case to heart, especially after she hears the details of his attack. She’s dealt with the frightening, the scary, the unusual throughout the series, but it’s the attack close to home, to someone she loves, that revs her into high gear.

Many of the In Death novels have discussed relevant topics in today’s society, but Brotherhood took rape and its repercussions head on. Robb’s depiction of the plight of the victim, the struggles they overcome, was heartbreaking.

Robb’s latest installment brings up another question: wait for justice to be served, or take it into your own hands? A cop by nature, Eve’s narrative emphasizes waiting for the process, for letting her do her job. There’s a passion in her voice, but a piece of her connects with the criminals while she must stand for the dead.

Eve makes some progressions of her own in Brotherhood. The case brings up some memories from her own past, but when one event occurs, it makes her realize how tightly she is holding on to it. While her character’s evolution doesn’t play a huge role in the book, it’s a astounding moment, for both her and the reader.

I read the In Death series for many reasons, but usually because I love Eve’s quick replies, snappy comebacks, and native sarcasm. This one caught me for the crime and discussion of real topics in society. It felt a little more real, a little more in the darker side of Eve’s New York.

4 Stars

Posted March 31, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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January 21, 2016

Review | Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb"Wonderment in Death" by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death,
Publisher: Jove, September 2015
Pages: 432
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Some of your favorite New York Times bestselling authors present five all-new stories told through the looking glass—including a new Eve Dallas novella!
You’re late for a very important date... Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head. 
Don’t be afraid to follow them…

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Contains
Wonderment in Death by J. D. Robb, Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney, Love by Elaine Fox, A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas, Fallen by R. C. Ryan

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite fairy tales. The mischievous characters, the setting where truly anything can happen, and the determination of the heroine wins me over every time. When I saw that Robb had come out with a novella with strong Alice themes, you bet I was in.

 
Although it appears to be a typical murder suicide (if any such thing can be truly typical), there’s something odd about this one. Why was the sister wearing a camera on her lapel as she murdered her brother and flung herself off the balcony? Eve starts digging and finds that this doesn’t fit either sibling’s personality. She tugs that thread, unraveling the entire story in a fascinating tale. 
 
The theme of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” stood out strongly in Wonderment in Death. Eve could have taken one look, saw what she was supposed to see, and wrapped it as a murder/suicide. That isn’t who she is; even though Louise and other characters ask her to look further, Eve would have delved into their story until she was sure, was satisfied. I loved that extra development in her character – this case reinforces her standard to look beyond the surface. 
 
What really stood out for me were the overwhelming themes of Alice. From the villain’s cronies to the method of murder itself, Robb didn’t leave any stone unturned. The fairy tales shenanigans merged with the harsh reality of Eve’s world created a stark, fascinating contrast. 
 
4 Stars

Posted January 21, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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October 29, 2015

Review | Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Devoted in Death by J.D. RobbDevoted in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #41
Publisher: Berkley, September 2015
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
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Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.
When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .
Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.
As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .

Romantic love is always portrayed in books and fairy tales as such a beautiful thing. We’re taught for a young age to find our soul mate and live happily every after. Devoted in Death is the story of two such soul mates that find joy in murder. 

Such an unnerving thought. Romance is meant to be one of the highlights of our lives: reading this couple’s path of destruction through futuristic New York is one of the more gruesome books I’ve read in the In Death series. 

Luckily, Robb sticks to her general narrative style – brief, somewhat hard-to-read descriptions of the crimes, interspersed with a quick, banter-style dialogue and the right hints of humor to pull the book from the depths of the two killers.   

I loved the pace: from the introduction, the backstory, and all the way through to present, there was this desperate urge to know what would happen, how it would happen, when it would happen. The story of Darryl and Ella-Loo takes over the narration, so the series’ side plots don’t move forward much, but I’m okay with that. The story was THAT GOOD.

5 Stars

Posted October 29, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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