Obsession in Death

Thus begins another case for Eve Dallas and the gang; another great book with all the characters we know and love and a strong plot-line. How does J.D. Robb manage to consistently bring out such great stories?

 A crisp winter morning in New York. In a luxury apartment, the body of a woman lies stretched out in a huge bed. On the wall above, the killer has left a message in bold, black ink: For Lieutenant Eve Dallas, with great admiration and understanding.

Thus begins another case for Eve Dallas and the gang; another great book with all the characters we know and love and a strong plot-line. How does J.D. Robb manage to consistently bring out such great stories?

This time, Eve is struggling with the fact that the killer is someone who wants to be her best friend – she has enough trouble keeping up with the friends she has without a murderer wanting to join the ranks. Despite outward appearances, Eve takes murders that happen on her watch very personally, and even more so when it is claimed they are done in her name. There are some difficult moments for Eve while trying to reconcile this but she still manages to kick ass and plough on.

Having to worry about her friends more than usual makes Eve once again try to reconcile her desire for a quiet life, with the number of people she has acquired! There are instances here where Eve lets her softer side shine through more so than usual.

The regular gang are all present and Peabody is definitely coming into her own now, more confident in her role as Eve’s partner rather than aide. Some of the interactions between them are golden.

besides” – on impulse she slung an arm around Peabody, cuddled her stunned partner in – “my partner’s got the better tits.”

Roarke is of course ever present and as usual he and Eve remain the at the centre. Never mind Eve though, where can I get me a Roarke?  Always there reminding Eve to eat and look after herself, knowing what she needs almost before she does. The dynamic between them does not get old (neither does the sex!) despite the 40 books they have been in, and if anything was to happen to him I would be devastated.

J.D. Robb is an amazing writer and despite this series having so many books, you could easily pick up here and not be disappointed. I would urge anyone who might be daunted by reading 40 books to catch up – just don’t. Read this one then you will want to go back and read the rest.

I love this series, I love these characters and I will eagerly await the next book. I cannot get enough and really, really, encourage people to read it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J. D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (40)
  • Format: Hardback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Crime
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Festive in Death

 The kitchen knife jammed into his cold heart pinned a cardboard sign to his well-toned chest. It read: Santa Says You’ve Been Bad!!! Ho, Ho, Ho!

It’s Christmas, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in no mood to celebrate. While her charismatic husband Roarke plans a huge, glittering party, Eve has murder on her mind.

The victim – personal trainer Trey Ziegler – was trouble in life and is causing even more problems in death. Vain, unfaithful and vindictive, Trey had cultivated a lot of enemies. Which means Eve has a lot of potential suspects. And when she and Detective Peabody uncover Trey’s sinister secret, the case takes a deadly turn.

Christmas may be a festival of light, but Eve and Roarke will be forced once more down a very dark path in their hunt for the truth.

I honestly don’t know how J.D. Robb does it.  Thirty-nine books in and the stories are still fresh, gripping, emotional and funny. I keep expecting some dip in form, some ‘haven’t I read this before’ feeling but no, Festive in Death was just unique and brilliant.

The full cast we’ve come to know and love are back and as colourful as ever.  Peabody is a favourite of mine in particular, because of how she copes with Eve’s acerbic nature.  She gives as good as she gets but in her own style which makes me laugh.

Eve herself makes a lot of progress in this book, realising just how important the connections with her friends are and there are several moments that made me a bit weepy but with a big grin at the same time. Her bafflement with social norms never fail to make me laugh and Roarke’s fierce love and patience with her are wonderful.  She is her usual sarcastic and kick-ass self but her sharp edges are getting just a little softer.  Not that she would admit to it!

The crime is a sneaky one, J.D. Robb is a master at getting you to look one way while she sneaks something in elsewhere and in this book she does it wonderfully well, keeping you guessing until the last minute.  As always, the police procedure elements are extremely well written and give you the sense that it’s not all action; cases also get solved through hard work and digging through evidence, witnesses and backgrounds until you get to the truth.

The pace of the book gives you a sense of urgency; with Christmas approaching the need to get to the answers before things shut down or people go away to visit relatives is a mounting pressure.  Also looming is the party, and that was just so good I had to read it again.  Cue weepy joyful things and Eve’s antisocial tendencies, run ins with Summerset and you have one amazing read.

This book just hit all my buttons and as usual I absolutely can’t wait for the next.

Just sensational!

If you want to start with this series (and you really, really should!) then Naked in Death is the first book.

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (39)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Thankless in Death

 Murder doesn’t stop for Thanksgiving. As the household of NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke prepares for an invasion of family and friends, an ungrateful son decides to stop the nagging from his parents – by ending their lives. Soon Jerald Reinhold is working his way through anyone who has ever thwarted him in his path to an easy life.

This is the 37th full length offering from J.D. Robb and it does not disappoint. Yet another murderer cutting down people for his own twisted pleasure, but in this story we spend a lot of time inside the murderer’s head as he justifies his actions – what a selfish sick bastard he is. There is no mystery as to who has done the killings, the plot is all about trying to catch him.

This book is much more about the main police story and does not focus so much on the relationships of our favourite characters, although we do get to see Eve and Roarke in their home environment and of course they have sex!  Eve has a big decision to make in this book and comes to an acceptance about herself and her role in the NYPSD.

As always, the author manages to inject emotion into the story and I found myself laughing and crying at some points particularly towards the end when we have Roarke’s entire Irish clan descend, along with some characters from previous books.

It is really difficult to keep coming up with things to say about this series as each book is as good as the last. There is little to no romance in this book, just Eve and her team doing good police work and as always having just a bit of luck – although at times it seems luck is very much with the perpetrator and against Eve.

Overall another great ‘In Death’ story with smatterings of humour that do not detract from the main story and indeed the books would not be the same without the quirks that make up Eve and Roarke’s life.

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (37)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

Naked in Death

 It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing-passion. 

When a senator’s daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she’d been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washington politics and society. Further complicating matters is Eve’s growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome… and the leading suspect in the investigation

Having read and enjoyed a number of books by Nora Roberts, I felt it was time to try her In Death series written as J.D.Robb. I was not disappointed and cannot believe I’ve waited this long to start reading it!

As you can see from the blurb above it is set in the future – not something I initially realised until they started talking about antique bullets and guns from the 1990’s! It was really interesting how the police were envisaged to work in the future and what technologies are available. I found most of what was being used quite believable for the not too distant future (it was written nearly 20 years ago and probably seemed much more sci-fi then). I would have liked a bit more information about mundane things such as the Auto-Chef, but that is just for my interest and wouldn’t add anything to the story.

On to the characters – I was drawn to them from the start. Eve Dallas is a very strong protagonist but with enough of a mystery about her to allow her character to grow in future books. She does come across as a bit unlikeable to start with, but once she meets Roarke she opens up a bit and proves she is human after all.

Roarke – Oh My God, he is gorgeous! I am in lust/love/anything else I can be. He seems too perfect but he definitely has an air of mystery about him with hidden depths yet to be discovered.

I really enjoyed the mystery and the romance/sex was hot. I was pleasantly surprised at how much romance there was, I thought this series was more of a police procedural. It may be that the later books become more like that once Eve and Roarke get past their first flush of romance, but in this one it works for me! I thought the mystery plot was very well fleshed out with plenty of airtime and was not overshadowed by the romance.

Overall this is a good book, I will definitely be reading the rest of the series – not all at once though! With well over 30 books in the series I need to start saving my money to buy them all!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (Eve Dallas) (1)
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Fortress Frontier

 ***Please note there may be some very minor spoilers for Control Point in this review***

Fortress Frontier has an interesting and surprising start, not at all what I expected.  Not only are we seeing it from the perspective of someone different to Control Point, but the events overlap slightly, revealing new details about the previous story.  Colonel Alan Bookbinder (US Military) isn’t a front line soldier but the man behind the scenes.  All the things that need to be kept track of, for resupply, for scheduling, he is responsible for and he likes it that way, feels comfortable with it, even if he feels it is all he is.  After a weird dream and a day feeling like he is drowning, he realises something has fundamentally changed.  He’s a latent, and like a good soldier, he follows orders and turns himself in… and that’s when his life really goes to hell.

If I’d known about the change of character before I started reading, I might have been worried but actually I thought it worked really well, even if it was unexpected.  Alan is an interesting if unassuming character, worried about his family, and the impact his change has on his life is monumental.  The differences between Alan and Oscar are huge but they are both good people and their individual characteristics have you rooting for them very quickly.

That’s not to say Oscar doesn’t feature, he does and I really liked the way Myke Cole wove the story, moving to integrate the two characters in small steps.  I loved the way Alan slowly comes out of his shell, as events in the world progress around him. He grows in confidence and attitude until he becomes the man and leader I think he was meant to be.  I can only say again how fascinating and beautiful I find the source world, Cole’s creation of this rich magical but deadly world is amazing and I’m glad we get to see more of it in this book.  The intricacies in the way he describes the magical talents, their creative uses and peeks at how they might be used if the military wasn’t keeping them locked up tight for their own uses.  It’s just wonderful and superbly done.

We also get to see more of the impact of magic on the ‘home’ world, the government’s rigidly tight grip on it and the resistance that wants to bring it all toppling down and I can’t honestly blame them.

The story is a little more straightforward in Fortress Frontier but it doesn’t lose any impact despite that. It was still gripping and there were a couple of twists that had me exclaiming aloud!  The action is just as intense and emotional as the first book and Myke Cole’s writing style is so easy to read, I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished.  The supporting cast again were brilliant and we get to see some familiar faces and several new ones. When the end came, I was almost beside myself and chattered at my husband about it for quite a while; he’s used to that when I’ve been really caught up in a book.

If I thought the first book was great (which I did!), then this second novel is just superb.  The third book can’t come along soon enough, I need to know about the things that happened but can’t mention because of big spoilers!!

Highly, highly recommended to anyone who likes urban military fantasy, but do start with the first book in the series, Control Point!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Myke Cole
  • Series: Shadow Ops (2)
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Germline

I started reading Germline about 12.30 this afternoon, intending to read for a little and have a nap.  Now it’s just gone 5pm and I may be a little bleary eyed after no sleep but I just finished the book and then had to take a little time to reflect on it before I wrote the review.

Germline is not an easy read, it has all too realistic scenes of death, insanity and desperation in war, the main character is about the most self-indulgent mess of an anti-hero you could find and even though it’s set in the future, the war is ultimately about who has the most strength to claim what dwindling mineral resources are left, something I can envision all too clearly in our reality.

Having said all that, the book was absolutely amazing.  The clarity of writing and scene descriptions were brilliant and I was able to clearly envision what was going on, even if I didn’t want to.  I had to keep turning the pages to find out what happened next, no matter the outcome and there were more than a few times when I had to take a brief break, just to absorb or pull back from what I’d just read.

I thought the technology T. C. McCarthy created was superb, fit the setting well and it impressed me how easy it was to understand without being led into lengthy jargon on how and why.  From the weaponry, to the armour, even the genetic soldiers all provided everything I needed for a well rounded science fiction novel.

As the book was written in first person perspective, I think it provided a unique look at what was going on in Oscar Wendell’s head.  Starting as a drug-addicted and failing journalist, he had one last chance of redeeming himself with his employers by securing the chance to write an article from the frontlines of the subterrene war in Kazakhstan.  Seeing the war happen from his civilian perspective gave greater impact to what it was really like, the conditions they endure and the edge of sanity they have to dance to get through another night.  The choices he made throughout were both insane yet believable.

I really wanted to hate him.  At first it felt like there was nothing redeeming about him whatsoever, but McCarthy wrote him so cleverly that as he woke up to the reality around him and grew up without wanting to, he sneaked into my mind and a little into my heart.

There was quite a large cast of supporting characters, and a few of the individuals that Oscar meets had quite a major impact on me.  The sheer amount of emotion that the author managed to convey along with these characters, some of them only for a short time was astounding and a testament to a brilliant and empathic writing style.  I have to mention the Brit and the Kid.  I loved both their characters and the fact you never learned their names.

The ending was actually a real surprise for me, I honestly didn’t expect it and I can only give huge props to T. C. McCarthy for making me believe there could be only one outcome for Oscar.

My only negative is that the title of the book and the consequent definition on the back cover aren’t actually used in the book that I recall, and perhaps it wasn’t needed as you now knew what it meant. Due to the definition though, I was expecting something a little different but I was in no way disappointed with what I got.

The pace of the book was fast and unrelenting, leading to me not being able to put it down unless I had to.  The plot was both original and interesting and actually very hard to describe so all I can say is read Germline.  Then get back to me 😉

A gripping close up of a futuristic war in all it’s gritty, brutal, dark and horrific glory.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: T. C. McCarthy
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)