Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Strangers in Death" by J.D. Robb

The latest book in Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb's " Death" series featuring the kick @$$ future NYPSD detective, Lt. Eve Dallas, is one more to add to your must read list. The whole " Death" series has a lot going for it, such as; Sci-fi (being set in the year 2060), detective/crime thrillers, and with the background of Nora Roberts a little romance. The best thing the series has is the characterization. Not only do you have the great character of Lt. Dallas but all the other characters in the books are well written and full of depth. You've got Dallas' extremely wealthy husband Roarke (he owns most of the planet and some off-planet interests thrown in), her partner Detective Peabody is fun as well as a great host of many others. Sure it helps to have 30 some books in a series to build depth to the characters, but each book is written independent of the series. You can jump around through the books in no particular order (like i've been doing) or you can read them in order...just set aside some time.

This book has a few differences in the other books in the series, which makes it seem this may be a turning point in the series. But at the same time, it seems business as usual. Normally each book can be read without reading the earlier books in the series, but this one, for the first time I know of, makes some references to previous happenings in earlier books. They do not stop the story by any fact they intrigue and make the reader more apt to read the earlier books. Another difference is that Roarke the multi-billionaire is taking more of a part in the investigation process in this book as a civilian consultant. He has been used as a consultant before...but this time a lot more use of his resources is being made.

In "Strangers in Death" a prominent business man is murdered in his bed. His body, tied down with velvet rope and surrounded by sex-toys, is found by the "House Manager" (housekeeper). She immediately calls the police and then calls the man's wife who is vacationing in the Virgin Islands. It seems Thomas Avers was cheating on his wife and died during some kinky action. At least that's what the murderer wants you to think. To Lt. Eve Dallas, this doesn't hold water. Avers had a huge sports equipment franchise and ran several charities for children. When Dallas meets the wife, Ava Anders, her gut tells her the wife did it. But Ava was miles away when the murder happened and has a rock solid alibi.

Thanks to Eve's husband Roarke owning most of New York, doors are opened much easier for her and her investigation becomes easier, at least for the footwork part, most of the investigation is trying to hurdle the brick walls which make the investigation seem to end with no suspects.

At the same time some fellow detectives have a cold case that is bugging them and they hound Dallas to look into the case to see if they missed anything. She only sees that the dectives did their job and says, "Sometimes they just go cold."

But, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) could these cases be tied together? Upon further investigation Roarke mentions an old Hitchcock film "Strangers on a Train" and now the investigation rolls on like a runaway train with only Lt. Eve Dallas ready on the brakes.

Great action, great mystery and as usual great characters.

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