What it’s about: (from Goodreads) In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.
The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.
Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.
What worked for me (and what didn’t): This is book 38 in the series and I’m not sick of it yet. While there is less focus on the romance aspect (Roarke and Eve are happy – no conflict means there’s not a lot of story that can be told in an interesting way), what there was in this book was satisfying in its way. Eve realised some things about where she is now as opposed to before she met Roarke and it’s not just (or even) about the money, but more about the sense of home and connection she didn’t even know she wanted until there it was.
As usual, Robb can make me care about a character very quickly and the parts where Eve and Peabody were doing notifications once the remains began to be identified were particularly moving. While the suspense part of the story didn’t blow my mind – I picked it early and I’m not usually good at that sort of thing; plus, I was hoping for a twist in the tail which didn’t really arrive – it was a solid entry in the series. There is a melancholy sadness to the ending which I won’t go into because spoilers but I had a tear in my eye on the last page. The villain as it turned out, wasn’t your run of the mill criminal. While I would have liked to understand some aspects of said villain a little more, I did appreciate the variety in terms of the villains in past books. I also appreciated that there was no torture porn or gratuitous violence.
In Death books are always compelling and readable to me – I don’t think I’ve given less than a B- to any book in the series so far. I enjoy catching up with other characters – Trueheart will be taking his detective exam soon, Mavis is thinking about having another baby, and Nadine is writing a new book. What was perhaps unusual about this Concealed in Death was that Feeney wasn’t in it and McNab only had a very small part to play late in the book. As much as I like those characters, I’m glad that there are books where they’re not completely involved in Eve’s cases. It gives the impression that the crimes Eve deals with are the only ones. I liked the little vignette with Baxter talking over another case with Eve – although it was just the one scene and I would have liked to have known what happened with it (loose ends can tickle me in an irritating way). Similarly, Roarke didn’t have loads to do with this case. Sure, it was his building and he discovered the first bodies, but there was no time spent on the unregistered computer and mostly it was Eve and Peabody.
I’m not a big fan of the dream sequences where Eve talks to the victims and teases out clues and information. It seems to have become a regular feature of the series and I could do without it.
On the other hand, there are other things which are absolutely trademark Eve which I love:
“I’ll need to speak directly with your superior.”
“Here and now I am my superior. Now step aside or I’ll arrest you for interfering with a police officer in the course of her duties, with a side of obstruction of justice and sprinkle of being a pain in my ass.”
What else? I wonder if Quilla will turn up in a future story? I think Eve has a bit of a soft spot for her. The forensic anthropologist who works on the remains, Dr. Garnet DeWinter, looks to be possibly a romantic partner for Morris so that could be interesting. When we first meet her, it is clear she and Roarke have met before but that didn’t really go anywhere. I think Garnet and Eve might rub up against each other the wrong way in the future but it would be nice to see Morris happy again so… we’ll see.
It’s not the best book in the series but it’s not the worst either. There are things I can pick at in terms of loose ends or plot points which didn’t seem to go anywhere (at least in this book) but I was moved by many of the characterisations and I loved the bits with Mr. Mira and Eve and I’m a sucker for anything Eve and Roarke.
“Well, men are stupid about blow jobs.”
“It’s difficult to resist challenging you to prove that. I believe my intelligent quotient can stand the test.”
“Even you, pal, lose brain cells when your dick’s involved. But let’s stick with …”
“I’m sorry, I’m having difficulty understanding. I was thinking about my penis.”
“Funny. And probably true.”
I don’t think Concealed in Death is a good place to start the journey, but it is definitely a solid entry into a favourite series and I’m still not sick of it. That says something I think.
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