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REVIEW: Shadows in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen

New York cityscape at night in the rain, focus on a concrete arch, two police cars with their lights, one on either side of the archCW: Rape, graphic violence

Why I read it:  This is one from my own TBL.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past.

As it often did since he’d married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. Then again, Roarke supposed, the woman lying in a pool of her own blood a few steps inside the arch in Washington Square Park had a heftier complaint.

When a night out at the theatre is interrupted by the murder of a young woman in Washington Square Park, it seems like an ordinary case for Detective Eve Dallas and her team. But when Roarke spots a shadow from his past in the crowd, Eve realises that this case is far from business as usual.

Eve has two complex cases on her hands – the shocking murder of this wealthy young mother and tracking down the shadow before he can strike again, this time much closer to home. Eve is well used to being the hunter, but how will she cope when the tables are turned? As Eve and the team follow leads to Roarke’s hometown in Ireland, the race is on to stop the shadow making his next move . . .

What worked for me (and what didn’t): I have enjoyed the In Death series for many years. Eve Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, McNab, Mira and the rest are kind of like family now, I feel like I know them so well. Right now I’m reading fewer and fewer books with police officers as main characters but I make exception for Eve. Maybe that was a mistake this time.

February Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

gold cover with a fault line in it showing a city scene down an alleywayGolden in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B+ Can you even believe this is book 50 in the In Death series?? That must be some kind of record. Normally, I bail out of a series at about book 12 or so but I’m still up for stories about Eve Dallas, Roarke and the rest of the crew. I am desperate for Morris to get a HEA – maybe next book??

Golden in Death has the trademark characters I care about in a very short time. The families of the victims, most of the victims themselves were all well drawn as usual.

This book had many twisty turns and red herrings so it took a long time (in terms of listening, not in terms of days of investigation by Eve and Peabody) to get ID the who-did-it. I liked this. It felt like the kind of thing that might occur in a real police investigation. I also liked that Roarke had a part to play in the investigation but it wasn’t massive. Most of the work was Eve and Peabody. While McNab and even Feeney were involved, it was mainly the core two detectives and that was a little different to previous books as well.

November Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Scales of Justice superimposed over a picture of a mansionVendetta in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B Book 49 in the series takes place in about 4 days from start to finish and is obviously heavily inspired by #MeToo. At first I was a little worried about the killer being a woman who calls herself “Lady Justice” and abducts, tortures and kills men she has judged as being lacking. The first victim was certainly someone who inspired little sympathy (very much a Harvey Weinstein/Roger Ailes type character, albeit in a different industry). I didn’t want to read a story where the victims were all horrible men – I felt like that would have been too on the nose for me. However, after a while I saw that Robb did something clever here. There were a couple of victims/targets who did little more than divorce their wives (we aren’t privy to all the circumstances, though in some cases we can guess) and this served to illustrate that Lady Justice wasn’t really about “justice” at all. It was not a case of the punishment necessarily fitting the “crime” – in some cases, there was no crime. There were also multiple stories about women who had been assaulted by men, sexually or otherwise. Their stories were (sadly) more familiar and here, justice bent toward them – actual justice; because Eve Dallas and Delia Peabody were on the case. There was a a strong believe women vibe and no endorsement of toxic male behaviour. So it wasn’t the book I feared at all.

March Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

an In Death version of Times Square, where shows and movies from the series feature on billboards, including The Icove AgendaDark in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B- I’m still in for this series but Dark in Death was one of my least favourite books so far. In terms of romance, there wasn’t any conflict or tension between Roarke and Eve. They’re happy, having great sex and enjoying their marriage. That’s good and it’s not exactly that I get sick of it, but at the same time, I’d like a bit of conflict (with a happy resolution of course!) to shake things up a little. The main issue I had with the book however is the premise. A killer is recreating murders from a police procedural series and particularly the section where Eve is interviewing the author and talking about fan expectations and the challenges of being an author were just too meta for me. (I had a similar issue with the latest Suzanne Brockmann.) I can’t help but feel like the actual author is talking to the reader this way and even if that is only in my imagination, it makes me uncomfortable. There wasn’t really anything objectionable in what was said but I want to be immersed in the story and forget about the author altogether when I read/listen and I couldn’t here.

The other thing to mention is that a member of Eve’s squad, Jenkinson, uses a transphobic slur twice in the course of a conversation with Eve and there was zero narrative pushback on it. I do not accept that such slurs are okay in 2062 – they’re certainly not okay now. I dearly wished Eve would have told Jenkinson off about it.

September Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

rainy/snowy street/cityscape in purple tonesSecrets in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B I always enjoy In Death books to one degree or another so I’d pre-ordered the audiobook and started it the day it downloaded. Secrets in Death is less gruesome than some of the other installments. Sure, Larinda Mars bleeds to death but there is no sexual violence done to her and the villain isn’t quite as twisted as some of them have been.

Susan Ericksen’s narration is always stellar in this series. Her characterisations inform my reading even in print and I hear her voice in my head, especially the Irish lilt she gives Roarke.

February Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Yellow jagged/broken mirror? above a red New York skylineEchoes in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B+ It took me quite a while to understand the title of the latest In Death book. (In fact, Roarke had to tell me what it meant before I got it.) The “echoes” are between the murders and violent crimes Eve Dallas investigates in the book and Eve’s own violent past. (There you go KM readers. Now you don’t have to wait for Roarke to make the connection. You’re welcome.)

Eve and Roarke are driving home after a social deal where Eve wears a sparkly dress, the dreaded facial goop and skyscraper high heels. It’s the early hours of a very cold winter morning and the couple are stunned to nearly run over a naked, bloody woman wandering down the middle of the street. It turns out she was raped and beaten by the man who killed her husband and thus begins the investigation the subject of the latest In Death installment. Perhaps I’m more sensitive and the earlier books were actually just as brutal but the last few have had some pretty difficult things to read or listen to. There is sexual violence in this book and it is fairly graphically described, albeit after the fact and not in the villains POV (so that’s something).  Anyway: all the trigger warnings.

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