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.

Brotherhood in Death by JD Robb

Brotherhood in DeathWhy I read it:  I love Eve and Roarke so I bought it as soon as it was available.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  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.

Trigger Warning: Graphic sexual violence against men and women

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I was so excited about this book because it promised to have lots of Dennis Mira and he’s been a favourite character in the series for some time, even though he’s not in it very much. I’ve always kind of wondered how the absent-mindedness works when he’s clearly so capable so much of the time. (The first time I encountered Mr. Mira in the series, I thought maybe he had a brain injury or maybe early onset Alzheimer’s or something but it became clear that neither of those things apply.) And, while Brotherhood in Death did have more of Mr. Mira in it than any of the earlier books (including a particularly touching scene between he and Eve later in the book), he still wasn’t in it all that much. Sadness!

Concealed in Death by JD Robb

concealed in deathWhy I read it:  I bought it. It’s a trade paperback – it bugs me that my In Death collection is all different sizes but what can you do?

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.

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