J. D. Robb
Futuristic Suspense/Earth 2060
In Death series/Book 30 (plus 7 novellas)
From the inside cover ~
Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private room, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world—to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king—in his company’s latest top-secret project, Fantastical.
The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game...
She is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks—as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U-Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.
Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death.
I am completely caught up with the series. Yeah! It only took a year and a half and most of that was listening to audio books. This time around I read the book and I have to say, I missed the voices. While I still hear the different accents and nuances in my head as I read, of course it's not anywhere as clear as listening to the audio books.
Okay, this is a weird case, even for Dallas. A decapitated victim, alone in a secured holo room. Dallas and Peabody have to call in the EDD (Electronic Detective Division) since they will figure heavily in this investigation. And Roarke has a connection to the victim, no surprise there. I do often wonder how he gets any of his own work done managing his multi-billion dollar empire when he spends so much time helping Eve.
I liked the scenario, yeah it's gross but you gotta say, it's different. As I went along reading something felt... off. For some reason I didn't get that click that I usually do when I get into an In Death book. Like I wasn't quite fully into the world. Could it be because it wasn't an audio book? IDK, but whatever reason, I liked the book but I didn't love it.
This time around we didn't get as much Eve/Roarke time. At least it didn't seem like it. Which was okay with me. I was intrigued by the holo game and how Dallas and Peabody would figure out the who/why of the murder. There was also the secondary story line of Nadine's book release party. She wrote a book about what happened in Origin in Death. It was one of Dallas' cases and right up there with this one in the land of bizarre. Eve and Nadine's relationship has become more than a working friendship. They have both gotten closer and have learned to trust each other with both work issues and personal issues. Another person that Eve has learned to open up to.
As the plot progresses we get more information on the fascinating gamer world of the future. Peabody and McNab head to East Washington for a gamer convention. Lots of similarities to the current cons; games to test, celebrities to meet, cool toys to buy. I liked seeing Peabody and McNab together, they are such a cute couple. Peabody with all of her body insecurities and McNab loving her just the way she is. Lucky girl, our Peabody!
My favorite part of Fantasy in Death was Dallas and Peabody. I know when people mention the series it's Eve and Roarke's relationship that is most often mentioned but I like how Dallas and Peabody's relationship is evolving and changing right along with Eve and Roarke's. I've noticed that when I think of Roarke and the Lieutenant I call her Eve but when I think about Peabody and the Lieutenant I call her Dallas. I guess it's my little way of separating Lt. Eve Dallas's two lives.
In the beginning when Dallas tagged Peabody to be her assistant, Peabody was in awe of Lt. Eve Dallas. She was a bundle of nerves and very unsure of herself when it came to working a crime scene. She was also a little afraid of Dallas. Afraid of disappointing her and not living up to Dallas' expectations. Fast forward to their current relationship and it goes something like this. ~
[Dallas]"Who's on this one?"
[Peabody]"I put Carmichael, Foster, Callendar on this one. It's supposed to storm tonight. Do you think it's going to storm?"
"How do I know? Do I look like a forecaster?"
"I've got these great shoes to wear to Nadine's party, but if it rains and we get stuck getting a cab or have to walk to the subway, they'll get screwed." Peabody searched the sky for answers. "If it storms I need to wear those pretty mag boots, but they're not new. Plus the shoes are so totally uptown."
"Peabody? Your footwear is of absolutely no interest to me, and at the moment the source of mild annoyance."
"Since it's only mild, let me continue. I sprang for a new outfit, too. It seemed like a good excuses for one. Nadine's book, fancy deal. And the Icove case was ours. I'm in the book and all that. I want to look complete. What are you wearing?"
"I don't know. I don't care."
"You have to." To bring the point home, Peabody stabbed Eve's arm with her finger. "You're like the star of the book."
"I am not the star of the book." The idea was horrifying. "The case is the star of the book."
"Who was in charge of the case?"
"I'm going to show you my current footwear, Peabody, up close when my boot connects with you nose."
"It's usually my ass, so that's a nice change." pages 238-239
I started laughing when she continued since it was only causing mild annoyance for Dallas. If this had been back at the beginning of their relationship, Peabody wouldn't have mentioned her shoes let alone continued talking when Dallas told her to shut it. I love the way they tease each other and are there for each other. They make for a very balanced partnership.
The wrap up of the case was dramatic and I thought done well. Dallas does a good job putting all the pieces together with the help of the EDD team and her expert consultant, civilian. The villain wasn't a surprise to me but I did find the how of the murder interesting. Robb adds another solid entry to the enduring In Death series.