J. D. Robb
In Death/book 34
Putnam/February 21, 2012
*SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS*
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she's managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It's a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director's luxury building.
Talented but rude, and widely disliked, K. T. Harris had made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she's at the center of a crime scene?and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster, to step into the role she was born to play: cop.
An odd thing happened when I got the hardcover edition from the library a couple of months ago. I couldn't read it. You see, I have listened to almost all of the In Death books. I have read a few but when I first started the series it already had well over 20+ books. After reading the first few books I realized the only way I had any chance of catching up was listening to the audiobooks, which it turns out I loved. Susan Erickson is the narrator and as I have mentioned before, she does an amazing job of capturing the different character voices. So while this book was released months ago, it has taken me and the library a while to get the audiobook but once I did I was reluctant to stop.
It's like seeing double. That's what happens when Hollywood takes over New York City and Lt. Eve Dallas' turf. Eve isn't happy about the media attention and a little freaked at seeing her "twin". Peabody, as you can imagine, thinks the whole thing is mag. I love seeing the two diverse reactions to people and events these partners have. And when Peabody gets a little walk-on part in the movie, look out! She's over the moon excited and Dallas can't help but roll her eyes but you know deep inside she's happy for Peabody.
Is it fair to say the series has become a little formulaic? To a certain degree, yes. We know Dallas and Peabody will catch a case. We know there most likely will be some danger involved for one or both of them. We know Roarke will take time away from his empire to play his role of Expert, civilian. We know Dallas will give Summerset hell just for the fun of it. We know the well developed secondary characters will make their contribution. And we know the candy thief will continue to evade Dallas' traps. The main reason I continue reading this series is for the characters. I have come to love them, respect many and just enjoy the heck out of them. The murder and suspense surrounding the solving of the case(s) is secondary to the enjoyment of catching up with characters who feel like old friends. So maybe that's why I have come to expect less of the mystery aspect of the series. This time. I was pleasantly surprised.
The death of Peabody's look-a-like is not take as hard as you might think. Sad to say, the actress playing Peabody was not well liked. It is taken serious by Dallas and Peabody who are, a little freaked when they see what at first looks like dead Peabody. McNab's reaction is very emotional and Robb does well bringing those emotions through on the page. Dallas, as always, stands for the victim regardless of whether she actually liked the victim. The road to finding the murder was interesting and surprising. Interesting in that I didn't catch on to the who as quickly as usual. Surprising in the backstory of the killer. Robb continues to keep the killers in this series from falling into the typical murderer mold.
I said I read this series first for the characters and that is very true when it comes to my favorite secondary character Detective Delia Peabody. I am loving the way Peabody and her cohab Detective Ian McNab's relationship is evolving. Their relationship fits the time period where humans are living a lot longer and therefore have no need to rush into the traditional path of marriage, babies etc. but can adjust to their roles as a couple. On the surface they seem like such an odd pair, Peabody with her Free-ager upbringing and beliefs and McNab with his outrageous fashion sense and "hey dude" attitude. But these two can be serious and know when to put their cop faces on. I love when they put their cop faces on!
Celebrity in Death does focus on the procedural and solving of the murder but it also has much focus on those evolving relationships that I love so much. Some of the dialog does become repetitive between Dallas and Roarke, same arguments but we do see a little shift as Dallas acknowledges she can't continue to use Roarke as her go-to guy when she wants something done quickly. She has the NYPSD at her disposal and must go to them first, even if they take longer for results.
All in all this is another compelling addition to the series. The smart characters, witty dialogue and extensively developed characters and relationships are the strengths of this incredible series.